The Devil Tempts
In Matthew 4:1-11, the devil tempts Jesus to rebel against God. Satan numerous times tried to persuade Jesus to act against his Heavenly Father, but Jesus refused. Jesus was promised by Satan that he would be provided everything if Jesus were to worship him. Jesus shouted for Satan to be gone, saying, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” This passage shows that Jesus did not allow Satan to tempt him into disobeying God. The genre of Matthew 4 is structured as a narrative in form and a biography in the genre, and the readers can tell us by the way Matthew writes, through characterization and plot (Perrin 578).
The Gospel of Matthew is noted as written anonymously, as the author did not advise the audience of his name. Despite this, there was high speculation that Matthew the Capernaum was the one who wrote the gospel, as he was assumed to be responsible for writing the Gospel of Matthew (Gibbs 190). Matthew was credited as the author due to the fact that he translated many Hebrew/Aramaic sayings. Compared to Mark’s writing style, Matthew writes a more polished style of Greek in the Gospel. Out of the four Gospels, the Gospel of Matthew is very admired and though it is unknown, it is somewhat logical to think that Matthew was the author of the First Gospel.
Scholars believe that the Gospel of Matthew is said to have been written around AD 70, and also written in the city Antioch. (Douglas et al 631). Matthew’s intended audience was the early church, who were mostly made up of former members of the Jewish faith, and another believed audience of Matthew. This Gospel is intended for Jewish readers, and The Gospel of Matthew is said to be “especially concerned with fulfilling the Old Testament revelation through Christianity” (Douglas et al 631). The author of Matthew is majorly concerned with persuading the audience on the importance of Jesus being the Messiah, while also having Christianity be known as the new “law” (Douglas et al 631).
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is portrayed as sovereign, and one who fulfills the Scripture, while holding the role of a teacher as well. He also is seen as very Jewish and one who upholds the law. A good example of how Jesus upholds the law is the temptation. Jesus shows an intense faithfulness to the law by rejecting Satan’s deceitful ways of trying to drag him away from the Lord. This is similar to when the Devil tried to tempt Eve in Genesis, and the temptation is a great example of showing Matthew’s Jesus.
When reading Matthew, it is important to understand that the Pharisees were considered the enemy of the Jewish people and the Gentiles. During the period when Matthew was written, the church was split and Matthew was not hesitant to address the Pharisees as evil. Jesus does not consider them to be people of God. There was an immense hostility towards the Pharisees in the Gospel of Matthew, so it is important to understand the conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees when reading Matthew.
A big part of the Gospel of Matthew is understanding the influence of the Greco-Roman and Jewish culture in the Gospel’s text. The author of Matthew “intended to write for a Greek-speaking audience”(Perrin 576). The audience is believed by scholars to be a Jewish audience that is highly devoted to Jesus, and believe he is the Messiah. It is important to understand the context of the Greco-Roman and Jewish culture because it allows a deeper understanding of the passage.
The Gospel of Matthew emphasizes the importance of discipleship, and to make sure that the audience understands that it is vital to revolve their lives around Jesus(Perrin 582). Matthew talks about the importance of following Jesus’ example, as well as living in forgiveness and faithfulness(Perrin 582). Forgiveness is a crucial part of the Gospel of Matthew, and the readers are defined in their habit of practicing the act of forgiveness. It is important to understand what the author of Matthew wants his readers to follow as faithful children of God.
When reading this passage, some words that are important to translate are, “the tempter,” “the Slanderer,” and “adversary.” These are important words because it is used negatively to show how Satan tried to target Jesus with temptation. There is also a negative connection between the two words, “the tempter,” and the devil. The word, “the tempter,” depicts the devil as the ultimate source of evil and here to be the opponent of the Lord. A particular theme that is important for understanding this text is that it was intended for a Jewish audience, and the faithfulness to uphold the Jewish law is shown through Matthew 4 as Jesus does not give in to Satan’s temptations.
The Gospel of Matthew has a narrative literary structure, which means that the plot, characterization, and setting are very important, along with the rhetoric and literary features. The Gospel of Matthew contains five sermons that were written by Jesus. Matthew emphasizes the importance of the Jewish law and upholding the law while being able to fulfill the Scripture. An essential part of Matthew is when the author includes when Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. This was intentional because it had a connection to when Israelites wandered the desert for 40 days(Brown and Roberts 46).
The first verse in Matthew 4:1-11 is describing where Jesus is going, which was the wilderness, led by the Spirit. The second verse is explaining how hungry he has become from fasting in the desert for forty days and forty nights. The third verse is describing when Satan approached Jesus and commanded him to turn stones to loaves of bread, to prove he is the Son of God. The fourth verse explains when Jesus refuses Satan’s command and stated that man shall live by every word that comes from God’s mouth, and not by bread.
The fifth verse explains when Jesus is brought to by Satan to the holy city, where Jesus goes to the highest point of the temple. The sixth verse describes Satan telling Jesus to throw himself down because God will send angels down to hold Jesus up. Jesus said to him, The seventh verse talks about when Jesus states that the Lord should not be put to the test. This verse, the eighth verse, explains how Satan again took Jesus up to a high mountain and showed Jesus the glory of the kingdoms of the world. The ninth verse talks about how Satan promises to give Jesus everything if he bowed down to him and worshipped him. The tenth verse explains how Jesus shouted at Satan to be gone, and that the Lord is the only that you shall serve. The eleventh and final verse describes when Satan left, and the angels came down to minister to Jesus.
Matthew 4:1-11 describes how Jesus was faithful in his loyalty to his Heavenly Father, despite being tempted by the devil himself. Jesus was tempted three times by Satan, and each time Jesus denied. He was first, tempted to turn rocks into bread, second, tempted to test the Lord by falling down and seeing if God would send angels down to catch him, and third, tempted to bow down before Satan and he would be promised everything. Jesus’ ability to remain strong in the presence of Satan’s temptation shows obedience that man can not even think of acquiring. This passage shows that God’s love is stronger than any temptation, and that the story of Christianity would have not continued if Jesus were tempted into disobeying his Heavenly Father. Similar but still different to when Satan tempted Eve, Matthew 4 shows what man could not because of their sinful nature, and Christ redeemed man through his strong loyalty to the Lord.