If you wish to contact me for any purpose or would like to ask any questions, I can be contacted through these various ways:

Email: barryjustinhobert@gmail.com

Facebook: 'Things As They Really Are' Facebook Page

Facebook Messenger

Twitter: @Thingsastheyrea


Week 6: Matthew 4; Luke 4-5

From revivenations.org


Verses 1-2: It appears that Christ, after his baptism, had communion with the Father in the wilderness before Satan came to tempt Him. Bruce R. McConkie appears to agree:
"For forty days Jesus pondered upon the things of the Spirit, poured out his soul to his Father in prayer, sought diligently to receive revelations and see visions, was ministered to by angels, and was enwrapt in the visions of eternity-during all of which time he was not subject to temptation. We may also suppose that during this period he was 'with God' in the literal sense of the word, and that the Father visited him." (The Mortal Messiah, 1: 410.)
Dr. Margaret Barker suggests that the visions that Jesus was given were the 'revelations' that he passed onto John, later, that make up the last book in the New Testament:
"... A distinct possibility is that Jesus received the throne vision in Revelation 4-5: the Lamb approached the throne, was given the scroll to open, and then the angels served before him. If he had received the vision of the Woman clothed with the sun at his baptism, the temptations in the desert would have been [the devil's] attempt to devour him (See Revelation 12)." (King of the Jews, p. 122)
Forty days has symbolic meaning in scripture. We do not know if the forty days should be taken literally, but the number is used consistently in scripture (146 times in the bible) to illustrate a certain point. Dr. Michael David Coogan notes that 40 days or years is used to separate "two distinct epochs" (A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament: The Hebrew Bible in Its Context, Oxford, 2008, p. 116). As best as I can tell, the number 40 might be a numerical hint that this event is what divides Christ's previous life from when he began his actual mortal ministry.

Verse 5: 'The pinnacle of the temple' is unclear as to its exact location. We get this commentary from Easton's Bible Dictionary:
"On the southern side of the temple court was a range of porches or cloisters forming three arcades. At the south-eastern corner the roof of this cloister was some 300 feet above the Kidron valley. The pinnacle, some parapet or wing-like projection, was above this roof, and hence at a great height, probably 350 feet or more above the valley." (1)
In other words, this was probably one of the most visible places in Jerusalem. Satan is looking to make a spectacle of his temptation of Jesus.

Verses 6-7: Satan quotes scripture and is followed by Jesus countering with additional scripture. Here is an interesting lesson for those willing to heed. Satan in verse 6 does what scholars call 'proof-texting' the scriptures. We take just one scripture and then extrapolate a lot of information from it while isolating it from a host of others. While many of us are guilty of doing this through innocence, Christ's response to Satan shows that a more mature gospel student will take what the scriptures say as a whole on a subject before coming to such black and white conclusions. In addition, proof-texting scripture is a tool that Satan uses. We should be careful and guard against falling for it. The church has provided many materials to provide context to church history events and scripture. There is a saying that is easy to remember, "a text without a context is a pretext for a proof-text."

Verses 8-9: Satan appears to try and counterfeit temple and revelatory experience by taking Christ to a high mountain and showing him, perhaps in vision, 'the kingdoms of the world'. This experience heavily mirrors Moses' experience with Satan in Moses chapter 1. We find that Christ, like Moses, first had many visions and revelations. Then, Satan came to tempt, like Moses, Him (and perhaps used methods that closely mirror heavenly visions and temple-like experiences). After such, more light and knowledge is given because, like Moses, He had remained faithful. The experiences of Moses and Jesus, therefore, might illustrate what 'growing into the principle of revelation' looks like. We can come to embrace the being tried and tempted if we know that we are elevated higher and given more light and knowledge if we remain faithful. Neal A. Maxwell puts it very well:
"... attention from the Adversary is merely a cruel form of commendation, if we can but stand the “praise.”"(2)
Another interesting parallel between Christ and Moses here is when Moses' experience happens chronologically in his life story. It is fairly universally agreed among LDS scholars that the events in Moses chapter 1 happen BEFORE Moses goes to Egypt to confront Pharoh about letting the Israelites go. In summation, both Moses and Christ have very similar experiences before either one goes out to fulfill their life mission and ministry.

