Saturday, April 26, 2008

Role in Jesus' Baptism and Temptation

The Work of John the Baptist

Matthew 3

1About that time John the Baptist began preaching in the desert area of Judea.
2John said, “Change your hearts and lives because the kingdom of heaven is
near.” 3John the Baptist is the one Isaiah the prophet was talking about when he

“This is a voice of one

who calls out in the desert:

‘Prepare the way for the Lord.

Make the road straight for him.’”

Isaiah 40:3

4John’s clothes were made from camel’s hair, and he wore a leather belt
around his waist. For food, he ate locusts and wild honey. 5Many people came
from Jerusalem and Judea and all the area around the Jordan River to hear John.
6They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.

7Many of the Pharisees and Sadducees came to the place where John was
baptizing people. When John saw them, he said, “You are all snakes! Who
warned you to run away from God’s coming punishment? 8Do the things that
show you really have changed your hearts and lives. 9And don’t think you can
say to yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father.’ I tell you that God could make
children for Abraham from these rocks. 10The ax is now ready to cut down the
trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and
thrown into the fire.

11“I baptize you with water to show that your hearts and lives have changed.
But there is one coming after me who is greater than I am, whose sandals I am
not good enough to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12He
will come ready to clean the grain, separating the good grain from the chaff. He
will put the good part of the grain into his barn, but he will burn the chaff with a
fire that cannot be put out.”

Jesus Is Baptized by John

13At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River and wanted John
to baptize him. 14But John tried to stop him, saying, “Why do you come to me to
be baptized? I need to be baptized by you!”

15Jesus answered, “Let it be this way for now. We should do all things that
are God’s will.”
So John agreed to baptize Jesus.

16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then heaven
opened, and he saw God’s Spirit coming down on him like a dove. 17And a voice
from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with

The Temptation of Jesus

Matthew 4

1Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2Jesus ate
nothing for forty days and nights. After this, he was very hungry. 3The devil
came to Jesus to tempt him, saying, “If you are the Son of God, tell these rocks to
become bread.”

4Jesus answered, “It is written in the Scriptures, ‘A person does not live by
eating only bread, but by everything God says.’”

5Then the devil led Jesus to the holy city of Jerusalem and put him on a high
place of the Temple. 6The devil said, “If you are the Son of God, jump down,
because it is written in the Scriptures:

‘He has put his angels in charge of you.

They will catch you in their hands

so that you will not hit your foot on a rock.’”

Psalm 91:11-12

7Jesus answered him, “It also says in the Scriptures, ‘Do not test the Lord
your God.’”

8Then the devil led Jesus to the top of a very high mountain and showed him
all the kingdoms of the world and all their splendor. 9The devil said, “If you will
bow down and worship me, I will give you all these things.”

10Jesus said to the devil, “Go away from me, Satan! It is written in the
Scriptures, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”

The Holy Bible, New Century Version

Title: Vincents Word Studies Vol. 1: Synoptic Gospels

Author: Vincent, Marvin R.

As a dove (©óåß ðåñéóôåñNí)

In the form of a dove, and not, as some interpret, referring merely to the
manner of the descent—swiftly and gently as a dove (compare Luke 3:22 “In a
bodily form, as a dove
”). The dove was an ancient symbol of purity and
innocence, adopted by our Lord in Matthew 10:16. It was the only bird allowed
to be offered in sacrifice by the Levitical law. In Christian art it is the symbol of
the Holy Spirit, and that in his Old Testament manifestations as well as in those
of the New Testament. From a very early date the dove brooding over the waters
was the type of the opening words of Genesis. An odd fresco on the choir-walls
of the Cathedral of Monreale, near Palermo, represents a waste of waters, and
Christ above, leaning forward from the circle of heaven with extended arms.
From beneath him issues the divine ray along which the dove is descending upon
the waters. So Milton:

“Thou from the first

Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread

Dove-like sat’st brooding on the vast abyss

And mad’st it pregnant.”

In art, the double-headed dove is the peculiar attribute of the prophet Elisha.
A window in Lincoln College, Oxford, represents him with the double-headed
dove perched upon his shoulder. The symbol is explained by Elisha’s prayer that
a double portion of Elijah’s spirit might rest upon him.

