Vv 1-13: The temptation: "The most important, memorable, and
mysterious battle in history."
AND WAS LED BY THE SPIRIT IN THE DESERT: Cp Luk 3:22
with Rom 8:14; Gal 5:18: and thus Jesus is led by Spirit into wilderness. It was
not for Jesus to bask in the glory of the Father's blessings; he must be tested.
The temptation was by divine intervention (cp Gen 22:1; 1Co 10:13).
Prophets were led by the Holy Spirit to receive visions: Rev
21:10; Eze 8:3; 37:1; 40:2; 2Co 12:2.
IN THE DESERT: With the wild beasts: Mar
Jesus is baptized, and immediately taken by the Spirit into
the wilderness to be tempted. Cp this with Moses' Psa 90:5-12: his commentary
about the generation that was first "baptized" in the Red Sea, and then
afterward perished in the wilderness. Secondly, cp this with Joshua's (this is a
guess) Psa 91:1-7: a commentary about the generation that survived the
wilderness to enter the Promised Land. Other points of comparison: (a) cp the 40
years there with the 40 days here. (b) Psa 91:11,12 refers to the temptation of
Jesus in the wilderness. (c) Psa 91:13: Cp with Mark 1:13 (Psa 8:6,7; Gen 1:28:
Jesus exercises dominion over the wild beasts).
FORTY DAYS: // 40 years. Temptation of Christ //
temptation of God's "firstborn" nation. Note similarities in Deu
THE DEVIL: Also called the "tempter" in Mat 4:3, and
"Satan" in Mar 1:13. Poss a member of the delegation from the High Priest and
other authorities (cp Mat 3:7), who see Christ baptized, anointed as the "Lamb
of God" (Joh 1:29), and hope to find a way to neutralize his influence: 'Come,
join with us, and you will "succeed" far beyond your expectations!'
So someone came to check Jesus' credentials, much as the
"credentials" of John Baptist were checked. Cp John 1:19: "Now this was John's
testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he
was." This could have led, directly, to their need to "examine" the would-be
"Messiah" -- to whom John pointed (John 1:23-29).
All other refs to tempters in the gospels are to external
tempters: Mat 16:1; 19:3; 22:15-18; 26:59-63; John 8:6; Luk 11:15,16.
HE ATE NOTHING: Or an absolute minimum (cp Mat
If? See Luk 3:22; Mat 26:63.
See Jer 15:16; Job 23:10-12; Joh 4:32-34.
IT IS WRITTEN: Over the course of the 40 days
temptation in the wilderness, Jesus resisted the allurements of sin by continual
resort to quotations from the Scripture -- specifically, in the instances given,
from the book of Deuteronomy: Deu 8:3; 6:13; 6:16. Here is a profound lesson for
us: while the power of will demonstrated by Jesus is surely extraordinary --
even miraculous -- and while the Holy Spirit received from his Father must also
have played a significant part... nevertheless, there is nothing mysterious
about his resorting to the comfort and encouragement of the Bible. This account
tells us that the PRIMARY means by which Jesus resisted sin was... the word of
And the same will be true of us. Knowing the Bible -- its
commandments and its promises -- and knowing that it IS the word of God, which
may effectively work in us... this is the best means to resist all the
enticements to evil that come our way. We may pray to our heavenly Father to
help us in times of stress and weakness, but surely He will not help us if we
have ignored the greatest means of resistance against sin and of growth in
righteousness -- which we have right here in our hands all the while! -- the
THE DEVIL LED HIM UP TO A HIGH PLACE: Other prophets
received visions thusly: Rev 21:10; Eze 40:2.
AND SHOWED HIM IN AN INSTANT ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE
WORLD: At the least, all the "kingdoms" of the Promised Land! From
traditional mount of temptation, in north of Jeshimon: looking to east, one
might actually see the whole of Transjordan: riches of Petra in the south, the
castle of Herod, Moab-Ammon in center, Decapolis (Greek influence) to north. All
around also was the power of Rome (Baly 185). Cp Abraham surveying Land in Gen
Could the "orthodox" "Devil" give Jesus all these
Quoting Deu 6:13, which warns against serving other gods.
Thus, to serve the "flesh" is to serve another "god"!
AND SERVE HIM ONLY: "Power is a dangerous and coveted
thing. Most men seek after it in some form or other: money, standing, influence
and the various other aspects of preference in which men delight. Power is a
test of character and few come through unharmed. One man only has found the
perfect answer. Upon him came the Spirit of God without measure and for forty
days and nights he wrestled, Jacob-like, to keep the face of God before him lest
he should become tarnished by power. He discovered in his striving the peace
which comes by resisting the temptation to serve self: service of others is the
true use of power" (TMD 92,93).