Verses 10-11: It might not mean much, but it is interesting that the Savior does not invoke His name to cast out Satan when Moses had too (see Moses 1:21-22). Angels coming to minister unto Christ are the more light and knowledge received when one is true and faithful. In Mark 1:13 we get the same statement, but 'wild animals' ministering unto Jesus is thrown in. According to Margaret Barker, the Hebrew word for 'wild beasts' is hayyôth:
"This means both wild animals... but also the creatures of the cherub throne. Since the animals in the account of Jesus's desert experiences are linked to angels serving him, it is more likely that these were the creatures of the cherub throne than wild animals, and so being with the creatures and the angels meant a mystical experience. A distinct possibility is that Jesus received the throne vision in Revelation 4-5: the Lamb approached the throne, was given the scroll to open, and then the angels served before him. If he had received the vision of the Woman clothed with the sun at his baptism, the temptations in the desert would have been [the devil's] attempt to devour him (See Revelation 12)." (King of the Jews, p. 122)
Verse 12: The Joseph Smith translation adds the interesting detail that Jesus sent angels unto John the Baptist while he was in prison. The transition from verse 11 to verse 12 might leave open the possibility that Jesus heard the news of John's imprisonment from the angels. As a result, angels were commissioned by the Messiah to go and comfort John. This idea is consistent with the Savior's words in Matthew 26:53.

Verses 12-17: Jesus goes unto Galilee to fulfill a prophecy contained in Isaiah 9:1-2. These verses tell us that Gentiles abide in the land of Galilee. Thomas Wayment suggests that Matthew adds this detail to preview the end from the beginning. It is forward thinking by Matthew and we find that verse 17 is where Jesus appears to really begin his ministry. It is significant that he began it in 'Galilee of the Gentiles'.

Verse 18: Simon called better can literally be read as 'Simon the rock'. It echoes loudly of Matthew 16:18. The term 'rock' in that verse is referring to overcoming 'the gates of hell' which scholars suggest is a term for the world of the dead (i.e. Sheol or spirit prison).

Verses 19-20: The JST of verse 18 gives us an idea of why these men would drop their nets and immediately follow Jesus. Jesus makes a Messianic declaration about himself before he extends the invitation to follow Him. The phrase "make you fishers of men" can just as easily be translated as "make you fishers of men and women" (see NT:TFLDS, p. 11)

Verse 21: As was the case in verse 18, Jesus here, again, calls after two brothers. McConkie notes the significance of calling both sets in groups of two (DNTC, p. 107, digital copy).

Verse 22: Our conventional interpretations of verses 20 & 22 often marvel at the immediacy of the original disciples to follow Jesus. I personally believe that more one on one conversations occurred. The first 11 verses in Luke chapter 5 confirm this while speaking of, apparently, the same event. At this point in Jesus' ministry, as far as I am aware, he has not publically declared himself the Messiah (He strongly hints it at a synagogue in Nazareth). In these instances though, the JST tells us he declares himself as the one whom prophets have testified of. I am not sure how the two sets of brothers would have understood it, but it a truth that Christ reveals unto them privately I would assume. Reflecting back on the temptations of Jesus, it could be possible that Jesus received a divine commission to preach repentance from heaven, but His own understanding of His Messiahship grew over his life. I write a little about this here.

Verses 23-25: Jesus goes about to declare repentance and starts to engage in His healing ministry. An interesting note here:
"... the Greek word for saving, sodzo, can also mean to heal... It turns out that every time there's a healing, the woman with the issue of blood, the girl that dies, the man born blind, it's always sodzo. That's translated as healed. But if you look at every time the word save appears in the New Testament, it's from the same word, sodzo. In other words, you could, with just as much linguistic accuracy, translate the term Jesus Christ, healer of the world." - Terryl and Fiona Givens (Faith Matters Podcast, The Christ Who Heals)
This is the first time, also, we are confronted with demonic possession in the New Testament. Thomas Wayment points out that "many of the symptoms associated with demonic possession are today described in medical terms. The Old Testament does not describe illness in the same way." (NT:TFLDS, p. 11) This is not to say that demonic possession is not real, it most certainly is, but it is interesting that this idea is plentiful in the New Testament, but no other book of scripture really highlights it that much. A possible idea is that Satan and his angels amped up their game and exposed their power more when Jesus started and went through his mortal ministry. Another possible explanation is that there is a duality between physical, mental, and emotional afflictions with the afflictions of the spirit.


