Matthew 3-4 God's Sinless Son

                   God’s Sinless Son
        Matthew 3:1-4:16         September 9 2007

Before telling of Jesus’ first public events, Matthew introducedJohn the Baptist and his ministry of preparation (Matt.3:1-11). John prepared the way for Jesus by proclaiming a message of repentance and of baptism as a symbol of a person’s new commitment to God . John’s mission was to prepare people to receive the message of God; thus emphasis on repentance was particularly important. As powerful and persuasive as John was, he proclaimed his purpose was secondary to that of the coming Messiah.

    1. Commit to God (Matt. 3:13-17)

Matt. 3:13   Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be
baptized by John. 3:14   But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need
to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 3:15   Jesus replied,
“Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all
righteousness.” Then John consented. 3:16   As soon as Jesus was
baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was
opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and
lighting on him. 3:17   And a voice from heaven said, “This is my
Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

    This occasion marked the beginning of Christ’s Messianic
    ministry. There were several reasons for his baptism: 1. The
    first, mentioned here, was “to fulfill all righteousness.” The
    baptism indicated that he was consecrated to God and
    officially approved by him, as especially shown in the descent
    of the Holy Spirit (Matt.3:16) and the words of the Father
    (Matt.3:17; Psalms 2:7; Isa 42:1). All God’s righteous
    requirements for the Messiah were fully met in Jesus. 2. At
    Jesus’ baptism John publicly announced the arrival of the
    Messiah and the inception of his ministry (John 1:31-34). 3.
    By his baptism Jesus completely identified himself with man’s
    sin and failure (though he himself needed no repentance or
    cleansing from sin), becoming our substitute (2Cor. 5:21). 4.
    His baptism was an example to his followers.     Events
    surrounding Jesus’ baptism reveal the intense religious
    excitement and social ferment of the early days of John the
    Baptist’s ministry. Herod had been rapacious and extravagant;
    Roman military occupation was harsh. Some agitation centered
    around the change of procurators from Gratus to Pilate in A.D.
    26. Most of the people hoped for a religious solution to their
    low political fortunes, and when they heard of a new prophet,
    they flocked out into the desert to hear him. The religious sect
    (Essenes) from Qumran professed similar doctrines of
    repentance and baptism. Jesus was baptized at Bethany on the
    other side of the Jordan (John 1:28). John also baptized at
    “Aenon near Salim” (John 3:23). The temptation took place in
    (1) the desert region of the lower Jordan Valley, (2) a high
    mountain (possibly one of the abrupt cliffs near Jericho that
    present an unsurpassed panorama) and (3) the pinnacle of the
    temple, from which the priests sounded the trumpet to call
    the city’s attention to important events. Many scholars place
    John’s baptismal ministry at a point on the middle reaches of
    the Jordan River, where trade routes converge at a natural
    ford not far from the modern site of Tell Shalem.     Bethany is
    the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism. The Biblical “Bethany
    on the other side of the Jordan” has not been definitely
    identified.
All three persons of the Trinity are clearly seen here.
(Matt.3:16) Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit came
    upon Jesus not to overcome sin (for he was sinless), but to
    equip him (Judges 3:10) for his work as the divine-human
    Messiah.
    An allusion to (Psalms 2:7 and Isa 42:1).

    2. Focus on God’s Word (Matt.4:1-4)

Matt. 4:1   Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to
be tempted by the devil. 4:2   After fasting forty days and
forty nights, he was hungry. 4:3   The tempter came to him
and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to
become bread.” 4:4   Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does
not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from
the mouth of God.’ ”

