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Matthew Chapter Four


I. Content of the Chapter


I. The King was Tempted

A. The motivation of the temptations ------the guidance of the Holy Spirit (v.1).

  B. The first temptation ------to command that stones become bread (v.2-4).

  C. The second temptation ------to throw down on the pinnacle of the temple (v.5-7).

  D. The third temptation ------to worship the devil to obtain all the kingdoms of the world and their glory (v.8-10).

  E. The consequence of the temptations ------the devil left Him and angels came and minister Him (v.11).


II. The King Started His Ministry

   A. He preached in Galilee (v.12-16).

   B. He called four disciples (v.17-22).

   C. He taught, preached the gospel of kingdom, healed sickness and cast out demons (v.23-25).


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Matt. 4:1 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

   YLT: “Then Jesus was led up to the wilderness by the Spirit, to be tempted by the Devil,

   Meaning of Words: “devil”: the plunderer, false accuser and slanderer; “tempt”: test.

   Literal Meaning: “then” was the time Jesus departed from the Jordan after He had been baptized and got praise from God the Father (Luke. 4:1).

  “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness.” The Spirit firstly descended upon Him and filled Him, and then led him (Luke. 3:22, 4:1).

  “To be tempted by the devil.” The Lord was tempted by the guidance of the Spirit. Therefore, it could be explained that God, on His initiative, proved the overcoming of Jesus who is worthy to be the king of heaven through the temptations of the devil.

   Spiritual Meaning: After the Israel had left Egypt, they had been humbled and proved by Jehovah their God forty years in the wilderness, declaring that they were God’s elect and they would keep God’s commandments (Deut. 8:1-5). The Lord Jesus was baptized as Israel passed through the Red sea. The Lord had fasted forty days and forty nights (v.2) as Israel had lived forty years in the wilderness. The Lord took the initiative to be tempted of the devil as Israel were humbled and proved by God. All these purposely show that the Lord Jesus is the true Israel and the beloved son of God (Matt. 3:17).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When we achieve our spiritual peak, the valley of test is always waiting for us. Take heed that the present success could not assure the success all the time.

2) The guidance of the Spirit shows that Christ was not tested passively. He took the initiative to consume all the power and doings of the enemy firstly and then followed up the victory.

3) The Spirit took the initiative to lead Jesus to be tempted of the devil, showing that the Lord first bound the strong and then plunder the goods (Matt. 12:29). By this way the Lord could save the world that lied in the devil originally.

4) The Lord was full of the Spirit at first (Luke. 4:1) and then fought against the devil. Only being full of the Holy Spirit and guided by the Holy Spirit, can one win in spiritual battles.

5) The Lord was tempted by the guidance of the Spirit. It showed that the temptation was from God. Usually, God puts us in temptations to test our hearts towards God.

6) If we live by the Spirit, let us walk also by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25).

7) For, in that himself has suffered, being tempted, the Lord is able to help those that are being tempted (Her. 2:17-18). His reaction towards temptations is an example to believers being tempted.

8) The Lord was tempted in the wilderness. In difficult and helpless condition without any enjoyment, the devil comes to induce us to compromise with him for enjoyment. 

9) What the devil does is just like what his name means: he on one hand accuses us before God (Rev. 12:9-10), on the other hand he slanders us before men.


Matt. 4:2 “And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.

   YLT: “and having fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he did hunger.

   Meaning of Words: “fast”: to abstain from food; “afterwards”: at a later time.

   The Background: Moses and Elijah had abstained from food and water for forty days (Exod. 34:28, 1Kings. 19:8). They were the type of the Lord to show that the Lord is God’s servant and prophet (Heb. 3:5, Matt. 16:14).

Literal Meaning: “fast”: give up the reasonable enjoyment of the flesh.

  “Forty days and nights” shows that the fasting had lasted forty days and nights.

  “He was hungry.” It shows that the flesh was in need of food.