I will skip, mostly, the details contained in verses 1-15. Many of the same details are covered above in my commentary of Matthew chapter 4.

As a side note, the JST of the first 15 verses highlights that during the temptations that Jesus was transported from place to place by the spirit. This idea occurs in scripture somewhat in other places. I prefer to interpret this literally.

 Verses 16-30: Jesus at a synagogue in Nazareth strongly implies that he is the Messiah after he quotes Isaiah 61:1-2. The details contained in Isaiah 61:1-2 are skipped over here because their meanings should be self-evident. 

After the quotation, he strongly implies that He is the Messiah (or at least the one prophesied of in the Isaiah passage). If we read on, the people appear to only grow in anger, but the camel's back isn't broken until Jesus appears to elevate His healing power above that of Elijah. This infuriates the crowd as they take Him and seek to throw Him over a cliff. Verse 30 strangely describes His escape. McConkie simply says, "Evidently our Lord's enemies were restrained in some unusual way from carrying out their murderous intentions" (DNTC, p. 103, digital copy). It could be possible that Jesus was carried away by the spirit again.

Veress 31-42: See note on Matthew 4 verses 23-25. Apparently, the healing that Jesus did was heavy evidence that he was THE Savior. This is why his healing is emphasized in the gospels.

Verse 38: Simon (aka Peter) had experience with the Savior already BEFORE he was invited to follow him in the next chapter. In other words, Matthew puts the events of Peter's call before the healings in Capernaum while Luke puts them after. Luke has much more detail surrounding the event. If we accept Luke, we cannot conclude that Peter followed the Savior on a spiritual whim. Peter, according to Luke, before his call experiences the healing of his Mother-in-law and the miracle of the fish in Luke 5.


Verses 1-11: To build off the end of chapter 4, Peter experiences another miracle here as Jesus brings Peter and his fellow fishermen an abundance of fish that filled up two boats. The end of this exchange has them leaving everything. The moral of this story isn't so much that they left without hesitation (it took a period of time and a few miracles on Peter's behalf before the Lord extended the invitation to follow Him), it is more so that they left everything and consecrated their time, talents, and belongings to the preaching of the gospel.

Verse 26: Jesus continues his healing/saving ('sodzo') which causes confusion among the people beholding it. In this verse, Wayment translates 'strange things' as 'remarkable things'. He also notes that it can also be translated as 'paradoxical or unexpected things' (see NT:TFLDS, p. 120). Jesus did a lot of things that went against the grain of tradition among the Jews. It could be insightful for us to not let 'unexpected things' or 'paradoxical things' deter us from following the Savior.

Verses 36-39: After going against tradition (i.e. feasting with sinners and tax collectors; healing; declaring Himself the fulfillment of prophecy), Jesus gives parables that are supposed to ease the hearts of those whose traditions are being aggravated. In the verses previous, it is disciples of John the Baptist who see the Messiah feasting instead of living after an ascetic manner. This puzzles them, therefore, the Savior gives the parables of the old and new cloth and the old and new wineskins in order to expand their minds past their traditions. The classic commentary on these verses is found in Talmage's 'Jesus The Christ':
"In such wise did our Lord proclaim the newness and completeness of His gospel. It was in no sense a patching up of Judaism. He had not come to mend old and torn garments; the cloth He provided was new, and to sew it on the old would be but to tear afresh the threadbare fabric and leave a more unsightly rent than at first. Or to change the figure, new wine could not safely be entrusted to old bottles. The bottles here referred to were really bags, made of the skins of animals, and of course they deteriorated with age. Just as old leather splits or tears under even slight strain, so the old bottle-skins would burst from the pressure of fermenting juice, and the good wine would be lost. The gospel taught by Christ was a new revelation, superseding the past, and marking the fulfillment of the law; it was no mere addendum, nor was it a reenactment of past requirements; it embodied a new and an everlasting covenant. Attempts to patch the Judaistic robe of traditionalism with the new fabric of the covenant could result in nothing more sightly than a rending of the fabric. The new wine of the gospel could not be held in the old time-worn containers of Mosaic libations. Judaism would be belittled and Christianity perverted by any such incongruous association." (Jesus the Christ, p. 184)


Popular Posts