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Jesus Tested in the Wilderness

1–2 From the moment of his baptism, Jesus overflowed with the Holy Spirit. He was taken by the Spirit from the Jordan into the wilderness of Judea[a] to experience for forty days the ordeal of testing[b] by the accuser.[c] He ate no food during this time and ended his forty-day fast very hungry. It was then the devil said to him, “If you are really the Son of God, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread for you.”

Jesus replied, “I will not![d] For it is written in the Scriptures,[e] ‘Life does not come only from eating bread but from God. Life flows from every revelation from his mouth.’ ”[f]

The devil lifted Jesus high into the sky,[g] and in a flash showed him all the kingdoms and regions of the world. 6–7 The devil then said to Jesus, “All of this, with all its power, authority, and splendor, is mine to give to whomever I wish. Just do one thing, and you will have it all. Simply bow down to worship me, and it will be yours! You will possess everything!”

Jesus rebuked him and said, “Satan, get behind me![h] For it is written in the Scriptures, ‘Only One is worthy of adoration; therefore, worship only the Lord your God and love him supremely.’ ”[i]

Next, the devil took Jesus to Jerusalem, set him on the highest point of the temple, and tempted him, saying, “If you really are the Son of God, jump down in front of all the people. 10–11 For it is written in the Scriptures, ‘God has given his angels instructions to protect you from harm. For angels’ hands will hold you up and keep you from hurting even one foot on a stone.’ ”[j]

12 Jesus replied, “It is also written in the Scriptures, ‘How dare you provoke the Lord your God!’ ”[k]

13 That silenced the devil’s harassment for the time being. So he retreated until an opportune time.

14 Then Jesus, armed with the Holy Spirit’s power, returned to Galilee, and his fame spread throughout the region. 15 He taught in the synagogues[l] and they glorified him.[m]

16–17 When he came to Nazareth,[n] where he had grown up, he went into the synagogue, as he always did on the Sabbath. When Jesus came to the front to read the Scriptures,[o] he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found where it is written, 18–19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and he has anointed me to be hope[p] for the poor, healing for the brokenhearted, and new eyes[q] for the blind, and to preach to prisoners,[r] ‘You are set free!’ I have come to share the message of Jubilee,[s] for the time of God’s great acceptance[t] has begun.”[u]

20 After he read this he rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. Everyone stared at Jesus, wondering what he was about to say. 21 Then he added, “Today, these Scriptures came true in front of you.”

22 Everyone was impressed by how well Jesus spoke, in awe of the beautiful words of grace that came from his lips. But they said among themselves, “Who does he think he is?[v] Isn’t he Joseph’s son, who grew up here in Nazareth?”

23 Jesus said to them, “I suppose you’ll quote me the proverb, ‘Doctor, go and heal yourself before you try to heal others.’ And you’ll say, ‘Work the miracles here in your hometown that we heard you did in Capernaum.’ 24 But let me tell you, no prophet is welcomed or honored in his own hometown.

25 “Isn’t it true that many widows lived in the land of Israel during the days of the prophet Elijah when he locked up the heavens for three and a half years and brought a devastating famine over all the land? 26 But he wasn’t sent to any of the widows living in that region. Instead, he was sent to a foreign place, to a widow in Zarephath of Sidon.[w] 27 Or have you not considered that the prophet Elisha healed only Naaman,[x] the Syrian, rather than one of the many Jewish lepers living in the land?”

28 When everyone present heard Jesus’ words, they erupted with furious rage.[y] 29 They mobbed Jesus and threw him out of the city, dragging him to the edge of the cliff on the hill on which the city had been built, ready to hurl him off. 30 But he walked right through the crowd, leaving them all stunned.[z]

Jesus Confronts a Demonized Man

31 Jesus went to Capernaum[aa] in Galilee and taught the people on the Sabbath day. 32 His teaching stunned and dazed[ab] them, for he spoke with penetrating words and great authority.

33 In the congregation, there was a demonized man, who screamed out with a loud voice, 34 “Go away and leave us alone. We know who you are. You’re Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Holy One. What do you want with us? Have you come to destroy us already?”[ac]

35 Immediately the demon hurled the man down on the floor in front of them. But Jesus rebuked the demon, “Be quiet and come out of him!” And without causing him any harm, the demon came out of him.

36 Great astonishment swept over the people, and they said among themselves, “What kind of man is this who has such power and authority? With a mere word, he commands demons to come out, and they obey him!” 37 Reports about Jesus spread like wildfire throughout every community in the surrounding region.

