Matthew: Chapter 4 Footnotes
4:1-11 Jesus was proclaimed Son of God at his baptism. He is now called upon to display the character of true sonship, obedience. He does this by resisting Satan's three attempts at temptation: the first two are subtle, the third overt. Matthew and Luke tell almost identical tales, likely having drawn upon the same source. While the historicity of the event is not doubted, one can note that the relaying of it to us "thus represents a narrative midrash or interpretation of the event in such a way as to make it pastorally useful for believers." (1, p.639)
4:2 Forty days and forty nights is intended to recall the forty years of Israel wandering in the desert, as well as the forty nights of Moses and Elijah.
4:5-7 The devil attempts to use scripture to support his temptation, but Jesus answers with scripture to refute the temptation.
4:8 The devil offers all the kingdoms of the world and their glory/magnificence. We should note Jesus' refusal of this (outer spender and wealth) and his choice instead to be faithful to God.
4:11 Angels come to aid Jesus like they did with Elijah.
4:12-17 Zebulun and Naphtali are a fulfillment of Isaiah 8:23-9:1 (though one should note that Capernaum is actually only in Naphtali). "Galilee of the Gentiles" meant "the circle of the Gentiles," i.e. encircled by Gentiles- Galilee was by Matthew's day at least half Gentile in population, half pagan, and bilingual.
4:17 Jesus takes up the message of John of the Baptist, "the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
4:18 We see Simon with his original name, but Matthew also tells of his future renaming as Peter, upon whom the rock is built.
4:18-22 The call of the first disciples requires them to abandon their way of life and go with Jesus. As with the temptation, we can interpret (if we wish) that there might have been some slight time delay while the disciples talked to Jesus/spiritually grew and realized they should follow.
4:24 The phrase "gospel of the kingdom" is unique to Matthew, and occurs three times.
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Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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