- The Ancient Path, Matthew Chapter 4 Introduction

The Gospel of Matthew

Jesus Begins His Public Ministry

Jim Deering,


Jesus Announces the New Covenant

As we leave Matthew Chapter 3 it is good that we don't forget that Jesus has just been baptized by John for entrance into the office of Royal High Priest. More in-depth information can be found in the book of Hebrews, especially chapters 8-10. It is there that we find out that with each new covenant (an inheritance [i.e., will] there needs to be an administrator who takes the office of High Priest. Under Him there is the Priesthood which is in charge of administering the legal aspects of the covenant and also administers the "sacraments" or reconciliation aspects of the covenant. Under the Old Covenant the Levites (the family of Moses and Aaron) were appointed priests and Moses the High Priest. The Old Covenant passes away with the coming-of-age of Jesus and the New Covenant begins - specifically with the baptism (water washing ritual of the new High Priest), the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Him, and the Father's pronouncement that He is pleased with His Son. The transactions that bring the Old Covenant to a complete halt include the rejection of the Kingdom by the Jewish leadership (and the people) and the death of Jesus on the Cross.

Parallels with the Temptations

We should also see the parallels between the first temptation - that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden - and the temptations of Jesus. Both begin with food; both appeal to personal pride; both use the questioning of God's word or truth; and both offer an alternate or substitute for the Plan of God. For more information on this topic you should see C. I. Scofield's notes on the temptations of Jesus in either the Old or New Scofield Bible.

A secondary parallel can be drawn between the Nation of Israel spending 40 years in the Wilderness and Jesus' 40 days in the Wilderness. Israel was sorely tempted with sin[1] at every turn and she failed miserably. The first generation (over 20 years of age) had to die there and a whole new generation of Israelites had to be born before God would allow them re-entry into the promised land of Canaan. On the other hand, Jesus went into the Wilderness in the company of the Holy Spirit in order to be prepared for His earthly ministry. It was only after His tour of the Wilderness that Satan approached Him. It was there that The Word of God countered the Evil One's accusations and temptations with the word of God. This is a lesson that should be well remembered as we encounter the wiles of the Devil in our own lives and ministries.

Jesus was led (literally: carried) by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And He was there with the wild beasts (Mark 1:13). After He had fasted for forty days, the tempter came to Him. What a contrast with the first man, Adam, in the garden of Eden!

Later Jesus hears news that the forerunner, John, had been cast into prison. And so He begins His ministry by departing to Galilee. It is His Galilean ministry which Matthew reports the events of the Judean ministry are not given by him. These we find in the Gospel of John. He preached in Nazareth[2] and dwelt in Capernaum[3]. What happened in Nazareth is more fully reported by Luke. His own townspeople were filled with wrath and thrust Him out of the city, trying to cast Him down a hill. The first murderous attempt was made in Nazareth.

Fulfilled Prophecy Concerning the Messiah (Christ)

Chapter four also invites us to take a look at the prophecies of the Old Testament and see how they are fulfilled in Jesus. Here's a short list of these "proofs" of His Messiahship that will bring us to Chapter Four and verse :17 where Jesus begins preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom (Mat 1:22; 2:5; 2:15; 2:17; 2:23; 3:3; and 4:14).

He preached the message of the Kingdom throughout that region. Peter, Andrew and the two sons of Zebedee, James and John, are called by Him into service. They left all, the nets, the ship, and even their father to follow Him and became fishers of men.

For the first time in Matthew we read of the signs which were linked with the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom. The healing of the sick and the demon possessed were truly signs that the King is Jehovah manifested in the flesh and that the Kingdom had drawn nigh.

Our study of the events of Chapter 4 will take us on a chronological journey that will include the all four of the Gospel writers.

[1] Sin, (Hebrew: hata'ah; Greek: harmartia) A falling away from or missing the right path. Sinfulness lies in the fact that it is against God, even when the wrong we do is to others or ourselves (Genesis 3:20; 4:15; 7:7; James 4:12, 17).

[2] Nazareth, is the home of Joseph and Mary. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament or by Josephus. Jesus grew up to manhood here. Today it is quite large and occupied by both Moslems and Christians.

[3] Capernaum, meaning "town of Nahum" (the 7th of the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament). A city of Galilee. It was on the western shore of the "Sea of Galilee, lower than Nazareth and Cana. It was of sufficient size to be called a "city." It was the residence of Jesus and his apostles and the scene of many miracles and discourses. Doom was pronounced against it and it is now just a "Tell" (mound of earth like a landfill).