  Note that this verse shows that Jesus was hungry after the fasting instead of during the fasting. From this we could see the meaning of fasting. One fasts because he is full of burden in his heart so that he neglects the need of his body. During this period, he stays in the spiritual state and his spirit concentrates on spiritual things, neglecting the need of food and drink, until the burden is unloaded. Prayer and fasting often goes together. (Luke. 2:37, Acts. 14:23)

   Spiritual Meaning: in the Holy Bible, the number “forty” represents sufferings and trials.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) Fasting has connection with pray. Prayer and fasting always enable us to overcome the temptations of the devil (Matt. 17:21).

         2) Fasting is to afflict the soul (see Is. 58:3) and to overlook the need of the flesh. Those who truly work with the Lord should mind the things of the Lord and put down the needs of the flesh.

    3) No matter how spiritually great one is, he unavoidably has the needs of the flesh. What matters is how we react to the needs. Do we regard the will of God important? Or our needs?


Matt. 4:3 “Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’”

   YLT: “And the Tempter having come to him said, `If Son thou art of God -- speak that these stones may become loaves.'

   Meaning of Words: “If”: forasmuch as (showing the real situation instead of the hypothetical one)

   Literal Meaning: “the tempter”: another name of the devil (v.1)

  “Came to Him” shows that the devil had already watched him around and waited for an appropriate opportunity to come to Him.

  “If You are the Son of God.” The devil did not question whether the Lord Jesus is the Son of God. He intended to tempt Him to stand in the position of Son of God instead of the son of man.

  “Command that these stones become bread.” It means to use God’s mighty power to satisfy needs of the flesh. In this way, He would not experience the suffering as a man. The evil intention of the devil is to make Jesus only be concerned about His needs instead of the will of God.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) When the Lord was hungry, the tempter came. When we are in difficulty or in need, the temptations of the devil always come to induce us to turn away from God and solve the problem by ourselves.

         2) The kingdom of heaven brings men back to the reign of God and enables men to obey God. The authority of darkness makes men abandon God and satisfy himself rather than God.

3) The temptations of the devil induce Christians to use the adoption (the Son of God) and power that are received from God to work for them ------to hold gain to be piety (1Tim. 6:5).

4) “If…” The devil always makes us doubt spiritual things.

5) We, when in difficulty, are often tempted by the devil to doubt God, faith and the adoption, holding that if it is not true, how should we suffer so many afflictions?

6) The artifice of the devil is to tempt us to compromise with the world, to change the difficult situations (“stones”) into satisfied and comfortable ones for needs of the flesh (“bread”).

7) “Stones become bread” is to change the circumstances. The circumstance is very difficult because there are stones all around. Once the circumstances are changed, there will be enjoyment. If someone gives up serving the Lord and returns to serve the world, he will own worldly enjoyment. 

8) “Stones become bread.” The believers are living stones (1Pet. 2:5) to build God’s temple. However, if they seek for the world, they will become earthly man and may be devoured by the devil (see Gen. 3:14. 1Pet. 5:8).

9) The devil often tempts to draw all our concern to the material needs of the flesh so that we may neglect the spiritual needs. That’s the reason why many believers fail.


Matt. 4:4 But He answered and said,It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'

   YLT: “But he answering said, `It hath been written, Not upon bread alone doth man live, but upon every word coming forth from the mouth of God.'

   Meaning of Words: “word”: seasonable word, word in need (rhema in the original is different from logos which means objective words).

   Literal Meaning: “Man shall not live by bread alone” The Lord did not say that “man shall not need bread” but “not live by bread alone”. He held the importance of bread to men’s living.

  “But by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Just like the Israel received manna as food in the wilderness by relying on the word (promise) of God (Deut. 8:3), man shall live by every word of God.

   Spiritual Meaning: on one hand, the word of God means spiritual food (Jer. 15:16). Man shall live concerning not only the needs of the flesh but also spiritual needs. On other hand, the word of God means the will of God (2Tim. 3:16). Man shall not live for the needs of life. Man shall live for the will of God.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) Satan wanted the Lord Jesus to do His work, standing in the position of Son of God (v.3). But the Lord coped with Satan, standing in the position of Son of Man all the time (“man shall live…”), and completely conquered him.