     The significance of Jesus’ temptations, (Matt. 4:1-11)
    especially because they occurred at the outset of his
    public ministry, seems best understood in terms of the
    kind of Messiah he was to be. He would not accomplish
    his mission by using his supernatural power for his own
    needs (first temptation), by using his power to win a
    large following by miracles or magic (second temptation)
    or by compromising with Satan (third temptation). Jesus
    had no inward desire or inclination to sin, for these in
    themselves are sin (Matt 5:22,28). Because he was God he
    did not sin in any way, whether by actions or word or
    inner desire (2Cor 5:21; Heb 7:26; 1Peter 2:22; 1John 3:5).
    Yet Jesus’ temptation was real, not merely symbolic. He
    was “tempted in every way, just as we are —yet was
    without sin” (Heb 4:15). He was confronted by the tempter
    with a real opportunity to sin. Although Jesus is the Son
    of God, he defeated Satan by using a weapon that everyone
    has at his disposal: the sword of the Spirit, which is the
    word of God (Eph 6:17). He met all three temptations with
    Scriptural truth (Matt.4:4,7,10) from Deuteronomy.
    (Deut. 4:1) Led by the Spirit. . . to be Tempted. This testing
    of Jesus (the Greek verb translated “tempted” can also be
    rendered “tested”), which was divinely intended, has as
    its primary background (Deut 8:1-5), from which Jesus also
    quotes in his first reply to the devil (Matt. 4:4) . There
    Moses recalls how the Lord led the Israelites in the desert
    40 years “to humble you and test you in order to know what
    was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his
    commands.” Here at the beginning of his ministry Jesus is
    subjected to a similar test and shows himself to be the
    true Israelite who lives “on every word that comes from
    the mouth of the LORD.” And whereas Adam failed the great
    test and plunged the whole race into sin (Gen. 3), Jesus was
    faithful and thus demonstrated his qualification to become
    the Savior of all who receive him. It was, moreover,
    important that Jesus be tested /tempted as Israel and
    we are, so that he could become our “merciful and faithful
    high priest” (Heb 2:17) and thus be “able to help those who
    are being tempted” (Heb 2:15; Heb 4:15-16). Finally, as the
    one who remained faithful in temptation he became the
    model for all believers when they are tempted. Tempted by
    the Devil. God surely tests his people, but it is the devil
    who surely tempts to evil ( Gen. 22:1; 1John 3:8; Rev 2:9-10;
    Rev 12:9-10).
    Forty days and forty nights. The number recalls the
    experiences of Moses (Exodus 24:18; 34:28) and Elijah
    (1Kings 19:8), as well as the 40 years of Israel’s temptation
    (testing) in the desert (Deut 8:2-3).
    If you are the Son of God. Meaning “Since you are.” The devil
    is not casting doubt on Jesus’ divine son ship, but is tempting
    him to use his supernatural powers as the Son of God for his
    own ends.
    Just as God gave the Israelites manna in a supernatural way
    (Deut 8:3), so also man must rely on God for spiritual feeding.
    Jesus relied on his Father, not his own miracle power, for
    provision of food.

    3. Recognize What God Wants (Matt. 4:5-7)

Matt. 4:5   Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand
on the highest point of the temple. 4:6   “If you are the Son of God,”
he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command
his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” 4:7   Jesus
answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to
the test.’ ”

    High point of the Temple( Luke 4:2) . Temple , (Lk 4:9). The
    temple, including the entire temple area, had been rebuilt by
    Herod the Great (Matt. 2:1; John 2:20). The courtyard had been
    greatly enlarged, to about 330 by 500 yards. To accomplish
    this a huge platform had been erected to compensate for the
    sharp falling off of the land to the southeast. An enormous
    retaining wall made of massive stones was built to support
    the platform. On the platform stood the temple building,
    porches and courtyards flanked by beautiful colonnades.

    4. Refuse to Compromise (Matt.4:8-11)

Matt. 4:8   Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and
showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 4:9 
 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and
worship me.” 4:10   Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For
it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ”
 4:11   Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

    Here the Devil life Him but did return later (Matt.16:21-23).
    Luke recorded that Satan left Jesus "for a time" (Luke 4:13).
That angels minister to Jesus after the testing is an expression
of the reward for obedience that awaits every faithful believer.
    Jesus first had faced the test of putting physical needs above
    spiritual needs and then the test of ego, but the test of power
    may have been the most difficult of all. Jesus faced the full
    range of temptations, thus being tempted in all ways in the
    same way we are (again Heb.4:15). Some people object to
    this idea., believing Jesus’ purity prevented Him from
    experiencing the full brunt of temptation. Actually, giving
    in to temptation means never facing its full strength. To
    resist always means going the full distance and feeling the
    complete weight of temptation.

        Summary:

            The Greek word for "Devil" means "accuser" or
    "adversary". In Hebrew the word is Satan and has the same
    meaning. the Devil Works in direct opposition to God’s plan
    and often tries to corrupt God’s people by taking what is
    good and then twisting it to weaken us. The Devil is chief of
    the fallen angels and able to inflict disease and it possess
    people. The present world is under his sway; thus his offer
    to Jesus of all the power of the worldly kingdoms was
    possible.
            While the Devil may tempt us, he cannot coerce us
    into sin. The Bible never relieves people  of personal
    responsibility . Satan is limited. Unlike God , he is not
    omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent. Thus we are able
    to understand and develop principles for resisting all
    temptation.