Isaiah 56 & Matthew 4

Isaiah 56

    Thus says the LORD:
    “Keep justice, and do righteousness,
    for soon my salvation will come,
        and my righteousness be revealed.
    Blessed is the man who does this,
        and the son of man who holds it fast,
    who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it,
        and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
    Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say,
        “The LORD will surely separate me from his people”;
    and let not the eunuch say,
        “Behold, I am a dry tree.”
    For thus says the LORD:
    “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
        who choose the things that please me
        and hold fast my covenant,
    I will give in my house and within my walls
        a monument and a name
        better than sons and daughters;
    I will give them an everlasting name
        that shall not be cut off.
    “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
        to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD,
        and to be his servants,
    everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
        and holds fast my covenant—
    these I will bring to my holy mountain,
        and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
    their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
        will be accepted on my altar;
    for my house shall be called a house of prayer
        for all peoples.”
    The Lord GOD,
        who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
    “I will gather yet others to him
        besides those already gathered.”
        All you beasts of the field, come to devour—
        all you beasts in the forest.
    His watchmen are blind;
        they are all without knowledge;
    they are all silent dogs;
        they cannot bark,
    dreaming, lying down,
        loving to slumber.
    The dogs have a mighty appetite;
        they never have enough.
    But they are shepherds who have no understanding;
        they have all turned to their own way,
        each to his own gain, one and all.
    “Come,” they say, “let me get wine;
        let us fill ourselves with strong drink;
    and tomorrow will be like this day,
        great beyond measure.”

(Isaiah 56 ESV)

Matthew 4

    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,’

    “‘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 ESV)

Matthew 4: What happens to you when you begin to get so hungry that you can hardly stand it? For most of us, we begin to lose focus on what we’re doing, and the thoughts of getting some food begin to consume our minds. We may get a little quick-tempered and become susceptible to making rash decisions. Hunger has a way of messing with our heads and weakening our hearts.

It’s easy for us to overlook the reality that Jesus was not only fully God but was also fully human. After fasting for forty days, Jesus physically felt no different than we would after not eating for forty days. Jesus was starving! It's at this point when Jesus is at His weakest and most vulnerable that Satan steps in attempting to disqualify Jesus as the sinless Savior. He seeks to persuade Jesus to use His authority and power as God to make His grueling mission easier for Himself.    

This extended time of fasting and prayer had been Spirit-led, and this time of testing was being used by God to strengthen His Son for the mission that was set before Him. While God never tempts anyone to do evil, He does use circumstances to test a person’s character. Despite this time of weakness, Jesus successfully resists the temptations by standing firm on God’s Word. Jesus remained obedient as a man and as a representative for all His people, setting an example for all His future followers to not seek satisfaction in selfish gain but in service to God alone.