         2) The Lord used God’s word (“it is written”) to withstand Satan. God’s word is the useful weapon in spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:17). In order to conquer the enemy we have to use God’s word. 

3) Anyone who lives by bread alone rather than by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God does not live in the reality of the kingdom of heaven.

4) A man serving the Lord should live by the word of God in the needs of living. Only in this way can’t he serve the mammon.

5) The words printed in the Holy Bible are to common people and objective (logos). Only when they become subjective and seasonable words (rhema) to us, they will work operatively in us.

6) The Lord Jesus did not command the stones to become bread because he was unwilling to do it instead that he was unable to do it. What’s important to those who serve the Lord is that: if they do not have the word of God, they are unwilling to do anything though they are able to do it. And what they can do is not important.

7) The first Adam failed in bread (Gen. 3:11-12) and the second Adam conquered in the food.

8) The demarcation between overcoming and failure of believers is that whether the spirit dominates the flesh.


Matt. 4:5 “Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,

   YLT: “Then doth the Devil take him to the city, and doth set him on the pinnacle of the temple,

   Meaning of Words: “took Him up into”: led His way aside; “the pinnacle of the temple”: the wing of the temple.

   Literal Meaning: “the holy city”: the city of Jerusalem;

  “The pinnacle of the temple”: the corner extending from the roof of the temple (according to the southeast corner on the roof of the temple, the pinnacle is about several hundreds of feet high and below it is the Kidron Valley)

   Spiritual Meaning: “the holy city” is the place where God’s people worship and serve God (John. 4:20). Therefore the devil brought Jesus to the holy city to tempt Him in the role of religion.

  “Pinnacle of the temple” symbolizes the high fame and status in the world of religion.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) Though many people conquer the lust of the flesh------giving up the enjoyment of food and drink, they can not conquer the pride of life------the desire to become outstanding.

         2) Unexpectedly, the devil had his place in the holy city and the holy temple where originally men worship God. The devil, always hiding himself in the assembly (Rev.2:13), dominates the believers to harm God’s witness and humiliate God’s name.

    3) Though many people could give up their future in the world, they could not give up the status and glory in the world of religion. The vain glory in the assembly (Pill. 2:3) always becomes the snare to fervent believers.


Matt. 4:6 “and said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone."'

YLT: “and saith to him, `If Son thou art of God -- cast thyself down, for it hath been written, that, His messengers He shall charge concerning thee, and on hands they shall bear thee up, that thou mayest not dash on a stone thy foot.'

   Literal Meaning: “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down.” The evil intention of the devil was to tempt Jesus to test God’s faithfulness (whether God would protect Him) and show off His outstanding power (to draw men’s attention).

  “For it is written.” In the first temptation, the Lord had emphasized the importance of relying on God’s word (v.4). Therefore, the devil attempted to use God’s word to deal with the Lord. He garbled the Bible (see Ps. 91:11-12), not expressing the original meaning of the Bible.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) Today, many people in heresies who profess to be Christians, have learned the tricks of the devil, using the Bible to go along with their own views to confuse the ignorant.

         2) While reading the Bible, we should pay attention to the context and consider the quintessence of the whole Bible, cutting in a straight line the word of truth (2Tim. 2:15). If not, one may be easily misled.

3) God will protect us when we walk in normal way. If we purposely throw down (for example, we intentionally enter into sinful places), God would not protect us.

4) The devil always induces men to throw down such as: committing suicide by jumping from the building, into the sea and from the train, falling down, depressed in spirit, in reading the Bible and in meetings.

5) If a believer in the assembly wants to show off his abilities (such as eloquence, the ability to solve problems and spiritual gifts) to gain others’ admiration, he is duped by the devil.


Matt. 4:7 “Jesus said to him, It is written again, You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’”

   YLT: “Jesus said to him again, `It hath been written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.'

   Literal Meaning: “it is written again.” It shows that the meaning of the Bible should not be interpreted only by one sentence of the Bible. The meaning should also accord with other sentences in the Bible.

