In our study of Matthew chapter four we look at the temptation of Yeshua and its purpose as well as the start of restoration through His ministry.
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Then the Spirit led Yeshua up into the wilderness to be tempted by the Adversary.
The translation of the Greek word to tempted is unfortunate and is better translated as tested. The idea of temptation is that someone can be bribed or talked into evil and the simple fact of the matter is that there was no chance that that was going to happen to Yeshua. Testing, on the other hand, was used by God many times to prove what was in the heart of man. In chapter 3, we saw that Yeshua was identified with man and so a part of that identification was the fact that He would have to go through the same things as the rest of mankind. This proving of what is in the heart of man was not for God's sake as He already knows what is in our hearts. So, why was it necessary to prove the heart of Jesus? We see the answer in the fact that it was the devil that was to test Yeshua. You see, up to this point, Satan (who does not know everything) thought that he had a chance to defeat the plan of God because he did not know what was in the heart of Yeshua. After this testing, the handwriting was on the wall and Satan knew that there was no chance for him and that he was doomed.
After Yeshua had fasted forty days and nights, he was hungry.
Before the testing came, Yeshua had to be identified with the greatest of men. He fasted (no food or drink) for forty days and nights which identified Him with both Moses and Elijah. Moses fasted for forty days and nights when he went up on the mountain to receive God's commandments. The prophet Elijah did the same thing when his life was endangered by Ahab and Jezebel. He fasted before the Lord appeared to him to strengthen him. This reminds us that the purpose of fasting is to focus our minds on the things of God and trusting in Him. We are also reminded that the number forty has to do with a transition or change and, in this case, the change is that Yeshua is beginning His earthly ministry to bring reconciliation between God and man. Today, the practice of fasting is often used as a badge of superiority by some believers. This was not its purpose throughout the Bible as it was to be a very personal thing between a man and God. As we shall see in Yeshua's teaching (chapter 6), it was not even to be known to others that a man was fasting.
The Tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, order these stones to become bread." But he answered, "The Tanakh says, `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of ADONAI'"
The translation uses the word "if" but it would better be translated here as "since". Yeshua knew who he was and the devil was not trying to introduce doubt about that identity. Now, we see that the devil came to Yeshua when He had a legitimate need for food and we are reminded that temptation is often brought to us through our legitimate needs. The first test that Yeshua faced was the physical temptation of food. We might ask what was wrong with Yeshua using His power to create food when He was hungry. The simple fact of the matter is that the devil was trying to get Him to rely on His own power instead of the provision of God. It is a physical test but it had spiritual implications because faith is complete trust in God not just in some areas. The devil will try to find our weakest spot and then try to get us to work at solving it instead of trusting in God to provide for the need. Yeshua quotes the words of Moses from Deuteronomy 8:3 to answer the devil's test. This speaks of the fact that life is found in every word of God as it points to the work of Yeshua Messiah on our behalf.
Then the Adversary took him to the holy city and set him on the highest point of the Temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "jump! For the Tanakh says, `He will order his angels to be responsible for you. They will support you with their hands, so that you will not hurt your feet on the stones.'" Yeshua replied to him, "But it also says, `Do not put ADONAI your God to the test.'"
For the second test, Yeshua went to the temple in Jerusalem. This was a spiritual test in pride as it was an attempt to force God to act. The devil quoted from Psalm 91:11 & 12 but used it out of context. The Psalm speaks of the fact that, if you trust in God, He will not fail to protect you and it speaks of our trusting in the work of Yeshua on the cross. Yeshua answered with the words of Moses again from Deuteronomy 6:16 where the Israelites had demanded water from a rock as a sign that God was with them (see Exodus 17 ). Before they entered the Promised Land, Moses warned them to not test God like they had before.
Once more, the Adversary took him up to the summit of a very high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in all their glory, and said to him, "All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me." "Away with you, Satan!" Yeshua told him, "For the Tanakh says, `Worship ADONAI your God, and serve only him.'"