It has been asserted that, among the Jews, the Holy Spirit was presented
under the symbol of a dove, and a passage is cited from the Talmud; “The Spirit
of God moved on the face of the waters like a dove.” Dr. Edersheim (“Life and
Times of Jesus the Messia”) vigorously contradicts this, and says that the passage
treats of the supposed distance between the upper and the lower waters, which
was only three finger-breadths. This is proved by Genesis 1:2, where the Spirit of
God is said to brood over the face of the waters, “just as a dove broodeth over her
young without touching them.” “Thus the comparison is not between the Spirit
and the dove, but between the closeness with which a dove broods over her
young without touching them, and the supposed proximity of the Spirit to the
lower waters without touching them.” He goes on to say that the dove was not the
symbol of the Holy Spirit, but of Israel. “If, therefore, rabbinic illustration of’ the
descent of the Holy Spirit with the visible appearance of a dove must be sought
for, it would lie in the acknowledgment of Jesus as the ideal typical Israelite, the
representative of his people.”

New Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Testament


1 Then—an indefinite note of sequence. But Mark’s word (1:12) fixes what
we should have presumed was meant, that it was “immediately” after his
baptism; and with this agrees the statement of Luke (4:1). was Jesus led up
i.e., from the low Jordan valley to some more elevated spot. of the spirit—the
Holy Spirit immediately before spoken of as descending upon him at his baptism
and abiding upon him. Luke, connecting these two scenes, as if the one were but
the sequel of the other, says, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan
and was led by the Spirit . . .” (4:1, NIV). Mark’s expression has a startling
sharpness about it—“Immediately the Spirit driveth him” (lit. “thrust him out”).
(See the same word in Matt. 9:25; 13:52; Mark 1:43; 5:40; John 10:4.) The
thought thus strongly expressed is the mighty constraining impulse of the Spirit
under which he went; while Matthew’s more gentle expression, “was led up,”
intimates how purely voluntary on his on part this action was. into the
—probably the wild Judean desert. The particular spot which tradition
has fixed upon has hence got the name of Quarantana or Quarantaria, from the
forty days. to be tempted—The Greek word  means simply to try
or make proof of; and when ascribed to God in his dealings with men, it means
and can mean no more than this. Thus, Genesis 22:1, “It came to pass that God
did tempt Abraham,” or put his faith to a severe proof. (See Deut. 8:2.) But for
the most part in Scripture the word is used in a bad sense and means to entice,
solicit, or provoke to sin. Hence the name here given to the wicked one—“the
tempter” (4:3). Accordingly, “to be tempted” here is to be understood both ways.
The Spirit conducted him into the wilderness simply to have his faith tried; but as
the agent in this trial was to be the wicked one, whose whole object would be to
seduce him from his allegiance to God, it was a temptation in the bad sense of the
term. Yet since he was God and could not sin in any way, whether by action,
word, or inner desire (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26), we must not think that the devil
could have succeeded in the temptation. The temptation, nevertheless, was real,
for Hebrews 4:15 says he was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was
without sin” (NIV and NIV Study Bible). Jesus took the position of man, as a
true human being, to defeat Satan (Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8). Satan tempted him to
leave that position and reassume only his divine office. Jesus resisted and thereby
defeated Satan for the sake of all humanity. Now, as a trustworthy high priest, he
can help all who are tempted (Heb. 2:18). There is an obvious parallel to Jesus’
success in overcoming the devil in contrast to Adam and Eve’s failure in resisting
the devil. But the connection between Jesus’ wilderness temptation and Israel’s
wilderness trial is even more noticeable. Each of Jesus’ retorts came from the
Scripture, specifically from Deuteronomy 6–8. In that part of Deuteronomy,
Moses recounted the wilderness trials and gracious provision of God. of the
—The word signifies a slanderer, an accuser—one who accuses another.
Hence that other name given him (Rev. 12:10): “The accuser of the brethren,
who accuseth them before our God day and night.” Mark (1:13), says “He was
forty days tempted of ,“ a word signifying an adversary, one who lies in
wait for, or sets himself in opposition to another. These and other names of the
same fallen spirit point to different features in his character or operations.