  “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” “Tempting the God”: one purposely puts himself in a situation to see whether God helps him. This behavior, with the intention of forcing God to protect us, is a challenge to God.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) Facing those who use the Bible incorrectly, we should learn from the Lord Jesus to discern what they have said with other sentences of the Bible. Therefore, we should let the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom, lest we are deceived (Col. 3:16).

         2) The reason why the Lord did not throw down is that He stood in the position of obedience and did nothing until God had commanded Him, not that He was unable to do it.

3) We should trust and obey God and never tempt Him. Tempting God shows our doubt on His love and power.

4) In verse three Satan used God’s word to ask the Lord to do it. Satan thought it was trusting God, however, the Lord said it was tempting the Lord. Trusting God is that God had spoken at first and then we do it upon what He had spoken. Tempting God is that God had not spoken and we use the word of the Bible to force God to be responsible for it.


Matt. 4:8 “Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

   YLT: “Again doth the Devil take him to a very high mount, and doth shew to him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them,

   Literal Meaning: Actually, none of the mountains in the world is so high that standing upon which one could see all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. Therefore, there are two explanations about this verse. One is that: the devil took Him up on a high mountain. Looking far around, the Lord could see the cities and villages at the foot of the mountain. Thus, the Lord could have a taste of all the kingdoms of the world and their glory (Gen. 13:10). The other is that the devil used its supernatural power to show Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) The glory of the world is of earth and it will make men look down from higher levels and fall down.

         2) Believers should life up their eyes unto God (Ps. 121:1-2), i.e. look steadfastly on Jesus the leader and completer of our faith (Heb. 12:2).


Matt. 4:9 “And he said to Him, All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’”

   YLT: “and saith to him, All these to thee I will give, if falling down thou mayest bow to me.’”

   Literal Meaning: “You will fall down and worship me” It means to submit to someone as common people to the king.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) The ultimate purpose of the devil’s temptation is to usurp God’s status in men’s hearts and steal the worship to God.

         2) In the universe, only the Lord and God deserve worship. The worship to anyone else, even to angels (Col. 2:18) or God’s servants (Acts. 14:11-18) is lawless and ultimately belongs to the devil for it is made by the cheat of the devil.

3) All the kingdoms of the world and their glory belong to the devil (Luke. 4:6) and are the weapons used by the devil to deceive men. If our hearts turn to the vain glories of the world, we are unconsciously worshiping the devil.

4) Satan is willing to give up all the kingdoms of the world and their glory to gain men’s worship. Today, many leaders in the assembly share their status and wealth with the aim of gaining others’ allegiance.


Matt. 4:10 “Then Jesus said to him, Away with you, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

   YLT: “Then saith Jesus to him, `Go -- Adversary, for it hath been written, The Lord thy God thou shalt bow to, and Him only thou shalt serve.'

   Meaning of Words: “Satan”: to withstand, the enemy, the opponent.

   Literal Meaning: “Away with you, Satan!” means “Go away! Stop your futility!”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) “Away with you, Satan!” The temptation of Satan only works with deceit. The moment we notice that it is of Satan, point it out and rebuke Satan, the temptation will be of no effect.

         2) The temptation of the devil is using the glory of the kingdoms of the world to tempt men’s hearts to seek and serve the things besides God. By this Satan withstands (the meaning of Satan) God.

3) The Lord used the word of God (“it is written”) three times to conquer the temptations of the devil. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17) and all-conquering.

4) “You shall worship the LORD your God.” God is so jealous that He could not bear any other worship besides Him. God is jealous.

5) Worship is the central point that Satan tries its best to usurp from God. If our worship is not only to God, we have already fallen into the principle of Satan. Be attentive!

6) Looking upon God only, regarding God the most precious and worshiping Him only will enable us to conquer the blindness and deceit of the lust to the world.

7) “Him only you shall serve.” One can not serve two masters. If one wants to serve God, first he should devote himself to God completely. When we preserve ourselves in devotion, we are probably serving two masters------God and mammon (Matt. 6:24).


Matt. 4:11 “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

   YLT: “Then doth the Devil leave him, and lo, messengers came and were ministering to him.

