New Testament Lesson 06 (Matthew 4; Luke 3–5)
For the week of January 30–February 6
JESUS’ TEMPTATION IN THE WILDERNESS
Jesus Went into the Wilderness to Be with God
● Matthew 4:1 Jesus did not go into the wilderness “to be tempted.”
● JST Matt. 4:1–2 He went into the wilderness to fast and pray. He was tempted afterward.
— Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “Jesus did not go into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil; righteous men do not seek out temptation. He went ‘to be with God.’ Probably he was visited by the Father; without question he received transcendent spiritual manifestations. The temptations came after he ‘had communed with God,’ ‘after forty days’ The same was true in the case of Moses. He communed with God, saw the visions of eternity, and was then left unto himself to be tempted of the devil. After resisting temptation he again communed with Deity, gaining further light and revelation.”
The Nature of Satan’s Temptations
● Temptation #1
— Change stone to bread (Matthew 4:3–4).
— Type: Physical appetites.
— Jesus had been fasting for 40 Days and was certainly very hungry.
— Answer: Balance physical/spiritual needs.
● Temptation #2
— Cast himself down (Matthew 4:5–7).
— Type: Pride/vanity/acclaim.
— Answer: Do not tempt (test) God.
— JST Matt. 4:5–9 The devil did not transport Jesus up to a pinnacle of the temple. The Spirit transported him, not Satan.
— The “pinnacle” was a lofty speakers’ platform on the southeast corner of the temple mount, overlooking the temple court from which a large multitude could be addressed.
— Jesus responded to each of Satan’s temptations by quoting scriptures.
— Satan also quotes scripture in this case in order to sound reasonable.
— This temptation was to take a short and easy road to recognition as the Messiah by giving “a sign from heaven.”
— This time, rather than tempting the Savior to use his power, Satan tempted Christ to force God to use his power in Christ’s behalf.
— The Lord continued throughout this ministry to reject the use of miracles to make disciples of those who did not otherwise believe.
● Temptation #3
— Kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8–11).
— Type: Power, wealth, honor.
— Answer: Serve God, not worldly lusts.
— Satan’s offer was false; he did not own these kingdoms
— John 6:15 This was not the last time that the temptation to assume earthly power would come to Christ. The people tried to “take him by force to make him a king,” but he refused.
The Nature of Jesus’ Temptations
● President David O. McKay identified three categories of Jesus’ temptations:
— “(1) A temptation of the appetite or passion;
“(2) A yielding to pride, fashion, or vanity;
“(3) A desire for worldly riches or power and dominion over lands or earthly possessions of men.”
Similarities to Our Own Temptations
● Matthew 4:3, 6 Satan twice questioned whether Jesus was the Son of God. He also causes us to question that God is the Father of our Spirits.
— Moses 1:12–22 How this knowledge helped Moses reject Satan.
— Romans 8:21 Paul said of himself, “when I would do good, evil is present with me.”
— Hebrews 4:14–15 Jesus, the Son of God, faced temptations similar to those we face.
— Spencer W. Kimball said, “The importance of not accommodating temptation in the least degree is underlined by the Savior’s example . . . He positively and promptly closed the discussion, and commanded: ‘Get thee hence, Satan,’ meaning, likely, ‘Get out of my sight—get out of my presence—I will not listen—I will have nothing to do with you.’ Then, we read, ‘the devil leaveth him.'”
— Howard W. Hunter said, “The question for us now is—will we succeed? Will we resist? Will we wear the victor’s crown? Satan may have lost Jesus, but he does not believe he has lost us. He continues to tempt, taunt, and plead for our loyalty. We should take strength for this battle from the fact that Christ was victorious not as a God but as a man.”
● Hebrews 5:8–9; 2:28 Jesus learned obedience through the things that he suffered. So do we.
— The Prophet Joseph Smith said to the Twelve, “You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried [even] as . . . Abraham and other men of God . . . God will feel after you, and He will take hold of . . . and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial kingdom of God.”
— Harold B. Lee said, “Now I want to bear testimony to you that every one of us have had that kind of testing. Some of us have been tried and have been tested until our very heart strings would seem to break. I have heard of persons dying with a broken heart and I thought that was just a sort of a poetic expression, but I learned that it could be a very real experience. I came near to that thing . . . Don’t be afraid of the testing and trials of life. Sometimes when you are going through the most severe tests, you will be nearer to God than you have any idea. . . .”
