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This is a chronologically-ordered Bible site with commentary on each passage.
The daily summaries are written by Wayne D. Turner, Pastor of Fayette Bible Church in Fayetteville, Georgia

This is the January 13 reading. Select here for a new reading date:


BibleTrack Summary: January 13
<< Matt 2
 
<< Luke 2
 
<< John 1

For New King James text and comment, click here.

 

Matthew 3:1-4:11; Mark 1:1-13;                 Listen Podcast
Luke 3:1-22; Luke 4:1-13; John 1:15-51
  

 

In these passages, the following events are covered:

  • These events take place previous to the first Passover Festival during Jesus' ministry.
  • John the Baptist prepares the Jews for the Messiah.
  • Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist.
  • Jesus calls his disciples.
  • Jesus is tempted by Satan.

The following passages mark the beginning of the ministry of Jesus Christ. He goes to Jerusalem for his first Passover in John 2:12-25 (see notes).
The sequence of events that follow these passages may be found beginning in John 2 (see notes).

John the Baptist - He's different! (Matthew 3:1-10; Mark 1:1-6; Luke 3:1-9)

Matthew 3
Mark 1
Luke 3
1   In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
1   The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
2   As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
1   Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,
2   Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
2   And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3   For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
3   The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4   John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
3   And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
4   As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
5   Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
6   And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
4   And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
5   Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
6   And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
5   And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
6   And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
7   But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8   Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
9   And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
7   Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8   Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
10   And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
9   And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

John the Baptist was born six months before Jesus. In this passage we see the purpose of John the Baptist's ministry manifested as the forerunner of Jesus, the Messiah. Although Mark 1:2 is taken from Malachi 3:1 (see notes), the detailed verses following are taken from Isaiah; he had prophesied of the coming Messiah and restoration of Israel in Isaiah 40 (see notes). Isaiah 40:3 is quoted here in reference to the Messiah. When John the Baptist quotes Isaiah (Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4), it is clear to his listeners that he is introducing Jesus as the Messiah. Also notice the call John makes according to Matthew 3:2 when he says, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." You cannot understand the Gospels without understanding specifically what the "kingdom of heaven" really is. Remember this definition: The "kingdom of heaven" is the literal establishment of the Messiah ruling over all the earth. It is not a vague reference to Believers going to Heaven when they die. It is literally the Messianic promise of the Old Testament prophets being fulfilled. Luke continues his account in verses 5-6 by citing two additional verses from Isaiah 40:4-5 that John quoted that day.

Luke alone is quite interested in lending his readers a leadership perspective. Take notice of the informational box below explaining the who's who of Luke 3:1-2.

The religious system under the Sadducees and Pharisees was a mess. Their standards of righteousness were superficial, and their religious system was not open to change. Then, here comes John the Baptist - nothing conventional about him whatsoever (dressed weird; unusual diet)...and he's calling upon them to repent (literally: turn to God). What! They thought they had a corner on God! This could be trouble. John makes it worse when he calls the Sadducees and Pharisees a "generation of vipers" (Matthew 3:7, Luke 3:7). He adds, "And don't tout your ancestry back to Abraham; you need to repent!"

What was this baptism all about? It was a custom among the Jews to require proselytes to Judaism to be baptized. John's baptism is not a picture of today's Believers' baptism. I have heard preachers refer to John's requirement that they bring forth fruit (actions) meet (worthy) of repentance prior to their baptism as being the same standard for new Believers today. These preachers require a waiting period before they will baptize new converts to make certain they live the appropriate lifestyle first. They base this requirement on John's words in this passage. Peter required no such thing on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:38-41 (see notes)! To make such a requirement is to take scripture out of its context. John had already addressed their wickedness and was now calling upon them to turn from that wickedness and be baptized. Their pride of heritage in being the children of Abraham was no substitute for an individual, authentic relationship with God.

So, what exactly do they need to do? (Luke 3:10-15)

Luke 3
10   And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
11   He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
12   Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
13   And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
14   And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
15   And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;

John knew their corrupt condition. A relationship with God ought to foster positive attitudes toward others. Luke 3:10-15 gives us a record of the specifics to their question, "What shall we do then? These suggestions were by no means meant to be a comprehensive plan for salvation for these people, but merely a declaration to expose their wrong attitudes toward God and to demonstrate what will follow when a person authentically seeks to please God with his life. Getting their hearts right with God would serve to make them receptive to the first advent of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

Baptized by the Holy Ghost! (Matthew 3:11-12; Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:16-17)

Matthew 3
Mark 1
Luke 3
11   I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
12   Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
7   And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
8   I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
16   John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
17   Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

John the Baptist makes a differentiation. He's baptizing in water those who repent. However, he's introducing Christ ("Christ" is the English transliteration for the Greek word for "Messiah") who will do a supernatural baptism - a baptism by the Holy Spirit (Ghost and Spirit come from the exact same Greek word, "pneuma"). John also mentions "fire" and a "fan." It's an agricultural analogy. The fan (winnowing fork) was used to sift the chaff from the wheat, and then the chaff was burned in the fire while the wheat was preserved. Get the picture? The Messiah, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will accurately separate Believers from the wicked. And the wicked...that's kinda self explanatory - don't you think? Hey John! This kind of preaching can land you in prison! And, we see in Luke 3:18-20 that it did.

