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Matthew 4 Reading Guide


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Chapter Summary

  • v1-11 - We've been noticing in our Sunday morning and evening sermons about the importance of being part of a local church. One of the key reasons it's so important is that God designed us to live in community.

  • Jesus purposely removes Himself from community in order to undergo temptation. Understand that temptation is much more dangerous, both for Jesus and for you, when you're "in the wilderness (v1)."

  • Notice the words with which Jesus rebuffs all three of Satan's temptations:

  • "It is written (v3, v7, v10)."

  • Even though Jesus is alone in the wilderness, He's still fully anchored in the truth of scripture, and can therefore fend off the lies of the devil.

  • If Jesus could count on scripture to strengthen Him when He had no other strength (he had not eaten in 40 days), you can count on it to strengthen you against temptation as well!

  • Satan recognizes Jesus' dependence upon scripture and tries to use it against Him by quoting Psalm 91 in v6.

  • Understand that as important as what it is to read and be familiar with the Bible, it's just as vitally important to properly understand what the scriptures mean.

  • Just because someone quotes a Bible verse, like Satan does here, doesn't mean the truth is on their side.

  • This is why it's important for you to read large chunks of the Bible, rather than just a verse or two at a time, so that you understand the context.

  • The more you read the Bible, the more you'll be able to trust your instinct when it seems like somebody is making a far out claim by misusing a Bible verse. When it just doesn't seem right to you, it probably isn't.

  • v12-17 - Oftentimes it's easy to just skip over geographical descriptions like this passage, but it's important to understand just how remote the areas Jesus lived in were, and how Jesus moved between Jewish and Gentile regions. This atlas will help.

  • Already, things seem to be going off the rails for Jesus' fledgling ministry. His cousin John the Baptist has been thrown in prison for calling out King Herod's moral indiscretions.

  • Yet it's in this context that the gospel (good news) really begins: Jesus announces that the Kingdom of Heaven has come near (v17)."

  • v18-25 - Jesus makes a huge demand of the first disciples He called. He told them to drop what they're doing - earning a living with very expensive fishing nets - and follow Him. They don't even ask Him where; they just do it. Immediately. Imagine how Zebedee felt when his sons and business partners just walked away. What is Jesus calling you to do? What do you need to drop to follow Him - right now, not later?



OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:

See how many similarities you can find between Jesus' temptation and Moses' encounter with God on behalf of Israel:


Deuteronomy 9:9–10 (NIV)


When I went up on the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the Lord had made with you, I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water. The Lord gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God. On them were all the commandments the Lord proclaimed to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the assembly.



Discuss:

Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:

  1. EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: How many days and nights did Jesus fast in the desert before the devil came to tempt Him? (See verse 2.)

  2. What in this chapter do you think might be the most interesting to someone who was learning about Jesus Christ for the first time?


Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father who is the one and only God and therefore the only one we are to worship and serve (v10)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that your life will be so embedded in God's Word that you will be able to instantly recognize and rebuff temptation as Jesus did.

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:


 

As we've gone through the book of Revelation, we've been concentrating on the main message, which is that we can have No Fear for the Future because Jesus has been, is now, and will be victorious. ​ But there are certainly lots of confusing details, and we can't cover everything in our morning sermons, so on October 17 in our 6 PM evening service, we'll discuss the questions you have. ​ Let Pastor Chad know if there's a particular verse, image, or idea that you'd like more insight on. The best way to submit your questions is by using the form below:



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