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Read Matthew 4

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Jesus Begins to Preach

12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
    the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
    Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people living in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.”

17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus Heals the Sick

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

Go Deeper

Matthew 4 marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in this Gospel account. With his most important work still before him, Christ is led out to the wilderness as a final preparation. He fasts for forty days and nights, which points us back to other significant events in the Bible. The earth flooded for forty days and nights while Noah survived on the ark. The Israelites wandered the desert for forty years. Moses also fasted forty days and nights on Mount Sinai before receiving the Ten Commandments. Goliath mocked the army of Israel for forty days before the shepherd named David killed him with a slingshot. There are more examples of time periods of forty throughout scripture. But in each case, the forty days or years preceded the coming of a new kind of world that God desired for his people.  

So it was for Christ in the desert. A new kingdom was on the horizon that depended upon his death and resurrection. It’s no surprise then, that the “tempter” comes along in this story and attempts to derail Jesus from his mission by offering alternative and lesser kingdoms. But Jesus is too deeply rooted in the mission to be so easily undone. With each opportunity to succumb to sin in order to gain (in a worldly sense), Jesus resists temptation.

He completes his journey into the desert and returns to begin preaching and call his first disciples. All of a sudden, people start leaving their careers, their livelihoods, and their comforts behind to go follow this rabbi named Jesus. He would not trade the mission for the moment, no matter how appealing it may or may not have been.  

Jesus’ days of anonymity will soon come to an end, and with that his life and message will challenge every power structure that exists in Israel. But a new kingdom is indeed at hand. 


  1. What are the three things that Satan offers Jesus in this passage?
  2. What simple concept did Jesus preach?
  3. How can you shift your perspective from the kingdoms of this world to the kingdom of God?

Watch This

Check out this Harris Creek sermon from January 2021 about dealing with temptation called “How to Beat the Enemy” for a deeper dive into Matthew 4:1-11.

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3 thoughts on “Matthew 4”

  1. I’m reminded of Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—but did not sin.” Notice the enemy moves into places where we are most vulnerable: our physical bodies, possessions, & pride. Into those “wilderness” times of sickness, weariness, & isolation he comes. Today, whatever pressure we might be under, let’s remember that reaffirming our “mustard seed” faith in Christ can move great mountains. Let’s show the devil and all his demons just how big our God is!

  2. I thought just how will Satan give Jesus anything?! (Its not his to give) Why would Jesus be tempted to be second in command! Oddly enough, we gladly choose that at times. Relationships, jobs, houses, etc.. we have chosen what will satisfy our desires against what God has for us. Again, the devil is so clever. He shows Jesus what he offers, he dangles it right before his eyes. He took Jesus to the mountain. I heard Jonathan Evans say yesterday “not all open doors are from God.”
    I think back to David and how clever the devil was in placing Bathsheba on the roof at the exact time David could see her. (How silly we think coincidences are from God, too) He dangled her right before his eyes. He took the bait of Satan.
    I’m going to listen to the sermon referenced, because we all need to be reminded probably more often of the cleverness and the tactics Satan uses to bait us right before God has another mission/blessing waiting for us on the other side of temptation. I just wonder how many I have thwarted over the years. 😕

  3. This chapter is one that would be a good verse by verse to go through, it is so rich. Jesus was tempted but at every temptation His return answer was the Word. He did not argue or tiptoe around, He just came back with the Word. This is a major struggle for me. I do have some scripture memorized but I want more and try but have not found a key to unlock that struggle. I do believe it is a big key to being able to fight against spiritual warfare is knowing scripture, to bring it to your mind, and speak it over the situation just like Jesus did.
    Jesus went to Capernaum and lived to continue what John had started. He started calling his disciples, what I saw was and read, the guys drop all equipment and went, with no hesitation, no big questions, just followed Him. Jewish culture is different than ours. So these guys were young. Most started following their Rabbi to learn more after the age of 13. At the age of 13 were considered a man and could start their own business or take over the family business. They could also marry. Got Question’s has more information about this also. We just assume they were all 20 or 30 something men, but as teenage boys it would make more sense (to me) that they wouldn’t hesitate to drop all equipment and follow Jesus. Then they get to be there as verse 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. WOOHOO!!!! what an experience!!!

    God every day I am amazed!! Thank You for how You show more of who You are through Your Word. Thank You for loving me through this daily battle of my life. God Thank You for the example of Jesus and how I can abide in You through Your Holy Spirit because of what Jesus did. (Ephesians 1:3)Blessed be the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed me, Amy, in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose me, Amy in him before the foundation of the world, that I, Amy should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined me, Amy for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed me, Amy in the Beloved. 7 In him I, Amy have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of my trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon me in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to me the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. in Jesus name amen

    (I took Eph 1:3-10 and took out the us, and replaced it with me. Praying scripture over yourself or loved ones is excellent and always accurate because it was written for us and to us.)

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