   Literal Meaning: “angels came and ministered to Him” Angels are all ministering spirits, sent out for service on account of those who shall inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

        1) No matter what kind of temptations the devil used to tempt the Lord, He had conquered ultimately. He is king of victory. We can conquer the temptations of the devil only when we abide in Christ.

         2) If we want to conquer the earthly temptations, we should live in heavenly sphere and accept the heavenly care, support and supply (“angels came and ministered…”).

    3) Every saint can enjoy angels’ ministry. When we are in trouble, we should pray God to open our eyes to see that angels have encamped round us and protect us (Ps. 34:7, 2Kings. 6:17).


Matt. 4:12 “Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee.

   YLT: “And Jesus having heard that John was delivered up, did withdraw to Galilee,

   Meaning of Words: “departed to”: go to, return to.

  The Background: John the Baptist was put in prison because he criticized that Herod the king should not marry Herodias the wife of Philip his brother (Matt. 14:3-4).

Literal Meaning: “Jesus heard that…, He departed to…” Jesus preached and baptized originally at the land of Jordan (John. 3:22-24). The moment He heard the information that John was put in prison, He departed to Galilee from Jordan.

   Spiritual Meaning: “He departed to Galilee.” Galilee, inhabited by Gentiles (see v.15) was despised by the Jews. Therefore, Galilee symbolizes the gentile world. The work of the Lord was forced to start from Galilee, showing the rejection of the Jews to the grace of the Lord forced Him to switch His grace to gentile sinners.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) John the Baptist was the introducer of the Lord Jesus. When the one being introduced started His work publicly, the introducer should retreat and not compete with Him. Unfortunately, John the Baptist had not noticed this and therefore God raised a circumstance to put him in prison.

         2) “Been put in prison” means that one is constrained and has no freedom. The witness of the Lord should give the priority to the will of God and always has no freedom.

3) We should learn from the example of the Lord Jesus: wait and look upon God’s guidance, and then we shall be revealed in the Spirit where to go and how to do.

4) But God has chosen the foolish things, the weak things, the ignoble things of the word, all the things that are despised and things that are not (just like Galilee being despised by the Jews), so that no believers should boast before God (1Cor. 1:27-29).


Matt. 4:13 “And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,

   YLT: “and having left Nazareth, having come, he dwelt at Capernaum that is by the sea, in the borders of Zebulun and Naphtalim,

   Literal Meaning: “He came and dwelt in Capernaum.” “Capernaum”, located in the north of the Sea of Galilee, is the hometown of Matthew, the author of this book.

  “He dwelt in Capernaum.” There was a period of time when Jesus preached and dwelt in Capernaum. (Matt. 9:1, 11:23)

  “Which is by the sea.” It means that Capernaum was near the sea. Actually Galilee was a small freshwater lake with other names as the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke. 5:1), the Sea of Tiberias (John. 21:1) and the Lake of Chinnereth (Num. 34:11).

  “In the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali.” Zebulun lies in the southwest and Naphtali lies in the northwest of the Sea of Galilee. They are near to Capernaum. Therefore it is in the reigns of Zebulun and Naphtali.


Matt. 4:14 “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

   YLT: “that it might be fulfilled that was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,

   Literal Meaning: the word in verse 15 and 16 is the prophet predicted by Isaiah about the Messiah (Isa. 9:1-7).


Matt. 4:15The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles:

   YLT: “`Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations! –

   Meaning of Words: “Gentiles”: nations besides the Jews.

   The Background: “the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali” were the lots to the two tribes (Josh. 19:10-16, 32-39). In the time of Jesus, the boundary of these two lands was unclear and known in the area of Galilee. Jacob predicted before his death that Zebulun would dwell at the shore of the seas (Gen. 49:13) and Naphtali was a hind let loose and He gave goodly words (Gen. 49:21). The prophets were all fulfilled. In this place the Lord Jesus started to preach which is to give goodly words.

