Jesus’ Ministry Begins – Matthew 4
Now that Matthew’s introduction of Jesus and he shares evidence to establish Jesus as the Messiah, Matthew moves into events from Jesus’ early ministry. One would think a story like Jesus’ would start smoothly and slowly. But that is not the case. Apparently, Satan has plans to stop the Son of God before anything good begins to happen.
Jesus goes into the Wilderness to fast. I imagine that Je is gathering the spiritual strength He needs to fulfill His mission. This forty day and night fast ends not with a feast to break the fast (breakfast) but with a greeting from the devil. Satan hurls stumbling blocks in Jesus’ path. This series of temptations begins when Jesus is weak from hunger. (After forty days of fasting Jesus might be hangry.) These temptations are just the beginning of what Satan will do to try to stop Jesus and keep Him from completing the task that lies ahead.
Jesus is successful at avoiding the pitfalls of the temptations. He is tempted, the struggle is real, but He stand strong and sends Satan away. Satan lost this battle, but he will continue to wage war. Before long, bad news reaches Jesus. Satan seemingly has the ear of Herod and through that influence Herod arrests John, Jesus’ cousin that we met in chapter 3. Jesus retreats to Galilee, again in fulfillment of prophecy (cf. Isaiah 9:1-2; Isaiah 42:7). While there Jesus begins sharing his message, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jesus’ ministry continues as He calls Peter, Andrew, James, and John from their nets and boats to no longer be fishermen, but fishers of men. They leave their boats and nets to follow. Soon large groups of people begin to follow Jesus. They are listening to His message and many who are sick receive healing. His fame spreads throughout Galilee, Syria, Judea, the Decapolis, and beyond the Jordan. The Messiah’s time is here.
Three quick observations:
- Like Jesus, we can fight temptation by knowing God and His Word.
- Repentance is a must. We (mankind) must turn from self, from sin, from worldliness toward God.
- Like Peter and company, we need to be fishers of men. I talked with a man the other day who leaves compact disks of sermons and encouraging messages in hospital waiting areas. He called it, “setting trout lines.”