THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS, AND BEGINNING OF HIS MINISTRY. A-4
Jesus was always led by the Spirit. It was necessary that He be tested by the devil to show that a sinless man with a free will could resist his temptations. The first Adam had every comfort which Jesus did not have, yet Adam willing sinned and plunged all creation under a curse and into death.
Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness without food or water. Although the hunger would have an effect on His strength, He was able to resist the temptation which involved food. The temptation in Eden also involved food. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Genesis 3:6. Adam and Eve had every food imaginable, yet ate of the one commanded to not eat. She also misquoted God’s Word, whereas, Jesus quoted it and defeat the devil thereby. (Deut. 8:3). This temptation was an appeal to the lust of the flesh.
The devil now appeals to the pride of life. “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Matthew 4:5-6. “Josephus describes as of tremendous height (Antiq. xv. 11.5)” Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words. The suggestion by the devil was that angels would carry Jesus into the Temple area proving that He was their Messiah, and the people would willing accept Him as sent from God.
Satan quotes Psalm 91:11-12, rather, he totally misuses the verses. The context will show that the verses have nothing to do with this temptation. They were written to Israel by Moses to encourage them as they wondered through the wilderness. It is interesting that the devil did not quote verse 13. It predicted his own doom. See Deut. 6:16 for our Lord’s response. We note that the devil purposely misused the verse. Sadly, many preachers do the same thing today. They may not do it to deceive, but they do have an agenda, and if they find any verse that will accomplish it, they will completely ignore the true intention of the context in order to get people to “buy into” their plan.
The devil has many wiles, and he will use all of them if necessary. The next recorded temptation was directed to the lust of the eyes. The devil gave Jesus a panoramic view of all the kingdoms of this world in a moment of time. Satan knew from Genesis three, that there would be an end to his kingdom, and the Son of God would take it. Thus, he offers Him a way to have the kingdoms, in an attempt to avoid his loss of all, and his confinement in hell. Again, Jesus defeats this temptation by obeying the Word of God. (Deut. 6:13).
Although the devil left Him, it was only for a season. If one follows the life and ministry of Jesus, he will see the devil at work on every page. I would recommend every Christian read the account of the temptation as described by John Milton in his Paradise Regained. It is a classic, and will open one’s eyes to the possible extent of the full forty days of testing.
Matthew 14 explains why John was in prison. Jesus leaves Galilee and dwells for a season at Capernaum by the sea. The reason is given in verses 14-16. The reader should consult a good map of Bible lands to follow the travels of Jesus. The great light that was seen was Jesus, the Light of the world. (Isa. 9:1-2).
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”(17)
- Literally, “kingdom from the heavens.” It is headed by Jesus Christ for the purpose of re-establishing the kingdom of God over this rebellious part of God’s realm. Only found in Matthew because it is the gospel of Jehovah’s King. It is a dispensational term and refers to Messiah’s kingdom on earth. Offered by both John and Jesus (Mt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7). Because it was rejected, it was postponed until Christ comes to set up the kingdom (Mt. 11:12,20-24; 27:22-25; Lk. 19:11-27; Acts 1:6-7; 3:19-26)… At the end Christ will come and set up a literal earthly kingdom forever (Mt. 25:31-46; Rev. 11:15; 19:11 — Rev. 20:10; Zech. 14; Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-27; Lk. 1:32-33). During the first 1,000 years of His eternal reign He will put down all rebellion and rid the earth of all rebels. Then God will become “all in all” as before rebellion (Rev. 20:1-10; 21:1 — Rev. 22:5; 1Cor. 15:24-28; Eph. 1:10). Anything said of the kingdom of heaven can also be said of the kingdom of God, because the former is only the earthly dispensational aspect of the latter. There are many things said of the kingdom of God, however, which cannot be said of the kingdom of heaven.” Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible.
There is no doubt that these men had heard and observed the ministry of Jesus prior to this event. When called, they immediately followed Him. They were called to preach the Kingdom of Heaven, and get the nation to accept Jesus as their Messiah, and King.
The word gospel means “good news.” “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” Galatians 3:8. Every dispensation had its gospel, and all of them differ. Sadly, many pastors cannot see or understand this truth. The common saying that “people in the Old Testament looked forward to the cross” is not true. Not one person in Matthew through John understood or believed that Jesus was going to die for our sins.
Jesus was and teacher and a preacher. He spent most of His time teaching the disciples, and the other, preaching to the multitudes. His message in Matthew was “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” His healing ministry was part of the Kingdom gospel, and it confirmed the Old Testament Scriptures concerning Himself. The Kingdom and the King were offered. The reactions will be the rejection of the King and the Kingdom.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.