Literal Meaning: “Beyond the Jordan.” Jordan runs into the Dead Sea from north to south. Generally, “beyond the Jordan” was mentioned as the vast land in the east of Jordan. But according to this verse, it was mentioned as the vast land in the northwest of Jordan from the view of Assyria.


Matt. 4:16 “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.’”

   YLT: “the people that is sitting in darkness saw a great light, and to those sitting in a region and shadow of death -- light arose to them.'

   Literal Meaning: “the people who sat in darkness” are those whose thoughts were blinded by Satan (2Cor. 4:4) so that they did not know God and did not know themselves.

  “Those who sat in the region and shadow of death” were people living under the shadow of death.

  “Seen a great light…Light has dawned.” The Light is Christ Himself (John. 1:4, 9; 9:5). The Lord had come, i.e. the Light had come and He is the glad tidings to those who are in darkness. The Lord had come, as the dayspring on high had visited us, to shine upon them who were sitting in darkness and in shadow of death, to guide our feet into way of peace (Luke. 1:79).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) Anyone does not know the will of God and his own state, his heart is laid over by the veil. Until his heart turns to the Lord, the veil will be taken away (2Cor. 3:16).

         2) Satan not only makes men in darkness but also makes men feel dead and depressed (shadow of death). 

3) We are the light of the world. We should let our light shine before men, so that they may glorify your Father who is in the heavens (Matt. 5: 14-16).

4) The light is the fountain of the life and the light brings the life. Where there is no light, it is filled with death.


Matt. 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”

   YLT: “From that time began Jesus to proclaim and to say, `Reform ye, for come nigh hath the reign of the heavens.'

   Literal Meaning: before that time, Jesus had already started his preaching in the land of Judea (see the notes in v.12). Matthew arranged this book in the view of sayings of the Lord. Therefore, he may purposely omit the period in which Jesus worked in simultaneous time with John the Baptist (John. 3:22-26). In this verse it was the beginning of the official work of the Lord Jesus. Therefore, “from that time” means the beginning of the preaching of the Lord Jesus. 

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) John who preached the glad tidings of the kingdom of heave was put in prison. But the Lord departed to Galilee to preach the same information. The enemy could bind those who preach the information up and he could never withstand the information of God.

         2) If the information we preach is truly from the Lord, we may pass away but the information remains.


Matt. 4:18 “And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.

   YLT: “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon named Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a drag into the sea -- for they were fishers –

   Meaning of Words: “Peter”: rock; “Simon”: listener; “Andrew”: strong, masculine.

   Spiritual Meaning: “casting a net into the sea.” “sea” symbolizes the world; “casting a net” symbolizes preaching the glad tidings cooperatively in the assembly.


Matt. 4:19 “Then He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”

   YLT: “and he sith to them, `Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men,'

   Literal Meaning: Peter and Andrew had already followed the Lord Jesus long ago (John. 1:40-42) and returned to make a living by fishing. Now the Lord called them the second time to give up their career and preach as fishers of men.

  “Follow Me”: come and become my disciples. In ancient times, rabbi received disciples and taught them doctrines. Wherever the rabbi went, his disciples would follow him and live with him to learn from rabbi’s life.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) If there are no citizens, there will be no kingdom. “Men” are the key elements of the kingdom of heaven. The object of the work of the Lord is people and He will make men the citizens of the kingdom of heaven.

         2) What men want is fishes------the earthly wealth and what God wants is men------to whom God shows His grace. Those who follow the Lord should give up fishes to gain men for the Lord and at first he should be gained by the Lord.

3) If we hold fast Christ and follow in His steps (“follow me”), we will draw more people to follow Him (as “fishers of men”).

4) After the four fishermen were called, they did not change their profession and kept what they did before. However, their nets and aims were changed and they became fishers of men. What one had learnt before he was called was of effect. After he was called he should bring them to the Lord and the Lord would use them anew.

5) It is the second time that the Lord called them. They were saved by the first calling of the Lord (John. 1:35-42). They were called to be fishers of men by the second one. One should be saved at first and then he can be called to gain men.


Matt. 4:20 “They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

   YLT: “and they, immediately, having left the nets, did follow him.

Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) The Lord Himself draws men to follow Him (John. 12:33). The moment the Lord calls men, they give up everything and follow Him.

         2) Draw me, we will run after Him! (S. of Sol 1:4)

     3) We have to give up at first and then follow the Lord. Anyone who is not willing to give up for the Lord is not worthy to be His disciples.


Matt. 4:21 “Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them,

   YLT: “And having advanced thence, he saw other two brothers, James of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, refitting their nets, and he called them,

   The Background: Salome, mother of Jacob and John, was the sister of Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus (Mark. 15:40, John. 19:25). Therefore, they were cousins of the Lord Jesus. Their father Zebedee may be very rich and have high social position. Therefore they were affordable to hire servants (Mark. 1:20) and his son John was familiar the high priest (John. 18:15).

   Literal Meaning: “mending the nets” includes washing and mending the nets, and hanging the nets up to dry it for the fishing next day.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) The Lord kept “going on” and kept doing. How urgent He is to gain men!

         2) When being called, John was mending nets. Then his main work in the assembly (“boat”) was mending the breaches and leaks to guard against the invasion of heresy (see 1John, 2John, 3John).


Matt. 4:22 “and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

   YLT: “and they, immediately, having left the boat and their father, did follow him.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) A Christian should have absolute attitude to follow the Lord at any price. But only when the Lord calls us personally, we could follow Him at any price.

         2) If the Lord indeed calls us, we should not hold the former status (“boat”) and relationship (“father”).

    3) The one who does not know the Lord refuses the Lord. The one who knows the Lord is unable to refuse the Lord------if we indeed know the preciousness of the Lord, the color of the world will fade.


Matt. 4:23 “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

   YLT: “And Jesus was going about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the reign, and healing every disease, and every malady among the people,

   Meaning of Words: “gospel”: glad tidings.

   Literal Meaning: “teaching in their synagogues”. “Synagogue” came into being after the Jews were carried away captive to Babylon. There was no holy temple in foreign countries. The Jews wanted to gather together to worship God and listen to the word of God and then synagogue emerged as the time required. When the Lord started to preach, He taught people in synagogue because there were many people there.

   Spiritual Meaning: it is seen from the words said by the Lord Jesus towards many sick people that many diseases are caused by sins (Matt. 9:2, John. 5:14, etc.). Therefore, healing diseases symbolizes forgiving sins and dealing with sin.


Matt. 4:24 “Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.”

   YLT: “and his fame went forth to all Syria, and they brought to him all having ailments, pressed with manifold sicknesses and pains, and demoniacs, and lunatics, and paralytics, and he healed them.

 Literal Meaning: Syria”, located in the north of Galilee, was near to Galilee.

  “All sick people” Here it is to sum up “all kinds of sickness” below (v.23):

     1) “Various diseases”------mainly internal diseases;

     2) “Torments”------mainly surgical diseases;

     3) “Those who were demon-possessed”------spiritual diseases;

     4) “Epileptics”------disease caused by uncontrollable nervous system;

     5) “Paralytics”------disease that one is unable to move with numb limbs.

Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) The Lord conquered the devil at first (v.1-11) and therefore He could cast out demons and healed diseases (diseases caused by demons). The Lord conquered the leader first and then the gang would collapse.

         2) The world lies in the wicked (1John. 5:19) and is manipulated by the wicked. Thank the Lord! He has saved us from the hand of the wicked and took away various kinds of sufferings of our life.


Matt. 4:25 “Great multitudes followed Him--from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.”

  YLT: “And there followed him many multitudes from Galilee, and Decapolis, and Jerusalem, and Judea, and beyond the Jordan.

   Meaning of Words: Decapolis”: the ten-city region.

   Literal Meaning: “Decapolis”: the vast land in the east of the Sea of Galilee. There were ten cities there built by the Greek. Decapolis was inhabited by Gentile and many pagan temples stood there.

Enlightenment in the Word:

         1) Once Christ shows His abundance (teachings, preaching, healing diseases and casting out demons), He will draw all to follow Him.

         2) Though many people followed the Lord, few of them truly know the Lord (John. 6:66).


