New Defender's Study Bible Notes
4:1 tempted. Jesus was God incarnate, and “God cannot be tempted with evil” (James 1:13). Although both Father and Son knew He could not sin, He must be “tested” (a better connotation of the word than “tempted”), so that the world and the devil would also know.
4:1 devil. The devil had tempted Eve and (indirectly) Adam with a three-fold temptation, in body, soul and spirit (“good for food,” “pleasant to the eyes,” “make one wise”—Genesis 3:6), and they had failed the test. All other men would fail the same test, succumbing to “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (I John 2:16). Jesus, as Son of man, was subjected to the same three-fold testing and passed the test. Furthermore, He did it in His humanity, without recourse to His power as Son of God, and He did it—as we can—through believing and applying the resources of God’s written word.
4:4 It is written. Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3. This testing targeted His urgent physical need, the second (Matthew 4:6) appealed to His human desire for recognition and approval, which He turned back by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16. Finally, the third testing (Matthew 4:9) offered the immediate attainment of His spiritual goal of making the entire world His own kingdom of peace and love, but He refuted this by referring to Deuteronomy 10:20. It is noteworthy that, in Matthew’s gospel alone, Jesus quotes from the Old Testament at least thirty-nine times.
4:6 it is written. Satan also knows the Scriptures, but he will attempt to distort them to his own ends. Here he quotes from Psalm 91:11-12, but takes it out of context, and omits the key phrase, “to keep thee in all thy ways.”
4:9 worship me. Satan desires to displace God and receive the worship due only to Him. This was the occasion of His own fall from heaven in the first place (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:11-19). He still harbors the delusion that this is possible, and has managed to delude Adam and Eve and countless others in similar fashion, but He was unable to deceive Jesus.
4:14 be fulfilled. The prophecy spoken of in Matthew 4:15-16 is found in Isaiah 9:1-2, which provides the background of the tremendous prophecy of the name of Emmanuel—“Wonderful Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Much of Jesus’ early teaching ministry was carried out in Galilee, especially Capernaum, and at least His first six disciples came from there (Matthew 4:18-22; also John 1:35-51).
4:20 straightway. The immediate response of Peter and Andrew is probably explained by their earlier experience following John the Baptist and then their encounter with Jesus. See John 1:35-42.
4:23 gospel of the kingdom. This is the first mention of “gospel” in the New Testament. It is significant that this beginning of the gospel looks forward to the future kingdom, when Christ will finally be acknowledged as King of kings. Compare with the final mention of “gospel” (Revelation 14:6-7), which looks back to the creation. The gospel (good news) of Christ thus embraces all aspects—past, present, future—of His great work, from creation to consummation. The central focus of the gospel (see I Corinthians 15:1-4) is on the substitutionary death of our Creator for our sins, followed by His burial, and then His glorious victory over sin and death by His bodily resurrection.
4:24 lunatick. There is a definite difference between demon possession and lunacy (or mental illness, as it is called today). Modern naturalists deny the existence of demons, attributing so-called demon possession to some form of psychological disturbance. The Bible recognizes both types of problems, however, and so did Jesus. Furthermore, He was able with just a word to cast out demons and also to cure those who were “lunatics” (a generic term that could apply to any type of mental sickness), as well as “all manner of disease.” This was a shadow of His coming eternal kingdom, when there will be no more pain or sickness (Revelation 21:4-5).