Matthew Journey Chapter 4

In Matthew 4, so much happens. Jesus leaves for over a month alone to face temptation, and then begins his ministry. By the end of the chapter his ministry is in full swing.

Matthew 4

  • It is so strange if you go a chapter back here. Chapter 3 ends with the Father declaring his love for the Son, and the Spirit coming on him as a dove. Chapter 4 begins with the words, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.”
  • Just because God loves us does not mean he will protect us from all chances of difficulty or harm
  • Andy Stanley really contributed to my understanding of the temptation. He points out how the three temptations mirror the most dangerous temptations that we face. Jesus is first tempted to meet a legitimate need in an illegitimate way. Next he is tempted to presume upon God, which is a fancy way of saying you try to back God into a corner based on your understanding of who He is. Last, Jesus is tempted to take a shortcut to his goals by breaking outside the boundaries God has set for him.
  • After this we find out that John the Baptizer is in prison, and it seems that Jesus steps into John’s role of calling for repentance and announcing the arrival of the Kingdom. This shines another light on Jesus joining of the people by being baptized by John previously.
  • Jesus is considered by the people to be a Rabbi, which was a respected Jewish teacher. A rabbi would have disciples, or followers, who would be with him every waking moment to learn everything possible. Jesus chooses his first two disciples here, (Simon)Peter and Andrew.
  • As Jewish children grew up, they went through stages of learning. At a certain age, the brightest would continue to “level 2” learning, while others continued to learn their families trade. These level 2’s, after studying, would find a rabbi whose teaching (or yoke) they appreciated, and apply to be his disciple. Only the best and brightest were accepted, and the rest earned a living with their families like the others.
  • When Jesus chooses these two disciples, they were fishing with their father. This means they were young and had not moved on to higher learning. They were the not-so-brights . . . the unaccepted.
  • There are many times in my life where I feel like one of the not-s0-brights.
  • Jesus does not just wait for them; he calls them out. He requests that they follow him. This says much about who Jesus accepts to be his followers compared to whom the “religious” leaders would choose.
  • After this it says Jesus began to heal the sick and spread the good news. He didn’t start a building program, he didn’t raise an army, he didn’t start a petition, he didn’t hole up in his house and hate the world. He met the world on their basis, and brought them hope and healing.

Chapter 4 once again shows me a Jesus who meets us where we are. He was tempted in every way that we are tempted. He chooses the least among us. He brings us hope and new life rather than rules and consequences. Jesus is becoming like us to meet with us. He is looking past our outside value to our inner worth. Jesus is setting us up for relationship with him. This is so awesome and so different than any other way of life or “religion.”

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