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The Comparison of Two Adams (v.2-4)        

I. The first Adam failed in bread and the last Adam succeeded in hunger.

II. God’s word was negligent to the first Adam but precious to the last Adam.

III. The first Adam sinned against God because of bread and the last Adam enjoyed spiritual food by God’s word.

IV. The first Adam ate to “be as God” (Gen. 3:5) and the last Adam did not eat to keep the position of Son of Man.


Christ Had Overcome the Temptations of the Devil

I. The cause of His overcoming (v.1) ------He was guided by the Holy Spirit.

II. The first overcoming (v.2-4) ------He lived by the heavenly provision (by God’s word) which exceeds the earthly principle (by bread).

III. The second overcoming (v.5-7) ------He fully trusted in God and never tempt God.

IV. The third overcoming (v.8-10) ------He absolutely hold God as the one to worship and serve.

V. The consequence of His overcoming (v.11) ------the enemy left and heavenly favor came (angels came and ministered Him).


The Spiritual Principle of Three Temptations of the Devil (see 1John. 2:16)

I. Inciting the lust of the flesh------the enjoyment of food and drink (v.2-4)

II. Stirring up the pride of life------the outstanding performance (v.5-7)

III. Inducing the lust of the eyes------appreciation of earthly glory (v.8-10)


The Aspects concerned in the Three Temptations of the Devil

I. Concerning personal enjoyments ------what bread stands for (v.2-4)

II. Concerning the status and power in the role of religion ------what throwing down on the pinnacle of the temple stands for (v.5-7)

III. Concerning the possession in the world ------what all the kingdoms of the world and their glory stand for (v.8-10)


The Motivates behind the Three Temptations of the Devil

I. Inducing men to be concerned about the need of the flesh and ignore spiritual needs (v.2-4)

II. Inducing men to seek for fame and status in the role of religion and ignore the spiritual reality (v.5-7)

III. Inducing men to worship the devil unconsciously and ignore the worship and service to God (v.8-10)


Three Trials Believers are facing

I. The trial of living ------stressing on material or spiritual life (v.2-4)

II. The trial of way ------of men’s judgment or God’s commandment (v.5-7)

III. The trial of aim ------glorifying oneself or God (v.8-10)


Three Temptations

I. Temptation of faith------living by God’s word or by bread (v.2-4)

II. Temptation of hope------for God’s delight or men’s praise (v.5-7)

III. Temptation of love------loving God or things besides God (v.8-10)


The Example of the Ministry of the Lord

I. The aim of His ministry:

A. establishing the kingdom of heaven on earth (v.17)

B. gaining a group people to follow Him as citizens of the kingdom of heaven (v.19)

II. The content of His ministry:

A. preaching (v.17, 23)

B. healing diseases (v.23-24) ------dealing with sin

C. casting out demons (v.24) ------deal with Satan

III. The effect of His ministry:

A. shining as a great light (v.16)

B. drawing others as a magnet (v.20, 22, 25)


The Order of Serving the Lord Effectively

I. Being called

II. Giving up

III. Following the Lord

IV. Bearing abundant fruits (fishers of men)


How to Work the Works of the Lord Well

I. Two brothers (v.18, 21) ------serve the Lord cooperatively

II. Simon (v.18) ------“listen to” (the meaning of Simon) the Lord

III. Andrew (v.18) ------“strong” (the meaning of Andrew) in Spirit

IV. Casting a net into the sea (v.18) ------preaching glad tidings among flocks of men

V. Fishers of men (v.19) ------devoting skills which we used before to make a living to the Lord for His use

VI. Left their nets and followed Him (v.20) ------giving up living reliance and rely on God fully

VII. Left their father and followed Him (v.22) ------cut off worldly concern

VIII. Jacob (v.21) ------“closely follow” (the meaning of Jacob) the Lord

IX. John (v.21) ------use “God’s gifts” (the meaning of John) well

X. Mending their nets (v.21) ------mending tools of gaining men: improving the ways, words, attitudes and etc. to preach glad tidings.


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren