After Jesus was tested by Satan in the wilderness, he went to back to his childhood home of Nazareth, a city in Galilee. Assumedly, he must have visited his mother, Mary, his father, Joseph, his half-brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas as well as his unnamed half-sisters (Matthew 13:55-56). In years past Galilee had belonged to the Jews – the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali – but because they did not keep God’s laws he gave them over to Roman rule and it was now home to many Gentiles. It was situated alongside one of two of the most important highway trading routes from Egypt to Mesopotamia (Iraq, Syria and Turkey), a coastal route called the Way of the Sea. It was here that Jesus heard that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been put into prison. He then left Nazareth and went to Capernaum, which fulfilled a prophecy given to Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Matthew 4:16).
From that time on Jesus began his ministry to the Jews and Gentiles, preaching throughout the lands,“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
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Again in Matthew 4, Jesus had his final test against Satan in the wilderness. The Evil One took Jesus to the top of a very high mountain. They looked out over all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. The devil then said to Jesus,
“All these things will I give you, if you will go down on your face and give me worship.”
We learn from this two things: first, that the devil actually has power on earth to be able to offer the world to Jesus. Second, that he is depravedly arrogant to think that he could get Jesus to bow and worship him.
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Still in Matthew 4, Jesus was in the wilderness being tested by the devil. The devil took him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of Herod’s temple, which stood on the Temple Mount. The devil said to Jesus,
“If you are the Son of God throw yourself down. For it is written, [God] will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
It’s interesting to note that the devil knows what is written in the Bible and one of his tactics to lead people astray is to twist the intent of the God’s words against us.
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In Matthew 4 the story is told how Jesus felt the Holy Spirit urge him to go into the wilderness where he fasted for 40 days in preparation for a testing of the devil. Then the devil came to him in his very human state of hunger and weakness saying, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
This temptation occurred at the start of Jesus’ ministry. Since Jesus could have certainly turned the stones into bread as the devil suggested, or had a thousand angels come to his aide with whatever food he wanted, what is really going on in these verses? Why doesn’t Jesus make himself something to eat and be done with his fast?
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In this verse, John the Baptist was preaching in Judea and began baptizing new believers in the river Jordan, saying,
Truly, I give baptism with water to those of you whose hearts are changed; but he who comes after me is greater than I, whose shoes I am not good enough to take up; he will give you baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
The baptism of “water, Holy Spirit and fire.” is a fascinating topic. It is represented by and related to Moses’ Tabernacle, the Israelite’s portable holy place of worship where God interacted with them. It is also the proof that God exists, which so many people struggle over.
Read More “He Will Give You Baptism With the Holy Spirit and With Fire”