2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights—Luke says, “When
they were quite ended.” he was afterward an hungered—evidently implying
that the sensation of hunger was unfelt during all the forty days; coming on only
at their close. It was apparently so with Moses (Exod. 34:28) and Elijah (1 Kings
19:8) for the same period. A supernatural power of endurance was of course
imparted to the body, but this probably operated through a natural law—the
absorption of the Redeemer’s Spirit in the dread conflict with the tempter. (See
comments on Acts 9:9.) Had we only this Gospel, we should suppose the
temptation did not begin until after this. But it is clear, from Mark’s statement,
that “he was in the wilderness forty days tempted of Satan,” and Luke’s, “being
forty days tempted of the devil,” that there was a forty days’ temptation before
the three specific temptations afterwards recorded.

3 And when the tempter came to him—Evidently we do not have here a
new scene. he said, if thou be the Son of God—In the first two tests, Satan said,
“If you are the Son of God” not because he disbelieved Jesus’ divine sonship but
because he wanted Jesus to act in accordance with his divine prerogatives and
thereby fail to pass the test as a man. But the whole point of the test was for Jesus
to take a man’s position in submission to God and to thwart Satan’s attacks on
his humanity. command that these stones be made bread—rather, “loaves,”
answering to “stones” in the plural; whereas Luke, having said, “Command this
stone,” in the singular, adds, “that it be made bread,” in the singular. The
sensation of hunger seems now to have come on in all its keenness—no doubt to
open a door to the tempter, of which he is not slow to avail himself.

4 But he answered and said, It is written—in Deuteronomy 8:3. Man shall
not live by bread alone
—more emphatically, as in the Greek, “Not by bread
alone shall man live.” but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of
—Of all passages in OT Scripture, none could have been more appropriate:
“The Lord . . . led thee [said Moses to Israel, at the close of their journeyings]
these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know
what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna,
which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee
know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out
of the mouth of the LORD” (Deut. 8:2, 3). Now, if Israel spent not forty days but
forty years in a wilderness, where there were no means of human subsistence, not
starving but divinely provided for, to prove to every age that human support
depends not upon bread but upon God’s unfailing word of promise and pledge of
all needful providential care, could Jesus depend upon any other sustenance but
that which the Father would provide? True, the Son of God was able enough to
turn stones into bread; but what the Son of God is able to do is not the present
question, rather, What is man’s duty under want of the necessities of life? As
man, therefore, Jesus would await the divine supply, not doubting that at the right
time it would arrive. The second temptation in this Gospel is in Luke’s the third.
That Matthew’s order is the right one will appear quite clearly in the sequel.

5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city—so called (as in Isa.
48:2; Neh. 11:1) from its being “the city of the Great King” (Ps. 48:2), the seat of
the temple, the metropolis of all Jewish worship. and setteth him on a pinnacle
[rather, the pinnacle] of the temple—a certain well-known projection. Whether
this refers to the highest summit of the temple, which bristled with golden spikes
(Josephus, Antiquities, 5.5, 6); or whether it refers to another peak, on Herod’s
royal portico, overhanging the ravine of Kidron, at the valley of Hinnom—an
immense tower built on the very edge of this precipice, from the top of which
dizzy height Josephus says one could not look to the bottom Antiquities, 15.11,
5)—is not certain; but the latter is probably meant. Some commentators have
thought that Satan was tempting Jesus to make a public display of his divinity—
perhaps even prove by a sudden descent from the sky that he was the Messiah (a
sign for which the Jews were looking—Mal. 3:1). But since Matthew says
nothing about any people being present at this scene, the temptation must not
have been related to a public manifestation.

6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God—As this temptation starts
with the same point as the first—Satan’s determination to get Jesus to leave his
standing as a man and seize upon his divine prerogatives—it seems clear to us
that the one came directly after the other; and as the third temptation shows that
the hope of carrying that point was abandoned, and all was staked upon a
desperate venture, we think that the third temptation is thus shown to be the last,
as will appear still more when we come to it. cast thyself down—“from hence”
(Luke 4:9). for it is written—in Psalm 91:11, 12. Doubtless the tempter, having
felt the power of God’s Word in the former temptation, was eager to try the effect
of it from his own mouth (see 2 Cor. 11:14). He shall give his angels charge
concerning thee; and in
[rather, on] their hands they shall bear thee up, lest
at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone
—The quotation is precisely as it
stands in the Hebrew text and in the Septuagint except that after the first clause
the words “to keep thee in all thy ways” are here omitted. Not a few good
expositors have thought that this omission was intentional, to conceal the fact
that this would not have been one of “his ways,” i.e., of duty. But as our Lord’s
reply makes no allusion to this but seizes on the great principle involved in the
promise quoted, so when we look at the promise itself, it is plain that the sense of
it is precisely the same whether the clause in question is inserted or not.

