Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 3:11-4:11

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He who comes after me is mightier - Matthew 3:11

He who comes after me is mightier. Embodying his calling, John reminded his audience that even as a prophet (see Matt. 11:11) he is merely a messenger pointing to the one coming who is more than a prophet, God's own Son, Jesus. See WCF 27.3, 28.2; WLC 163, 177; WSC 91; BC 34; HC 69, 72.

Jesus' baptism - Matthew 3:13-17

An important part of Jesus' preparation for ministry as God's obedient Son, the model of one who does the will of God with a whole heart, was his submission to John's message of repentance and baptism. Through this act Jesus fulfills all righteousness, that is, he does God's will from the heart (Matt. 5:20; 12:50; 26:39). Jesus coming through the water of baptism and into the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11) also symbolizes and connects Jesus' story with the exodus and the calling of Israel, God's people, out of Egypt in the promised land (Exod. 6:13; Exod. 14:21-22; Hos. 11:1). See WCF 2.3, 8.4, 11.3; WLC 9, 38, 40; BC 8, 9, 10; HC 25.

This is my beloved Son – Matthew 3:17

"This is my beloved Son. I am very pleased with him". Jesus as God's Son is central to Matthew's description of who Jesus is (Matt. 17:5; 21:33-46; 27:54). In Matt. 12:18 the same language is used to describe Jesus as God's Servant in fulfillment of Isa. 42:1-4. The voice coming from the heavens (cf. "the kingdom of the heavens") indicates this was God speaking. God the Father loves and is fully pleased with Jesus as the wholehearted and obedient Son. Jesus' sonship served as the basis for the devil's temptations of Jesus in the following story (Matt. 4:1-11) and for his authoritative teaching and actions throughout the rest of the Gospel (Matt. 7:28; 8:9; 9:6-8; 10:1; 21:23-27; 28:18).

Temptation of Jesus - Matthew 4:1-11

Paralleling Israel's forty years of testing in the wilderness (Num. 14:34), Jesus experienced forty days and nights of temptation. The difference is that for Jesus this was not because of his disobedience (like Israel) and unlike Israel, Jesus did not test God, but completely trusted him. In each temptation Jesus quoted Scripture, revealing his trust in God. See WLC 48.

The Spirit - Matthew 4:1

The Spirit. The Spirit of God sent by the Father who descended on Jesus the Son at his baptism (Matt. 3:16) now lead Jesus from the waters of baptism into the dry wilderness as the final stage of preparation for Jesus' public ministry (Matt. 4:17).

To be tempted by the devil – Matthew 4:1

To be tempted by the devil. The word "tempted" (Grk. peirazō) can be translated as either "test, try" or "tempt." God tests people. The devil tempts people. The difference is in motive and goal. God tests people to refine and train them for their good (Deut. 8:2; Ps. 66:10; Heb. 12:5-11; Jam. 1:3, 13-17). The devil seeks to bring destruction and chaos into God's world (Gen. 3:1; John 13:2; 1 Cor. 7:5; 1 Pet. 5:8-9).

If you are the Son of God - Matthew 4:3

If you are the Son of God. The devil was not questioning or wondering whether Jesus is truly the Son of God (Mark 1:24). This has just been declared in Matt. 3:17. The devil was using that truth to tempt Jesus to use his divine rights as the Son outside of God's will and to take matters into his own hands rather than trust God fully as an obedient son.

Showed him all the kingdoms of the world - Matthew 4:8

Showed him all the kingdoms of the world. The devil tempted Jesus with glory and sovereignty over all the world without having to first go through suffering and death for the sins of God's people (Matt. 16:21). After Jesus successfully resisted this temptation he began offering to the world the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 4:17) and finally was given all glory and authority (Matt. 28:18-20; Phil. 2:5-11).

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