The Kingdom Is At Hand

“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.’ ” 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.’ ” 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.’ ” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. 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.” From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 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. 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.” (Matthew 4:1–25, ESV)

The Temptation

The same Spirit, who anointed Jesus, now leads him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Fasting for forty days and forty nights precedes the encounter with his duplicitous adversary. When Jesus is hungry, the antagonist makes his appearance and begins to test the king. The enemy desires to know if this king can be manipulated or controlled. This opponent tries to entice Jesus to misuse his power because of his hunger, but Jesus reminds him that real life is not found in bread. The foe wants Jesus to test God and see if he might doubt what God has declared but Jesus asserts that testing is not a sign of faith, it is a sign of doubt. Finally, the Prince of Darkness takes Jesus to a mountain offers him the world in exchange for his worship. Jesus commands Satan to leave his presence for God is the only being worthy of worship and demands it exclusively. This confrontation with the enemy illustrates a much larger picture. Sin entered the world through temptation in a garden because Adam failed his test and therefore sin proceeded to all men. Here, Jesus is tempted in a wilderness, but he succeeds where Adam failed. Jesus will bring salvation into the human experience. Jesus felt the full force of the enemy's temptations and resisted every one of them without fail. It is worth noting that Jesus’ resource for confronting these attacks was the Word of God. Scripture is the rule for faith and practice. After the fallen angel departs, other angels arrive and minister to Jesus.

Repent, The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand

Jesus learns that John the Baptist had been arrested, and so he withdrew to Galilee and made his home in Capernaum. This change in location was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and another reference in particular to the prophet Isaiah. 

“But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”
— Isaiah 9:1–2

Jesus begins to preach a sermon that is similar to John the Baptist, and he calls people to repent of their sin. The king announces that the kingdom of heaven had broken through and was now at hand. It is at this point that the public ministry of Jesus begins in earnest. 

Follow Me

Without many details, Jesus calls two sets of brothers to become the first disciples. They are Simon Peter and Andrew, followed by James and John. These men are fishermen, and when Jesus calls them to follow him, he tells them that he will make them fishers of men. These fishermen respond immediately and drop everything. James and John leave their father to follow this Rabbi. Jesus begins to travel throughout Galilee where he is welcomed into synagogues, and he proclaims the kingdom. The kingdom has broken through, and the evidence is undeniable. People are healed of every disease and affliction. It does not matter if it is a disease or pain. Demons flee at his command and epileptics, and paralytics are made whole. Jesus' fame begins to spread, and great crowds begin to follow from the entire region.