Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. ’”
We note that it was the Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. For disciples who are committed to obeying the Lord, temptations come only when allowed by the Spirit and for the purpose of teaching us to resist the enemy especially when we are physically weak as Jesus was after fasting for forty days. And the devil will leave us.
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. ’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test. ’”
The devil can tempt us to misinterpret and twist Scripture by taking it out of its larger context. He has been successful in doing this during these last days with the advent of various extreme teachings in the Church, for example cessationism, charismania, and prosperity teaching.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve. ’”
Some Christian leaders may have also given in to this third temptation, especially with the popularity of mega-churches during these last days. By teaching that God loves us and wants us to be rich and blessed in this world and by tickling the people with various forms of entertainment, we can draw huge crowds. In this way we can build our own little kingdoms in this world and live a life befitting a Hollywood celebrity. We can even enjoy sin. But since we are “the Lord’s anointed”, we are not to be touched.
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Temptations endure only for a season, and will end.
Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”
When his cousin John had been arrested (and later beheaded) for telling Herod to repent for taking his brother’s wife, Jesus left Nazareth. His time had not yet come. He had much work to do before going to the cross.
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
What was Jesus’ message? It was the same message that John preached—the message of repentance that ultimately resulted in his being put to death by Herod.
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And 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, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Then Jesus began to call his disciples to follow him. If we are to follow in his footsteps, we must also train the Lord’s disciples and not simply become superstars.
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
Finally, Jesus began teaching and preaching as well as healing the sick and demonized with great miraculous power. Because of the unprecedented miracles his fame spread widely. In such a way great crowds were drawn to him. And Jesus is the same today. Today Jesus continues to teach, to preach, to heal the sick and demonized through his trained disciples. In such a way great crowds are coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior in regions where the gospel had never previously been heard—as was the case in Galilee, Syria, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan in the time of Jesus.