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again—in Deuteronomy 6:16. In
essence, Jesus said, “True, it is so written, and on that promise I implicitly rely;
but in using it there is another Scripture which must not be forgotten: Thou shalt
not tempt the Lord thy God
—Preservation in danger is divinely pledged; Jesus
would not create danger, either to put the promised security to the test, or to
demand a display of it. To do so would be “to tempt the Lord thy God,” which,
being expressly forbidden, would forfeit the right to expect preservation.

8 Again, the devil taketh him up [or unto] an exceeding high mountain,
and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them
(4:5) adds the important clause, “in a moment of time”—a clause that seems to
furnish a key to the true meaning. That a scene was presented to our Lord’s
natural eye seems plainly expressed. But to limit this to that which the natural
eye could take in, is to distort the expression “all the kingdoms of the world.” It
remains, then, to gather from the expression “in a moment of time”—which
manifestly is intended to intimate some supernatural operation—that it was
permitted to the tempter to extend preternaturally for a moment our Lord’s range
of vision and throw a “glory” or glitter over the scene of vision: a thing not
inconsistent with the analogy of other scriptural statements regarding the
permitted operations of the wicked one. In this case, the “exceeding height” of
the “mountain” from which this sight was beheld would favor the effect to be

9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee—“and the glory of
them,” adds Luke. But Matthew, having already said that this was “showed him,”
did not need to repeat it here. Luke (4:6) adds these other very important clauses,
here omitted—“for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to”
(NIV). Was this wholly false? We answer, Is not Satan three times called by our
Lord himself “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11)? Does not the
apostle call him “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4)? And still further, is it not
said that Christ came to destroy by his death “him that hath the power of death,
that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14)? No doubt these passages only express men’s
voluntary subjection to the rule of the wicked one while they live. In this sense
he speaks what is not devoid of truth when he says, “It has been given to me.”
But how does he deliver this to whomsoever he wants? As employing
whomsoever he pleases of his willing subjects in keeping men under his power.
In this case his offer to our Lord was that of a deputed supremacy commensurate
with his own, though as his gift and for his purposes. if thou wilt fall down and
worship me
—This was the sole but monstrous condition. No Scripture, it will be
observed, is quoted now, because none could be found to support so blasphemous
a claim. In fact, he has ceased now to present his temptations under the mask of
piety, and he stands out unblushingly as the rival of God himself in his claims on
the homage of men. Despairing of success as an angel of light, he throws off all
disguise and with a splendid bribe solicits divine honor. This again shows that we
are now at the last of the temptations and that Matthew’s order is the true one.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan—Since the tempter
has now thrown off the mask and stands forth in his true character, our Lord no
longer deals with him as a pretended friend and pious counselor but calls him by
his right name—his knowledge of which from the outset he had carefully
concealed till now—and orders him off. for it is written—in Deuteronomy 6:13.
Thou shalt worship—In the Hebrew text and in the Septuagint it is, “You shall
fear”; but as the sense is the same, so “worship” is here used to show
emphatically that what the tempter claimed was precisely what God had
forbidden. the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve—The word
“serve” in the second clause is one never used by the Septuagint of any but
religious service; and in this sense exclusively is it used in the NT as we find it
here. Once more the word “only,” in the second clause—not expressed in the
Hebrew text and the Septuagint—is here added to bring out emphatically the
negative and prohibitory feature of the command. (See Gal. 3:10 for a similar
supplement of the word “all” in a quotation from Deut. 27:26.)

11 Then the devil leaveth him—cf. Luke 4:2. and, behold, angels came
and ministered unto him
—or supplied him with food, as the same expression
means in Mark 1:31 and Luke 8:3. Thus did angels to Elijah (1 Kings 19:5-8).
Several good commentators think they ministered not only food, but supernatural
support and cheer also. But this would be the natural effect rather than the direct
object of the visit. And after having refused to claim the illegitimate ministration
of angels in his behalf, oh, with what deep joy would he accept their services
when sent, unasked, at the close of all this temptation, direct from him whom he
had so gloriously honored!

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