THE HIGHEST POINT OF THE TEMPLE: See Eze 8:3. It was
here also that James (the Lord's brother) stood to address the crowds -- before
being thrown down and clubbed to death (WGos 74).
" 'Our Rabbis give this tradition: In the hour when King
Messiah cometh, He standeth upon the roof of the Sanctuary, and proclaims to
Israel, saying, Ye poor (suffering), the time of your redemption draweth nigh.
And if ye believe, rejoice in My Light, which is risen upon you... Jesus stands
on the lofty pinnacle of the Tower, or of the Temple-porch... whence the view
into the Kedron Valley beneath was to the stupendous depth of 450 feet...
Possibly it may have been the extreme corner of the 'wing-like' porch, or ulam,
which led into the Sanctuary. Thence a Priest could easily have communicated
with his brethren in the court beneath... [This place was] presumably that on
which every day a priest was stationed to watch, as the pale morning light
passed over the hills of Judaea far off to Hebron, to announce it as the signal
for offering the morning sacrifice. If we might indulge our imagination, the
moment chosen would be just as the Priest had quitted that station. The first
desert-temptation had been in the grey of breaking light, when to the faint and
weary looker the stones of the wilderness seemed to take fantastic shapes, like
the bread for which the faint body hungered. In the next temptation Jesus stands
on the watch-post which the white-robed priest had just quitted. Fast the rosy
morning-light, deepening into crimson, and edged with gold, is spreading over
the land. In the Priests' Court below him the morning-sacrifice has been
offered. The massive Temple-gates are slowly opening, and the blasts of the
priests' silver trumpets is summoning Israel to begin a new day by appearing
before their Lord. Now then let him descend, Heaven-borne, into the midst of
priests and people. What shouts of acclamation would greet his appearance! What
homage of worship would be His! The goal can at once be reached, and that at the
head of believing Israel. Jesus is surveying the scene. By his side is the
tempter [a representative of the Sanhedrin?: GB], watching the features that
mark the working of the spirit within. And now he has whispered it" (Eder). The
beauty of this would be -- from the viewpoint of the tempter -- that, if Jesus
were not the Messiah, he would plunge to his death, and the leaders of Israel
would be rid of a potential threat and rival. And if he did succeed, the leaders
of Israel would have an "in" with this new "king" -- he would be "one of
Cp 2Co 11:14: "Satan" masquerading as an "angel of
HE TAUGHT IN THEIR SYNAGOGUES: Something John Bapt
Jesus' custom to attend synagogue? Or his custom to read
there? Or his custom to preach there (at least, early in ministry)?
HE STOOD UP TO READ: To read the scrolls which spoke of
him (Psa 40:7)! Of these he read all the days of his life (Deu 17:19).
Ct Isa 29:11,12: others who were handed the scrolls handed
In the first recorded announcement of his ministry, Jesus
PROCLAIMS gospel of freedom... In his last recorded words (in Luke), Jesus
PROCLAIMS freedom through repentance and remission of sins (Luk 24:47). The
proclamation of "Jubilee": freedom! (Isa 61:2; Lev 25:10).
THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS ON ME: Likewise, in the first
preaching by the apostles, in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit comes upon them
THE YEAR OF THE LORD'S FAVOR: Poss year of Jubilee (Lev
25:8-10). Freedom, release, return (cp Mat 11:28).
TODAY: Cp Deu 30:19.
He continued to expound the words...
That is, 'do something to prove that you are more that you
seem to be.'
DO HERE IN YOUR HOMETOWN...: Cp Jeremiah's experiences:
Jer 11:21; 12:6.
HOMETOWN: "Patris" = fatherland -- either hometown,
native region, or whole country. Here, hometown. But ct v 24.
HOMETOWN: Here "patris" (cp v 23) = whole land of
Israel, because contrasted with lands of Sidon (v 26) and Syria (v
ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE SYNAGOGUE WERE FURIOUS WHEN THEY
HEARD THIS: Because Jesus was plainly saying that miracles were not
restricted to Jews, but came also to Gentiles -- as in the days of Elijah (vv
TO THROW HIM DOWN THE CLIFF: So done to Edomites in 2Ch
25:12. Presumably, this is what the priest did to the scapegoat on Day of
Atonement (WGos 298). [Between 515 BC and 70 AD, during the second temple
period, the "scapegoat" was led to a cliff and forced over the brink to ensure
it did not return.] So, was this an attempt to make Jesus the "scapegoat" on the
Day of Atonement: 'Let him bear away all the sins of the nation!'?
