Matthew 04 (Contemporary English Version)
- The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert, so that the devil could test him.
- After Jesus had gone without eating for forty days and nights, he was very hungry.
- Then the devil came to him and said, "If you are God's Son, tell these stones to turn into bread."
- Jesus answered, "The Scriptures say: 'No one can live only on food. People need every word that God has spoken.' "
- Next, the devil took Jesus to the holy city and had him stand on the highest part of the temple.
- The devil said, "If you are God's Son, jump off. The Scriptures say: 'God will give his angels orders about you. They will catch you in their arms, and you won't hurt your feet on the stones.' "
- Jesus answered, "The Scriptures also say, 'Don't try to test the Lord your God!' "
- Finally, the devil took Jesus up on a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms on earth and their power.
- The devil said to him, "I will give all this to you, if you will bow down and worship me."
- Jesus answered, "Go away Satan! The Scriptures say: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.' "
- Then the devil left Jesus, and angels came to help him.
- When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he went to Galilee.
- But instead of staying in Nazareth, Jesus moved to Capernaum. This town was beside Lake Galilee in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali.
- So God's promise came true, just as the prophet Isaiah had said,
- "Listen, lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, lands along the road to the sea and east of the Jordan! Listen Galilee, land of the Gentiles!
- Although your people live in darkness, they will see a bright light. Although they live in the shadow of death, a light will shine on them."
- Then Jesus started preaching, "Turn back to God! The kingdom of heaven will soon be here."
- While Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw two brothers. One was Simon, also known as Peter, and the other was Andrew. They were fishermen, and they were casting their net into the lake.
- Jesus said to them, "Come with me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish."
- Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him.
- Jesus walked on until he saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat with their father, mending their nets. Jesus asked them to come with him too.
- Right away they left the boat and their father and went with Jesus.
- Jesus went all over Galilee, teaching in the Jewish meeting places and preaching the good news about God's kingdom. He also healed every kind of disease and sickness.
- News about him spread all over Syria, and people with every kind of sickness or disease were brought to him. Some of them had a lot of demons in them, others were thought to be crazy, and still others could not walk. But Jesus healed them all.
- Large crowds followed Jesus from Galilee and the region around the ten cities known as Decapolis. They also came from Jerusalem, Judea, and from across the Jordan River.
Satan's temptations of Jesus followed a pattern that are characteristic of his temptations of everyone: physical appetite, personal gain, and an easy path to power. Satan's ploy is to misuse God's Word. As a side-note, we should pay attention to the use of scripture in this exchange between Satan and Jesus. Both use it, and in the process valid scripture for us. Scripture that some scholars arrogantly question as to their authenticity, are matter-of-factly used by both Jesus and Satan. But, back to Satan's temptations. Half truths are an effective ploy. Enough truth is present to gain our trust causing us not to examine the claim closely enough to catch the falsehood. In this encounter with Jesus, Satan's third and climactic temptation offered Jesus the opportunity to accomplish God's purpose for Him without the pain of the cross. It is God's plan that Jesus rule the world, and Satan is presently "the prince of this world," so it was in his power to give Jesus the kingdoms of the world. But gaining rule of the world through Satan's offer would be a very distorted fulfillment of God's plan and would not fulfill God's purpose for Jesus having rule.
Having passed the test of Satan's temptations, Jesus was ready for ministry. We should also note that Jesus' ministry did not begin until John's ministry was completed. It was upon hearing of John's arrest that Jesus withdrew into Galilee and began to minister. His message sounds very similar to that of John's, "Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!" He wasted no time in recruiting His disciples. He had three years in which to prepare these men for the task of carrying on His ministry after He was gone. Christ's call to any of us to follow Him comes at a price. The price includes placing Christ above family, above our life's profession, and above our possessions. Christ's call to these men involved those costs. They left their profession of fishing, they left their father, and they gave up their livelihood. Jesus outlines these costs to following Him in Luke 14:26ff.
Jesus' ministry launched in a big way. It was not long before large crowds were following Him and His disciples. Jesus' took His ministry to the Jews, teaching in their synagogues. And what He taught was the "good news of the kingdom." His teaching and preaching were accompanied by His healing of "every disease and sickness among the people." His healing ministry authenticated His teaching and preaching ministry. We should be careful to keep in mind which is priority. As is human nature to do, our temptation is to focus on and settle for temporal and immediate benefits at the exclusion of deferred eternal benefits. Many a human ministry has highlighted the healing ministry to almost complete exclusion of the eternal message of good news of the kingdom. But Jesus' ministry was primarily an eternal one.