Mitch, Curtis & Edward Sri. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition.
“The Messiah Tested and Revealed (Matthew 4:1-25)” pp. 73-83.
Matthew chapter 4 moves Jesus from his baptism, through a time of temptation in isolation, into public ministry. Mitch observes that the temptations presented by Matthew escalate in their nature. “All are attempts by Satan to divert Jesus from the path of human suffering and obedience that his mission entails (Mitch 2010, 74). The temptation to make bread is not merely a temptation to gluttony. It is a temptation “to use his divine might for strictly personal benefit” (Mitch 2010, 74). This is not what Jesus came to do. Jesus’ response is that God’s priorities, not our own, are paramount (Mitch 2010, 75). The second temptation “is essentially a challenge to the trustworthiness of God. Satan wants Jesus to subject his Father’s promises to verification” (Mitch 2010, 76). Jesus refuses to put the Father to the test. In the final temptation, “he is asked to repudiate the Father altogether by surrendering himself to the lordship of Satan, the ‘ruler of this world’ (John 12:31)” (Mitch 2010, 76). Jesus flatly refuses. He is the Son of God.
Jesus engages in public ministry apparently as a result of John being imprisoned (Mitch 2010, 78). In Galilee he seems to center his work around Capernaum. The city had a history of oppression and exile (Mitch 2010, 79), which Mitch sees as significant in Jesus’ choice to bring freedom there first. His message is that of repentance, just as John’s was (Mitch 2010, 79). Jesus chooses some disciples, counter to typical practice (Mitch 2010, 81). They are not only to learn, but are also to catch other people. Jesus then continues to preach but also to heal people, becoming very well known (Mitch 2010, 81). This is clearly a radical movement.