Hard preaching leads to hard time (Luke 3:18-20)

Luke 3
18   And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.
19   But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,
20   Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.

I guess everybody understands that, when a preacher ruffles the feathers of the influential, bad things come with the good. This time it's a woman (Herodias) who's not a fan of the message John the Baptist is preaching. Here's why. Herodias had been married to a guy named Philip who was the half brother of Herod the tetrarch. Herodias left Philip for Herod. Philip and Herod were sons of Herod the great, the man who had attempted to orchestrate the death of the Messiah by having all the babies murdered after the birth of Jesus. John's preaching here is very convicting to Herod and Herodias because of their disdain for the marriage vows, so John the Baptist is imprisoned. After only a few months of preaching that introduced Jesus as the Messiah, the preaching ministry of John the Baptist came to a close. John remained in prison until he was beheaded in Matthew 14:3-12 (see notes).

 

Jesus arrives to be baptized. (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22)

Matthew 3
Mark 1
Luke 3
13   Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14   But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15   And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
9   And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
16   And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17   And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
10   And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
11   And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
21   Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22   And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

 

Why would Jesus feel the need to be baptized? When John brings up that point, Christ replies, "...for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." It's important to understand this baptism of Jesus. Was he being baptized "...with water unto repentance..." as John the Baptist was pleading for people to do? NOPE! He was sinless, perfect - had nothing to confess or repent from. Well then, WHY? Here's what I think is meant by Jesus' baptism being executed "to fulfil all righteousness." Old Testament priests were washed with water and anointed with oil as part of the sanctification process for the priesthood under Aaron, according to Leviticus 8:6-36 (see notes). We see in Hebrews 7 (see notes) that Jesus was a high priest after the order of Melchisedec. I am convinced that the same ritual observed under Aaron is observed supernaturally here; John baptizes him (the priestly washing); then, instead of being anointed with oil, God actually sends a dove to light upon him while God utters the words, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." This baptism by John was necessary to fulfill the law regarding priests - "to fulfill all righteousness." Here's another important point about baptism. We are not baptized because Christ was baptized. Our baptism is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6, see notes). This baptism by John marked the beginning of Christ's earthly ministry as our great high priest.

Incidentally, note the words of God saying, "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." This undoubtedly reminded those who heard the voice of Psalm 2:7, "I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee." Psalm 2 (see notes) was recognized as a Messianic Psalm.

Christ - the contrast between law and grace (John 1:15-18)

John 1
15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

In this passage we see John contrasting the message of Christ as being one of grace and truth while the message of Moses was one of law. It is important to take note that this distinction was made at the very beginning of the ministry of Jesus Christ. We see it all through the gospels.

Verse 18 is sorta curious here, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." I'm convinced that any form of God ever seen by man was a manifestation of the only body the Godhead has - that of Jesus Christ himself. A fuller explanation of this issue may be found in the discussion of Melchisedek in Hebrews 7; click here to read that summary. John makes the same statement in I John 4:12 (see notes). In both passages, John seems to be making a distinction between Jesus incarnate and God in His essence, His Spirit-being. Jesus later proclaims to the Samaritan woman  that "God is a Spirit" (John 4:24, see notes).

Let's identify the prophet and the Messiah (John 1:19-28)

John 1
19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Well, the Pharisees (verse 24) sent some priests and Levites (verse 19) out to interrogate this wild-looking man (John the Baptist) who was preaching and baptizing. We are told in verse 28 that this incident takes place on the Jordan River at Bethabara, about 18 miles east of Jerusalem.

Now take a comparative look at two verses:

John 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
Isaiah 40:3 (see notes) The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

As you can plainly see, John professes to be the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy, a prophecy also made in Malachi 3:1 (see notes) and Malachi 4:5-6 (see notes) concerning the coming of the Messiah. Now here's the confusion. These priests and Levites are familiar with Malachi's prophecies. It appears from this passage that the Pharisees differentiated between Elijah of Malachi 4:5-6 and the Messenger of Malachi 3:1 as seen in verses 21 and 25. So, they reason, if John the Baptist is introducing the Messiah, and the Messiah is here to judge the nations and establish the throne of David, then John the Baptist must be Elijah according to Malachi. But John says he's not Elijah in verse 21! Well, was he or wasn't he? The answer is: he could have been. You see, Malachi's prophecy looked all the way into the millennium. When John the Baptist and Jesus came, the Jews did have an opportunity to receive him as their Messiah and usher in the rule of Israel over the earth under the Davidic throne. However, it had been prophesied that they would reject, and Christ knew that in advance as well (of course he did). Therefore, John the Baptist would have fulfilled the Malachi prophecy had the Jews readily accepted the Messiah, but they did not...so John was not Elijah. For a full explanation of this issue, see the information box to the right or click here to read "Was John the Baptist Elijah?" in full screen.