This probably occurs in the 7th month, the month of the Day of
Atonement: see v 18 and Isa 61 context. It was on the Day of Atonement that the
year of Jubilee was proclaimed, when they were to "proclaim liberty" throughout
the land, when bought Hebrew servants were to be freed and sold lands restored
to the heirs (Lev 25).
Also, in a more general way, this is reminiscent of the words
of Caiaphas: "You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for
the people than that the whole nation perish" (John 11:50).
// Mat 4:13-17n.
DOWN TO CAPERNAUM: Nazareth to Capernaum, a drop of c
2000 ft (WGos 122).
AUTHORITY: As in Mar 1:22.
THE SYNAGOGUE: The only one in town: Mar 1:21; Luk
US... US: The other people in synagogue, not a "legion"
of demons! That is, 'you will be like the other pseudo-messiahs, bringing the
wrath of Rome down upon us.'
BE QUIET: Cp Mar 1:25n.
BEFORE THEM ALL: In the open space before the
WITHOUT INJURING HIM: The loud cry was not a cry of
The first open contest with the power he was to destroy! This
mastery of the unseen powers of darkness (Phi 2:10) was more than they had even
expected of the Messiah.
GIVES ORDERS: "Seems always to describe a DIVINE
command" (WGos 121).
LEFT: "Anistemi" = to arise. The usual posture for
teachers in the synagogue was sitting.
HOME OF SIMON: Was Bethsaida (Joh 1:44) a "suburb" of
Capernaum? (WGos 122).
SIMON'S MOTHER-IN-LAW: Peter was married (1Co
HIGH FEVER: Typhus? (WGos 122) Or malaria?
THEY ASKED JESUS TO HELP HER: Intercession for weak and
The first resurrection by Jesus, typical of others to
1. Personal contact. 2. Uplifting power. 3. Immediate
The effect on Peter's family: "It is no light thing to take a
man from his home and wife and family and livelihood to become a... preacher...
This healing of Peter's mother-in-law guaranteed enthusiastic support. From this
day forward, Peter need never look over his shoulder wondering how his wandering
life... was regarded by the folks at home" (WGos 123).
HE... REBUKED THE FEVER: As though it were a personal
thing -- which, of course, it was not. Cp Christ's "rebuke" of "demons" as
AND BEGAN TO WAIT ON THEM: No "half-way" cures. The
saved should serve!
WHEN THE SUN WAS SETTING: That is, as soon as Sabbath
had officially ended (cp v 38), the entire town was "synagogued" at Peter's
ALL: The "all" of Isa 53:6.
LAYING HIS HANDS ON EACH ONE: Blessing and personal
identification (Gen 48:14; Lev 9:22,23).
HE HEALED THEM: So Capernaum became "well" physically,
but not so spiritually (Mat 11:20,23,24)!
See Lesson, Demons, what are? Here is cited Isa 53:4 (Mat
8:16,17): "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows."
BUT HE REBUKED THEM AND WOULD NOT ALLOW THEM TO SPEAK:
Silence was his settled policy for most of his ministry (Mat 9:30; 17:9; 12:16;
Mar 1:34; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26; Luk 5:14), with one notable exception (Mar 5:19 --
Legion with his family). But in last days of ministry, a change of course (Mat
21:1-11; Joh 7:37; 9:3; 11:4).
BECAUSE THEY KNEW HE WAS THE CHRIST: That is, they knew
by personal experience his healing power.
Jesus needs solitude for thought and prayer (cp Isa 50;4; Psa
119:147,148). A list of "solitude passages": Mar 1:35-37; 3:7,9,20,21; 4:35-38;
6:31; 7:17,18,24; 8:10,11,27; 9:30; 10:32; 14:32.
Other night prayers: Psa 119:62; Lam 2:19; Luk 11:5; Mat
26:39-46; Act 16:25.
AT DAYBREAK: Lit, "before it was day" (cp Mar
THE PEOPLE WERE LOOKING FOR HIM...: The eagerness of
the crowds: Luk 5:1; 6:19; 8:19,40; 12:1; 21:38.
Perhaps Christ realizes now that his mission could not be just
one of healing -- but of proclaiming. He must go to other cities. Perhaps in
prayer this was communicated to him by God.
PREACHING IN THE SYNAGOGUES: This was a religious, not
merely a political, undertaking.