JOHN’S DISCIPLES BEGIN TO FOLLOW CHRIST
● John 1:35–39 John the Baptist encouraged his own disciples to follow the Savior.
● John 3:25–36 John bore powerful witness to his disciples that Jesus is the Christ.
● Luke 3:19–20 John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod.
● JST Matthew 4:11 Jesus sent angels to minister unto John in prison.
JESUS IS REJECTED AT NAZARETH
● Luke 4:14–21 In Nazareth, in the synagogue of his boyhood, Jesus read a prophecy from Isaiah 61:1–3, with which his hearers were familiar. The passage begins with Isaiah’s words “The spirit of the Lord is upon me” and then lists all the things that the Messiah would do when He came to the earth.
— “Anointed” is from the Hebrew mashach, meaning “Messiah” or “Anointed One.”
— The Greek equivalent is Christos, from which the title “Christ” comes.
— This was His open declaration that He was the promised Messiah.
● Luke 4:22–27 The people were disbelieving, saying, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
● Luke 4:28–32 They were filled with wrath and tried to take him and kill him.
● Matt. 13:53–58 Jesus performed very few miracles in Nazareth because of their disbelief .
— Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:
“Then, by way of climax, having taught the doctrine with gracious words that could not be refuted, Jesus attests: ‘This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.’ That is to say: ‘I have read from Isaiah; I have set forth the meaning of his words; I have taught the doctrine. Now I testify that these words—and therefore all Messianic prophecies—are fulfilled in me; they apply to me; I am the one of whom the prophets spoke; I am he; I am the Messiah.’
“Where such a witness is borne, there are only two possible responses. One is complete acceptance, the other complete rejection. No one can argue with a testimony; it is not a debatable issue. It is there to be accepted or to be rejected. Jesus taught and testified, and as the full meaning of his gracious words sank into their hearts, his Nazarene friends made their choice. This Jesus they knew and had known from his infancy and youth. How can he be the Son of God? How can he be the Messiah? Their voice—to their eternal sorrow—was one of rejection, which they summarized in these words: “Is not this Joseph’s son? How then can he be the Messiah? We know him; he is one of us.’
“The word fell on stony ground and found no soil in which to grow, and the seeds died without sprouting. It was a sad, dark day for Nazareth.”
CALLING HIS FIRST DISCIPLES
Simon (Peter) and Andrew
● Matt. 4:18–20 Jesus began to preach repentance (v. 17). At the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew, who were fishermen (v. 18). He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (v. 19). “And they straitway [immediately] left their nets, and followed him” (v. 20).
● Luke 5:1–3 Peter and Andrew were finished fishing for the day, and they were washing their nets (v. 2). Jesus entered into Peter’s boat and asked him to “thrust out a little from the land,” from whence He “sat down, and taught the people out of the ship” (v. 3).
James and John
● Matt. 4:21–22 A little farther from that spot, Jesus encountered James and John and their father Zebedee. They were also mending their nets, and He called them to follow Him (v. 21). James and John “immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him” (v. 22).
A Huge Draught of Fish
● Luke 5:4–7 When Jesus had finished preaching from the ship, he told Peter and Andrew to “launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught” (v. 4). Peter protested that they had been fishing all night without any luck, but obediently did what the Master told him to do (v. 5). And when they had done this, they caught “a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake” (v. 6). They called to their partners James and John to come and help, and the catch of fish filled both ships so full that they began to sink (v. 7).
● Luke 5:8–11 When Peter saw this miracle, he fell down at Jesus’ knees (v. 8). All four of these fishermen were astonished a the miracle they had just witnessed (v. 9). Jesus reassured them, saying “fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men” (v. 10). When they had brought their ships to land, “they forsook all, and followed him” (v. 11).
1: Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:128; see also Mosiah 3:7.
2: Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 82.
3: Miracle of Forgiveness, 216.
4: In Conference Report, Oct. 1976, 22; or Ensign, Nov. 1976, 18–19.
5: John Taylor in Journal of Discourses, 24:197.
6: Munich Area General conference, August 1973.
7: The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [1979–81], 2:23–24.