John gives his testimony regarding Jesus (John 1:29-34)

John 1
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

From the wording of verse 29, it would appear that the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist had already occurred on a previous day. Now it's time for John the Baptist's personal testimony regarding Jesus himself in verses 30-34. He indicates that God himself had told him to be on the lookout for the dove and voice-from-heaven miracle which occurred at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22 - see above); when he saw that miracle, he knew, without question, that Jesus was that Messiah.

The calling of disciples (John 1:35-51)

John 1
35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;
36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

Here we have John's account of the circumstances around the calling of four of the twelve apostles.

We find the whole list of the twelve in Mark 3:16-19 (see notes); they are as follows:

  1. Peter
  2. James (Son of Zebedee and brother of John)
  3. John
  4. Andrew
  5. Philip
  6. Bartholomew
  7. Matthew
  8. Thomas
  9. James (Son of Alphaeus)
  10. Thaddaeus
  11. Simon the Canaanite
  12. Judas Iscariot

In John 1:41 it is interesting to see that Andrew sought out his brother Peter to inform him that he had found the Messiah. Here we see also the definitive statement that "Christ" means "Messiah." Philip confirms this finding in verse 45, but with an additional comment that is worth noting. He points out that this is the Messiah "of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write." Of course, we are well aware of the numerous Old Testaments prophecies from the prophets concerning the coming Messiah, but what about his reference to Moses? It is obvious from this reference that the Jews of Jesus' day understood Deuteronomy 18:15-19 (see notes) to be a prophecy of the coming Messiah.

Let's take a look at the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15-19 (see notes):

Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
Deuteronomy 18:16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
Deuteronomy 18:17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
Deuteronomy 18:18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
Deuteronomy 18:19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

I find this passage particularly interesting in two respects. First of all, I feel relatively certain that the Israelites to whom this prophecy was first given must have thought Moses was talking about Joshua who succeeded him after his retirement (so to speak). That description certainly fits him. However, Philip believes what apparently many (if not virtually all) Jews in his day believe, that Deuteronomy 18:15-19 is a direct reference to the Messiah. To make this discussion more interesting, consider this: "Jesus" is a Greek transliteration for the Hebrew name "Joshua." So, just as Joshua led Israel into Canaan, so will Jesus (Joshua) lead Israel into the millennium. We do find that Jesus, after his resurrection, confirms that Deuteronomy 18:15-19 is a reference to himself in Luke 24:27 (see notes), "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." For a more comprehensive look at this issue, consult the information box to the right of this window or click here to read the article entitled, "Moses prophesied the Messiah."

Verse 46 is amusing as well when Nathan questions Philip regarding Jesus, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Hey! What do you have against Nazareth? Well, probably being unaware of Jesus' Bethlehem roots at the time, it was a fair question. I mean...a Messiah from Nazareth? Jesus' very first words to Nathanael are an interesting play on words when he says of him, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" Jesus is undoubtedly making a reference to Isaac's words concerning Jacob in Genesis 27:35 (see notes), "And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing." The word "subtilty" there is the equivalent of "guile." When Nathanael wonders how Jesus was able to make such a correlation, having just met him, Jesus reveals to Nathanael in verse 48 that he had a vision of Nathanael under a fig tree. As we see in verse 49, that settles it for Nathanael.

The temptation of Christ (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13)

Matthew 4
Mark 1

Luke 4

1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 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.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.
13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:
11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

Of course Satan is determined to discover the credentials of Jesus as well. After all, Satan is not omniscient. Isaiah 9:6-7 (see notes) clearly characterized the nature of the Messiah:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

So, I'm guessing this episode is Satan's attempt to see exactly what he's dealing with here: Is Jesus God in the flesh or not. If Jesus will succumb to temptation and sin (abandon his Messianic mission), then he is not the promised Messiah. You must keep in mind that Satan is not omniscient (nor omnipotent nor omnipresent). However, he does know the scripture and has talked with God...but he's not omniscient. Contrary to popular belief, he can't even read your thoughts. So Satan is using the conventional method of Messiah testing in this passage of scripture. RESULTS: Jesus is 100% Messiah, God in the flesh...and he won't perform any parlor tricks to obtain a big prize from Satan.

These temptations placed before Jesus follow forty days of fasting. It is worth noting that these forty days match those of Moses when he ascended to Mount Sinai in Exodus 24:12-18 (see notes). As a matter of fact, we are told in Deuteronomy 9:9 (see notes) that Moses also fasted for these forty days and forty nights.

Despite being God in the flesh, Jesus quotes scripture as he combats the temptations of Satan:

Matthew 4:3-4 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3 (see notes)

Matthew 4:5-7 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. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Quoted from Deuteronomy 6:16 (see notes)

Matthew 4:8-10 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Quoted from Deuteronomy 10:20 (see notes)

It is interesting to note, however, that Satan himself quotes scripture in this verbal duel when he says in verse 6, "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." That's a quotation from Psalm 91:11-12 (see notes); it just goes to show you, quoting scripture out of context is something that even Satan does.


For commentary on another passage, click here.


Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner