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Baptism of Jesus



Temptation in the Wilderness


Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.    Matthew 4:1









779 A.U.C;  A.M. 4030;  A.D.  27






Lectionary   Lent 1A Lent 1B Lent 1C    



Quotes & Notes on:     Matthew 4:1   

  • John Wesley's Notes:
    Then-After this glorious evidence of his Father's love, he was completely armed for the combat. Thus after the clearest light and the strongest consolation, let us expect the sharpest temptations.

    By the Spirit-Probably through a strong inward impulse. Mr 1:12; Lu 4:1.

  • Treasury of Scripture Knowledge:

    * was. Mr 1:12,13-15; Lu 4:1-13; Ro 8:14
    * of the spirit. 1Ki 18:12; 2Ki 2:16; Eze 3:12; 8:3; 11:1; 40:2; 43:5; Ac 8:39
    * to. Ge 3:15; Joh 14:30; Heb 2:18; 4:15,16

  • Adam Clarke's Commentary:

     Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit] This transaction appears to have taken place immediately after Christ's baptism; and this bringing up of Christ was through the influence of the Spirit of God; that Spirit which had rested upon him in his baptism.

    To be tempted] The first act of the ministry of Jesus Christ was a combat with Satan. Does not this receive light from Ge 3:17. I will put enmity between the woman's seed and thy seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

  • Family Bible Notes:

     The Spirit; the Holy Spirit. To be tempted of the devil; as were our first parents in Eden, and as are all their children. Christ must qualify himself for his office of Redeemer by successfully withstanding that temptation under which Adam and his children fell. See note on chap. Mt 3:15. At the same time he gave an example of the way to resist temptation, to baffle the tempter, and to overcome when tempted. God often leads his servants into great trials preparatory to the discharge of great and momentous duties.

  • 1599 Geneva Bible Notes:
    Christ is tempted in all manner of ways, and still overcomes, that we also through his virtue may overcome.

  • People's New Testament Commentary:

       Then was Jesus led of the Spirit. Mark says he was driven by the Spirit, a phrase that indicates a sudden and forcible impulsion. [See Mr 1:12.]

    Into the wilderness. Tradition has placed the scene of Christ's temptation in that part of the wilderness of Judea which lies between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, and particularly in the mountain called Quarantania, from this forty days' fast.

    To be tempted. Christ must be tempted (1) Because it was impossible that one who came to overthrow the kingdom of Satan should not be attacked by the great adversary at the very threshold. (2) It was to test him. (3) It was to prepare him, by being tempted like as we are, and yet gaining the victory, to "succor them that are tempted" [Heb 2:18]. (4) It was to set an example for us when we are tempted. The three great temptations mentioned by Matthew are the three great classes of temptations to which men are now exposed.

    Of the devil. Here the existence and personality of Satan are placed before us in the most distinct language. The devil is, (1) A person (Eph 2:2; 6:12; Heb 2:14; Jude 1:6);| (2) A fallen angel (Joh 8:44; 2Pe 2:4; Jude 1:6). The word devil means "false accuser."

  • Robertson's Word Pictures:
      To be tempted of the devil (peirasthênai hupo tou diabolou). Matthew locates the temptation at a definite time, "then" (tote) and place, "into the wilderness" (eis tên erêmon), the same general region where John was preaching. It is not surprising that Jesus was tempted by the devil immediately after his baptism which signified the formal entrance upon the Messianic work. That is a common experience with ministers who step out into the open for Christ. The difficulty here is that Matthew says that "Jesus was led up into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil." Mark (Mr 1:12) puts it more strongly that the Spirit "drives" (ekballei) Christ into the wilderness. It was a strong impulsion by the Holy Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness to think through the full significance of the great step that he had now taken. That step opened the door for the devil and involved inevitable conflict with the slanderer (tou diabolou). Judas has this term applied to him (Joh 6:70) as it is to men (2Ti 3:3; Tit 2:3) and women (she devils, 1Ti 3:11) who do the work of the arch slanderer. There are those today who do not believe that a personal devil exists, but they do not offer an adequate explanation of the existence and presence of sin in the world. Certainly Jesus did not discount or deny the reality of the devil's presence. The word "tempt" here (peirazô) and in Mt 4:3 means originally to test, to try. That is its usual meaning in the ancient Greek and in the Septuagint. Bad sense of ekpeirazô in Mt 4:7 as in De 6:16. Here it comes to mean, as often in the New Testament, to solicit to sin. The evil sense comes from its use for an evil purpose.

  • Albert Barnes' Commentary:

      The Spirit. Luke says, (Lu 4:1,) that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. It was by his influence, therefore, that Christ went into the desert.

    To be tempted. The word to tempt, in the original, means to try, to endeavour, to attempt to do a thing; then, to try the nature of a thing, as metals by fire; then, to test moral qualities by trying them, to see how they will endure; then, to endeavour to draw men away from virtue by suggesting motives to evil. This is the meaning here, and this is now the established meaning of the word in the English language.

    The devil. This word originally means an adversary, or an accuser; thence any one opposed; thence an enemy of any kind. It is given in the Scriptures, by way of eminence, to the leader of evil angels--a being characterized as full of subtlety, envy, art, and hatred of mankind. He is known, also, by the name of Satan, Job 1:6-12; Mt 12:26; Beelzebub, Mt 12:24; the old Serpent, Re 12:9; and the prince of the power of the air, Eph 2:2. The name is sometimes given to men and women. 2Ti 3:3 Truce-breakers, slanderers--in the original, devils. 1Ti 3:2: So must their wives be grave, not slanderers--in the original, devils.

    {a} "led up of the Spirit" 1Ki 18:12; Eze 11:1,24; Ac 8:39
    {b} "to be tempted" Mr 1:12; Lu 4:1


  • Jamieson-Faussett Brown:

    Then--an indefinite note of sequence. But Mark's word (Mr 1:12) fixes what we should have presumed was meant, that it was "immediately" after His baptism; and with this agrees the statement of Luke (Lu 4:1).

    was Jesus led up--that is, from the low Jordan valley to some more elevated spot.

    of the Spirit--that blessed Spirit immediately before spoken of as descending upon Him at His baptism, and abiding upon Him. Luke, connecting these two scenes, as if the one were but the sequel of the other, says, "Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led," &c. Mark's expression has a startling sharpness about it--"Immediately the Spirit driveth Him" (Mr 1:12), "putteth," or "hurrieth Him forth," or "impelleth Him." (See the same word in Mr 1:43; 5:40; Mt 9:25; 13:52; Joh 10:4). The thought thus strongly expressed is the mighty constraining impulse of the Spirit under which He went; while Matthew's more gentle expression, "was led up," intimates how purely voluntary on His own part this action was.

    into the wilderness--probably the wild Judean desert. The particular spot which tradition has fixed upon has hence got the name of Quarantana or Quarantaria, from the forty days--"an almost perpendicular wall of rock twelve or fifteen hundred feet above the plain" [ROBINSON, Palestine]. The supposition of those who incline to place the temptation amongst the mountains of Moab is, we think, very improbable.

    to be tempted--The Greek word (peirazein) means simply to try or make proof of; and when ascribed to God in His dealings with men, it means, and can mean no more than this. Thus, Ge 22:1, "It came to pass that God did tempt Abraham," or put his faith to a severe proof. (See De 8:2). But for the most part in Scripture the word is used in a bad sense, and means to entice, solicit, or provoke to sin. Hence the name here given to the wicked one--"the tempter" (Mt 4:3). Accordingly "to be tempted" here is to be understood both ways. The Spirit conducted Him into the wilderness simply to have His faith tried; but as the agent in this trial was to be the wicked one, whose whole object would be to seduce Him from His allegiance to God, it was a temptation in the bad sense of the term. The unworthy inference which some would draw from this is energetically repelled by an apostle (Jas 1:13-17).

    of the devil. The word signifies a slanderer--one who casts imputations upon another. Hence that other name given him (Re 12:10), "The accuser of the brethren, who accuseth them before our God day and night." Mark (Mr 1:13) says, "He was forty days tempted of Satan," a word signifying an adversary, one who lies in wait for, or sets himself in opposition to another. These and other names of the same fallen spirit point to different features in his character or operations. What was the high design of this? First, as we judge, to give our Lord a taste of what lay before Him in the work He had undertaken; next, to make trial of the glorious equipment for it which He had just received; further, to give Him encouragement, by the victory now to be won, to go forward spoiling principalities and powers, until at length He should make a show of them openly, triumphing over them in His cross: that the tempter, too, might get a taste, at the very outset, of the new kind of material in man which he would find he had here to deal with; finally, that He might acquire experimental ability "to succor them that are tempted" (Heb 2:18). The temptation evidently embraced two stages: the one continuing throughout the forty days' fast; the other, at the conclusion of that period.

  • Spurgeon Commentary:

    No sooner anointed than assailed. He did not seek temptation, but was “led of the Spirit.” The time selected was immediately after his Sonship had been attested, when we might have thought that he was least likely to be attacked upon that point. Times of hallowed enjoyment verge on periods of temptation. Our Lord was led “into the wilderness”: the place was one of great solitude, where he would be alone in the conflict. The devil himself came to the spot and plied his diabolical arts upon the man ordained to be
    his Destroyer.  Let me be ever on my watch-tower, and particularly during seasons of great enjoyment; for then is Satan most likely to assail me. Lord Jesus, be thou with me in the hour of my testing; for thou knowest how to succor the tempted.

