Matthew 4:1-11 and Waldenström’s Commentary

by Paul Peter Waldenström and translated by Tommy Carlson

This translation is presented in memory of the Reverend Gilbert Swenson, who both loved and preached the Word. — TC & PS

Verse I: Then aJesus was transported by the Spirit up to the desertb to be tempted by the Devil.c

a. to verses 1-4, see Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13. b. up from the shores of Jordan to a highly situated desert of Judea (3:1), And he was with the wild beasts (Mk 1:13). c . that is tempted to unfaithfulness and desertion from God. This belonged to Jesus' upbringing as his call to salvation (Heb. 2:18).

Verse 2: And when he had fasted forty nightsa, he was then hungry (c.f. Ex. 34:28; I Kg. 19:8).

a. The Devil's temptation continued during all the forty days of temptation (Lk. 4:2).

Verse 3: And the Tempter came forward and said to him: if you are God's son, say then that these stones become breada.

a. The Devil wanted to bring Jesus to doubt his "sonship" and the truth about the word which the Father pronounced over him at his baptism, and also in that way lead him astray by means of a highhanded trick to place God's truth to the test.

Verse 4: But he answered and said: it is written: Not by breada alone shall mortals live, but by every word which emanates through God's mouthb (c.f. Deut. 8:3).

a. Life's subsistence is not dependent on bread alone. By the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17) Jesus slays the enemy. The text quoted, which read in Deut. 8:3, is by Moses when he talks most intimately about the manna which God gave the people in the desert. b. Not only to understand, that God can immediately through his word sustain mortals' bodily life, but also that God's word is that which gives the physical (daily) bread power to nourish the body. The bread is only a means for God's word and power, on which even the corporeal life's upkeep depends.

Verse 5: Then the Devil took him with to the holy citya and placed him on a projected section of the holy placeb.

a. Although possessed of sin and crime, Jerusalem was called the "Holy City" (c.f. Matt. 27:53) since that, as the seat of God's sanctuary, was God's city (Matt. 5:35). b. Probably an annex on the east side of the temple palace, on the edge of the steep temple mountain. From its roof one could see straight down to an enormous depth. Notice moreover that the N. T. makes a distinct difference between holy place and temple, The holy place was the temple palace with all its buildings and courtyards and everything which belonged to it. The temple, however, was the temple building itself which contained the sacred and the Holy of Holies. Compare chapter 23:16, 17, 21, 35 and others. This second temptation is written in Luke as the third (Luke 4) . The devil wanted with this temptation to seduce Jesus to seek to win the masses' acclamation, by this astonishing feat a miracle like that should awaken them. Such a spectacle Jesus would never do. Notice also how even one of God's words can by incorrect use be as a temptation.

Verse 6: And he said to him: if you are God's son, throw yourself down, for it is written: Because he shall command his angels around you, and they shall lift you up in their hands, so that you may never strike your foot against a rock. c.f. Ps. 91:11

Verse 7: Jesus said to him: It is once more written: you shall not tempt the Lord your God.a c.f. Deut. 6:16

a. The dangers, which were inseparable from the work of his calling, he always met courageously but never did he tempt God by throwing himself in dangers which were unnecessary. Such is extravagance but extravagance is not belief but sin and false belief. Therefore he proves back to the devil with another God's word: Deut. 6:16.

Verse 8: Again the Devil took him with to a very high mountain, and showed, him all the countries of the world and their splendor.a

a. This exhibit took place possibly in one vision. Or the evangelist only wants to say that the tempter showed Jesus so much that could be seen from the mountain as a picture of the splendor which emanated from the kingdoms of the world. In the same way one can also say that a stranger has seen Sweden when he has seen one or another outstanding place.

Verse 9: And said to him: All this I shall give to you, if you fall down and worship me.

Verse 10: Then Jesus said to him: Go away Satan, for it is writtena The Lord your God shall you worship and Him alone shall you adore.

a. In Deut. 6:13; 10:20. Through obedience for his father it was Jesus who should be Lord over all (Matt. 28:18, Phil. 2:9). It was God and not the devil which gave him this power (Ps. 2:8).

Verse 11: Then the devil departed hima and look, angels came forward and served himb.

a. for a time (Luke 4:13). b. for to bring him food to quiet his hunger. So also brought the angels food to the prophet Elijah (I Kings 19:5-6).

Paul Peter Waldenström was a Swedish revival preacher, and served as editor of Pietisten from 1868-1917.

See all articles by Paul Peter Waldenström

Tommy Carlson remodels homes and is an editor of Pietisten.

See all articles by Tommy Carlson