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MATTHEW - Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand!
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Matthew
PART 1 - The Preliminary Period in the Ministry of Christ (Matthew 1:1 - 4:25)
B - John the Baptist Prepares the Way of Christ (Matthew 3:1 - 4:11)

4. The Temptation of Christ and His Great Victory (Matthew 4:1-11)

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry afterward. 3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
(Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 8:3; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13)

There should be an emphasis on the first word of verse one, "Then." The heavens were opened to Jesus and the Spirit descended on him and he was declared to be the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Then, the next news we hear of him is that he is "tempted". He was best able to battle with the temptation after he was baptized.

The great privileges and special mercies of divine favor, will not secure us from being tempted. After great honors are put upon us, we must expect something that is humbling. God usually prepares his people for temptation before he calls them to it; he gives strength according to the need and gives more than ordinary comfort before a sharp trial. The assurance of our sonship is the primary defense for temptation. If the Spirit of God bears witness to our adoption, that will furnish us with an answer to all the temptations of the evil spirits.

After we have been admitted into the communion of God, we must expect to be preyed upon by Satan. The enriched soul must double its guard—"When you have eaten and are full, then beware" (Deuteronomy 6:10-12).

The Devil has a particular hatred for useful people who are not only good, but also given to do good, especially at their first setting out and serving the Lord. So be aware, prepare yourself for temptation, and arm yourself accordingly.

The Holy Spirit leads Jesus up into the wilderness to face the devil and the spiritual hosts of wickedness. What is interesting is the continuance of the invisible comparison between Jesus and the Jewish nation. Although the nation of Israel failed in its spiritual life after coming out of Egypt, Christ, the Son of God, withstood the temptations of the devil. Jesus overcame him face to face, and carried out the plan that the Father had for man. Christ did not come on behalf of the Jews only, but on behalf of all humanity and took away our sins on the cross.

It is to be mentioned that Jesus used the same words against the tempter that God had given his people in the wilderness of Sinai (Deuteronomy 8:3). The Lord Jesus succeeded in facing the temptation of the enemy in three exchanges, which cover all the kinds of temptation a man might face. These temptations are: The lust of the flesh, which tempts man in the point of sensation; the lust of the eyes, which tempts man in the point of possession; and the pride of life, which tempts man in the point of prestige. In all these points, Jesus obtains victory on our behalf, becoming our greatest advocate and our high priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses in times of temptation. He "was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:14-16).

The baptism of Christ was a glorious event, in which the heavenly Father expressed his pleasure in his beloved Son. How astonishing that immediately after this baptism, the Holy Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness to wrestle with the enemy of God. Jesus demonstrated the power of his divine nature in spite of the weakness of his body.

Jesus remained forty days without food but in constant communion with his heavenly Father in the deadly desert. He was listening to his Father's voice just as Moses did when he had forgotten to eat or drink for forty days while scribing the two tablets of the Law. But Jesus did not bring tablets of stone from his meeting with God in establishment of the new covenant, since he, himself, is the Word of God become flesh, in whom is the saving power for his followers.

At last, the devil came to Christ pretending to have compassion on him. He awakened hunger in Jesus, and lied as if he loved him. His purpose was, in fact, to cast Jesus down in sin and prevent him from going to the cross. The devil tried, first of all, to plant the doubt into his heart with respect to his relation to the Father, and he asked him: Are you the Son of God? Making a question out of the truth. The devil knows more than men who Christ is—the demons also believe, and tremble. If Satan admitted, "You are the Son of God", he should have submitted in him; but he falsified the truth saying, "If you are God’s Son, order these stones to turn into bread." This is a scheme the devil uses all the time—to plant doubt in men that their faith be shaken and they might turn away from their source of strength.

Poverty is a great temptation to discontentment and unbelief. It often leads to unlawful means for our relief, under the pretence that necessity has no law. It is with this excuse that the hungry will break through stone walls, yet this is no excuse, for the Law of God ought to be stronger to us than stone walls. The writer of Proverbs prays against poverty, not because it is an affliction and reproach, but because it is a temptation, "Remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny you, and say, "Who is the Lord?" or lest I be poor and steal." (Proverbs 30:8, 9). Therefore those who are reduced to difficult circumstances, have need to double their guard; it is better to starve to death before God, than to live and thrive by sin.

The Devil is the "tempter", and therefore he is a foe and enemy to those who believe. Our worst enemies entice us to sin and are Satan’s agents, doing his work and attempting to carry out his schemes. He is emphatically called the tempter, because he was so to our first parents, and still is so, with all other tempters conforming to him.

The wicked one demanded a miracle from Christ, knowing his ability to turn the stones into bread; but he intended to incite him to contradict his own person. If Jesus had obeyed him, his holiness would have been tainted, since he is love and does not seek his own fulfillment, but gives himself for us and for the glorification of his heavenly Father. Satan’s way of winning the world by means of bread is still in progress, misleading and destroying multitudes. What if Jesus made delicious foods out of the stones? Would it, then, be necessary to work and toil any longer? No, everyone would have rather drank milk from the streams, and wine from the rivers. All the world would have raced to Christ, believed in him, and worshiped him without changing their hearts or obtaining forgiveness, thus remaining under God’s wrath and judgment.

Christ, from the beginning of his ministry, rejected mass enthusiasm and charitable deeds as a way to save the world without the cross. The primary concern of his salvation is not for the body, but for the redemption of the soul. He intended to forgive our sins and renew our hearts. He finished this purpose on the cross.

In Jesus’ reply to Satan, we hear the divine principle of the establishment of our spiritual life, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Christ did not deny the necessity of the daily bread, but he brought to light that abiding in the word of God is more important than the necessities of the flesh. He instructs us to seek our daily bread day by day and he teaches us that our concerns with God’s kingdom and righteousness should take first place. Do you read the gospel every day, and do you partake of it continuously as you would food? He, who does not eat every day, becomes weak and dies in the end. Such is the believer if he does not read the word of God every day; he will become spiritually sick, waste away and will collapse. Regrettably, this is the condition of some churches and many of the believers who listen to the word of God on Sundays only. They resemble those who eat once a week. They do not spiritually die, but they remain weak in love, hope and faith. You are in need of peace and quite before the face of God every day that he may strengthen you, nourish you, and encourage you; praying for spiritual wisdom to see that, through the cross of Jesus, you became a child of God, and that you will live forever, even in hunger and poverty.

So we find that Jesus Christ triumphed over the devil's temptations with the word of God and sin found no place in the Son of God; to him be the glory. He did not yield to evil. Though we all have yielded to evil in the past, we can learn from Jesus and fight the enemy with God's Word when temptation comes to us.

PRAYER: O Lord Jesus Christ, I thank you because you did not fall into the snare of the devil and make bread out of stones. You did not listen to his voice, nor did you seek your own good. You did not draw the multitudes through delicious food, but you guided them into the unique word of God to satisfy their souls and draw them to receive your eternal life. Please help me to read your word every day, to become strong in your Holy Spirit and do your will with joy.


  1. Why didn't Jesus make bread out of the stones, though he was able to?


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