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4. Temptation of Jesus

1Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he afterward hungered. 3And the tempter came and said unto him, If thou art the Son of God, command that these stones become bread. 4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5Then the devil taketh him into the holy city; and he set him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6and saith unto him, If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written,

He shall give his angels charge concerning thee:

and,

On their hands they shall bear thee up,

Lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone.

7Jesus said unto him, Again it is written, Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God. 8Again, the devil taketh him unto an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9and he said unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11Then the devil leaveth him; and behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

12Now when he heard that John was delivered up, he withdrew into Galilee; 13and leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali: 14that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,

15The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,

Toward the sea, beyond the Jordan,

Galilee of the Gentiles,

16The people that sat in darkness

Saw a great light,

And to them that sat in the region and shadow of death,

To them did light spring up.

17From that time began Jesus to preach, and to say, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

18And walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brethren, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. 19And he saith unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20And they straightway left the nets, and followed him. 21And going on from thence he saw two other brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22And they straightway left the boat and their father, and followed him.

23And Jesus went about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of disease and all manner of sickness among the people. 24And the report of him went forth into all Syria: and they brought unto him all that were sick, holden with divers diseases and torments, possessed with demons, and epileptic, and palsied; and he healed them. 25And there followed him great multitudes from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judaea and from beyond the Jordan.

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13. And having left Nazareth I have thought it proper to introduce this passage of Matthew, immediately after Luke’s narrative, which we have just examined; because we may gather from the context that, as Christ had hitherto been wont to frequent the town of Nazareth, so, in order to avoid danger, he now bade a final adieu to it, and dwelt in Capernaum and the neighboring towns. There would be no difficulty in this history, were it not that there is some appearance, as if Matthew had put a wrong meaning on the quotation from the prophet. But if we attend to the true meaning of the prophet, it will appear to be properly and naturally accommodated to the present occasion. Isaiah, after having described a very heavy calamity of the nation, soothes their grief by a promise that, when the nation shall be reduced to extremity, a deliverance will immediately follow, which shall dispel the darkness, and restore the light of life.

The words are:

“Nevertheless, the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness shall see a great light” (Isaiah 9:1,2.)

The Israelites had been twice visited by a heavy calamity: first, when four tribes, or thereby, were carried away into banishment, by Tiglath-Pileser, (2 Kings 15:29;) and, secondly, when Shalmaneser completed the destruction of the kingdom of Israel, (2 Kings 18:9.) There remained a third desolation, which — the prophet had foretold towards the close of the eighth chapter — would be the most dreadful of all. And now follows, in the words which we have quoted, what is calculated to soothe their grief. God will stretch out his hand to his people, and, therefore, death will be more tolerable than the previous diseases were. Though the whole nation,” says he, “shall be destroyed, yet so brilliant shall be the light of grace, that there will be less dimness in this last destruction than in the two former instances, when the ten tribes were ruined.”

The promise ought to be extended, I have no doubt, to the whole body of the people, which might seem to be, to all appearance, lost and destroyed. It is very absurd in the Jews to confine it to the deliverance of the city of Jerusalem. as if the light of life had been restored to it, when the siege was raised by the flight of King Sennacherib,331331     “Lors que le Roy Sennacherib fut contreint de lever le siege de de-rant, et s'enfuir honteusement.” — “When King Sennacherib was compelled to raise the siege, and to fly disgracefully.” (2 Kings 19: 36.) Certainly, it is evident from the context, that the prophet looks much farther; and, as he promises a universal restoration of the whole church, it follows that the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, and Galilee of the Gentiles, are included in the number of those, to whom the darkness of death would be changed into the light of life. The commencement of this light, and, as we might say, the dawn, was the return of the people from Babylon. At length, Christ, the Sun of Righteousness,” (Malachi 4:2,) arose in full splendor, and, by his coming, utterly “abolished” (2 Timothy 1:10) the darkness of death.

In the same manner, Paul reminds us, that it was a fulfillment of what occurs in many passages of the prophets, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead,” (Ephesians 5:14.) Now, we know that the kingdom of Christ is spiritual, and, therefore, the light of salvation which it brings, and all the assistance which we derive from it, must correspond to its nature. Hence it follows, that our souls are plunged in the darkness of everlasting death, till he enlightens them by his grace. The prophet’s discourse relates, no doubt, to the destruction of the nation, but presents to us, as in a mirror, what is the condition of mankind, until they are delivered by the grace of Christ. When those, who lay in darkness, are said to have seen a great light, a change so sudden and remarkable is intended to enlarge our views of the greatness of the divine salvation. Lower Galilee is called Galilee of the Gentiles, not only on account of its vicinity to Tyre and Sidon, but because its inhabitants were a mixture of Jews and Gentiles, particularly after that David had granted some cities to King Hiram.332332     This appears to refer to a gift, not of David, but of Solomon: for we are told, (1 Kings 9:11,) that” King Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.” Ed.




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