This third and final test was a psychological test which was basically testing self-control. Yeshua knew that He was going to be ruler of everything at the appointed time but Satan was trying to get Yeshua to change God's timetable and to do things his own way. Yeshua answered with a quote from Deuteronomy 6:13 where Moses reminded the people to only trust in God. In these three tests, we see that Yeshua succeeded where Israel had previously fell. This testing proved that Yeshua would not sway from God's plan no matter what.
Then the Adversary let him alone, and angels came and took care of him.
After the third test, we saw that Yeshua told the devil to get away from Him and now we see that the devil obeyed. We are reminded that the devil temporarily left Him but would return periodically throughout Yeshua's ministry on the earth.
When Yeshua heard that Yochanan had been put in prison, he returned to the Galil; but he left Natzeret and came to live in K'far-Nachum, a lake shore town near the boundary between Z'vulun and Naftali. This happened in order to fulfill what Yesha`yahu the prophet had said, "Land of Z'vulun and land of Naftali, toward the lake, beyond the Yarden, Galil-of-the-Goyim -- the people living in darkness have seen a great light; upon those living in the region, in the shadow of death, light has dawned."
After Yeshua's testing and the proving of His heart, He began His ministry of preaching. John the Baptist had been arrested and his ministry had come to an end so Yeshua shifted His ministry headquarters to Capernaum. The name K'far-Nachum (Capernaum) means village of comfort. By moving His ministry there, the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled (see Isaiah 9:1 & 2). That area was a despised area as Gentiles had gathered there to live. It was considered a dark place because it was thought that they could not have a right relationship with God. As Yeshua made the area his base of operations, the light and comfort was brought to the area.
From that time on, Yeshua began proclaiming, "Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!"
Yeshua's preaching ministry picked up right where John the Baptist had left off as He began proclaiming what John had said in chapter 3. The kingdom of heaven was near because of the fact that Yeshua was the gate to enter that kingdom. Repentance was necessary so that people would find the gate and enter through it.
As Yeshua walked by Lake Kinneret, he saw two brothers who were fishermen -- Shim`on, known as Kefa, and his brother Andrew -- throwing their net into the lake. Yeshua said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers for men!" At once they left their nets and went with him.
We see that Yeshua called two common fishermen to join Him in His ministry and, by doing so, He was proclaiming that He was the Messiah and His mission was to gather the descendants of Avraham as they were described as "an abundance of fish in the midst of the earth" in Genesis 48:16. Immediately, they gave up their old way of life and began to follow Him. The apostle John tells us that Andrew had already met Yeshua and had heard what had happened at His baptism. The hearts of these two apostles was tested and proven with their willingness to leave their jobs and follow the call of Yeshua.
Going on from there, he saw two other brothers -- Ya'akov Ben-Zavdai and Yochanan his brother -- in the boat with their father Zavdai, repairing their nets; and he called them. At once they left the boat and their father and went with Yeshua.
The second set of apostles were fishermen as well and they were called in the same manner as Simon and Andrew. We see two brothers again and, when we see something repeated in the scriptures, it is for emphasis with this emphasizing the connection between Messiah and God's covenant with Avraham. This set of brothers had their heart tested by the pull of family as they had to decide to follow Yeshua even when that meant leaving their earthly father behind.
Yeshua went all over the Galil teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing people from every kind of disease and sickness.
We see that Yeshua's ministry began in the local synagogues and this is a reminder that he came as the Jewish Messiah. We see that His authority in ministry was displayed by miracles of healing and this shows us that miracles are a confirmation of teaching.
Word of him spread throughout all Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill, suffering from various diseases and pains, and those held in the power of demons, and epileptics and paralytics; and he healed them. Huge crowds followed him from the Galil, the Ten Towns, Yerushalayim, Y'hudah, and `Ever-HaYarden.
Word of Yeshua's miraculous physical healing spread and people brought their sick from far and wide. We see that this news spread outside of Israel into Syria and this speaks of the Messiah's mission to bring the exiles back into the kingdom. We also see a list of types of afflictions and notice that Yeshua was able to heal them all. This was a further demonstration of His authority over all of creation and the power to restore things back to the purposes of God.