  • William Burkitt's Notes:

    Observe, 1. The great humiliation of the Son of God, how exceedingly was he humbled by the horrid temptations wherewith he was assaulted, than which nothing could be more grievous to his holy heart. What could be more burdensome to him that was brought up from eternity with God the Father, than to be shut up in a wilderness with the devil, there to be baited by him so many days, having his ears files, though not defiled, with horrid blasphemies spit upon the holy and reverend name of God! Oh deep abasement and wonderful humiliation of the Son of God!

    Observe, 2. The time when Christ entered the lists with Satan, implied in the word then! that is first, immediately after his baptism; he is no sooner out of the water of baptism, but he is in the fire of temptation:

    secondly, immediately after the Spirit descended upon, and the Father had by a voice from heaven, manifested his complacency and satisfaction in him: This is my beloved Son, &c.

    Note thence, That great manifestations of love from God, are usually followed with great temptations from Satan.

    Observe, 3. The place where this combat was fought, and that is, in the wilderness.

    Learn thence, That no place can privilege us from temptation, or be a sanctuary from Satan's assualts: the solitary wilderness has a tempter in it, yea Satan sometimes makes use of men's solitariness, to further his temptations: a cell, a nunnery, or a cloister, are as open to Satan as the open fields, and the persons that live in the have a tempter without, and an inticer within as well as other men.

    Observe, 4. The efficient cause of Christ's going into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan: He was led up of the Spirit, says St. Matthew: The Spirit drove him, says St. Mark: that is, the Holy Spirit of God, not Satan the unclean spirit, for the devil is seldom if ever called the spirit, but usually some brand of reproach is annexed, as the evil spirit, or the unclean spirit.

    Christ was led by the Spirit; that is, he was carried by a strong impulse of the Spirit of God into the wilderness, to be tempted by Satan.

    Learn hence, 1. That none of the children of God are assaulted, are ordered by divine and special dispensation. Satan could not assault our Saviour till he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for that end; and he shall not assault any of his members, but by divine permission.

  • Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary:

     Concerning Christ's temptation, observe, that directly after he was declared to be the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world, he was tempted; great privileges, and special tokens of Divine favour, will not secure any from being tempted. But if the Holy Spirit witness to our being adopted as children of God, that will answer all the suggestions of the evil spirit. Christ was directed to the combat. If we presume upon our own strength, and tempt the devil to tempt us, we provoke God to leave us to ourselves. Others are tempted, when drawn aside of their own lust, and enticed, Jas 1:14; but our Lord Jesus had no corrupt nature, therefore he was tempted only by the devil. In the temptation of Christ it appears that our enemy is subtle, spiteful, and very daring; but he can be resisted. It is a comfort to us that Christ suffered, being tempted; for thus it appears that our temptations, if not yielded to, are not sins, they are afflictions only. Satan aimed in all his temptations, to bring Christ to sin against God. 1. He tempted him to despair of his Father's goodness, and to distrust his Father's care concerning him. It is one of the wiles of Satan to take advantage of our outward condition; and those who are brought into straits have need to double their guard. Christ answered all the temptations of Satan with "It is written;" to set us an example, he appealed to what was written in the Scriptures. This method we must take, when at any time we are tempted to sin. Let us learn not to take any wrong courses for our supply, when our wants are ever so pressing: in some way or other the Lord will provide. 2. Satan tempted Christ to presume upon his Father's power and protection, in a point of safety. Nor are any extremes more dangerous than despair and presumption, especially in the affairs of our souls. Satan has no objection to holy places as the scene of his assaults. Let us not, in any place, be off our watch. The holy city is the place, where he does, with the greatest advantage, tempt men to pride and presumption. All high places are slippery places; advancements in the world makes a man a mark for Satan to shoot his fiery darts at. Is Satan so well versed in Scripture as to be able to quote it readily? He is so. It is possible for a man to have his head full of Scripture notions, and his mouth full of Scripture expressions, while his heart is full of bitter enmity to God and to all goodness. Satan misquoted the words. If we go out of our way, out of the way of our duty, we forfeit the promise, and put ourselves out of God's protection. This passage, De 8:3, made against the tempter, therefore he left out part. This promise is firm and stands good. But shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? No. 3. Satan tempted Christ to idolatry with the offer of the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. The glory of the world is the most charming temptation to the unthinking and unwary; by that men are most easily imposed upon. Christ was tempted to worship Satan. He rejected the proposal with abhorrence. "Get thee hence, Satan!" Some temptations are openly wicked; and they are not merely to be opposed, but rejected at once. It is good to be quick and firm in resisting temptation. If we resist the devil he will flee from us. But the soul that deliberates is almost overcome. We find but few who can decidedly reject such baits as Satan offers; yet what is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Christ was succoured after the temptation, for his encouragement to go on in his undertaking, and for our encouragement to trust in him; for as he knew, by experience, what it was to suffer, being tempted, so he knew what it was to be succoured, being tempted; therefore we may expect, not only that he will feel for his tempted people, but that he will come to them with seasonable relief.

  • The Fourfold Gospel:

    (No comment on this verse).





Updated:   Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at 03:52 AM



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