Jesus Heals Many

38 After leaving the synagogue, Jesus went into Simon’s house, where Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with a high fever. The disciples begged Jesus to help her. 39 Jesus stood over her and rebuked the fever,[ad] and she was healed instantly. Then she got up and began to serve them.

40 At sunset,[ae] the people brought all those who were sick to Jesus to be healed. Jesus laid his hands on them one by one, and he healed them all of different illnesses.

41 Demons also came out of many of them. Knowing that Jesus was the Anointed One, the demons shouted while coming out, “You are the Messiah, the Son of El Shaddai!”[af] But Jesus rebuked them and commanded them to be silent.

42 At daybreak the next morning, the crowds came and searched everywhere for him, but Jesus had already left to go to a secluded place. When they finally found him, they held him tightly, begging him to stay with them in Capernaum. 43 But Jesus said, “Don’t you know there are other places I must go and offer the hope of God’s kingdom?[ag] This is what I have been sent to do.”

44 Jesus continued to travel and preach in the synagogues throughout the land.


  1. 4:1–2 The Holy Spirit’s leading is not always into comfort and ease. The Spirit may lead us, as he did Jesus, into places where we will be proven, tested, and strengthened for our future ministry. After Jesus’ greatest affirmation from heaven came a great time of testing.
  2. 4:1–2 The Greek word here means “to test with a sinister motive.” This test was more than proving that Jesus could overcome this ordeal. It proved that Satan was defeated by Christ’s appearing.
  3. 4:1–2 The words accuser and devil are used interchangeably in this translation. Jesus’ baptism and the forty days of wilderness temptations that followed evoke parallels with the historical narrative of the Hebrew exodus through the Red Sea and the forty years of wilderness testing.
  4. 4:4 Although Jesus refused to turn stones to bread, today he transforms the stony hearts of human beings and converts us into living bread to give to the nations.
  5. 4:4 Jesus, the living Word, is quoting from the written Word (Deut. 8:3). If the living Word used the written Word against the enemy’s temptations, how much more do we need the revelation of what has been written so that we can stand against all his snares? See 2 Tim. 2:24–25.
  6. 4:4 This is implied by both the Greek and Aramaic texts. Although this last clause is missing in some Greek manuscripts, it is included in the Aramaic.
  7. 4:5 Implied, for the Greek text simply says, “took him up,” without telling us where.
  8. 4:8 This is found in the majority of later manuscripts. See also Matt. 4:10.
  9. 4:8 Or “serve (as a priest) him.” See Deut. 6:13; 10:20.
  10. 4:10–11 The devil is quoting from Ps. 91:11–12, but he misapplies it.
  11. 4:12 See Deut. 6:16.
  12. 4:15 Synagogues were the meeting places for the Jewish people. Every village that had at least ten families would erect a meeting house where they would come and hear visiting teachers expound the Scriptures.
  13. 4:15 The Aramaic can be translated, “and he offered everyone glory!”
  14. 4:16–17 This is Netzaret, which is taken from the Hebrew word for “branch” or “sprout.” Descendants of King David founded this village (1 Sam. 16:1–13). Thus, the root of Jesse sprouted in Nazareth (Isa. 11:1).
  15. 4:16–17 It was the custom of the day to read the Scriptures in Hebrew and then paraphrase it into Aramaic, the common language of that day.
  16. 4:18–19 Or “good news.”
  17. 4:18–19 The Greek word is translated “gazed into heaven” in Mark 6:41.
  18. 4:18–19 Literally “prisoners of war.”
  19. 4:18–19 See Lev. 25:8–17; Isa. 58:6; 61:1–2. The Isaiah passage is associated with the proclamation of the Year of Jubilee. The Greek word used here implies a cycle of time. Jesus clearly defined his mission by reading these words of the prophet Isaiah.
  20. 4:18–19 Or “favor.” This phrase can be translated “the years when God will accept man.”
  21. 4:18–19 This is quoted from Isa. 61:1. Jesus spoke this bold decree over his life and identity before he worked miracles.
  22. 4:22 This is the inferred meaning of their criticism of Jesus. His true Father was not Joseph, but Yahweh.
  23. 4:26 Zarephath means “the place of refining.” Sidon means “fishery” and was a Phoenician seaport city.
  24. 4:27 Both the Aramaic and Greek texts have “Naaman the Aramean” or “descendant of Aram.” The Arameans inhabited what is now Syria. Naaman means “pleasantness.”
  25. 4:28 Jesus’ listeners got the point of his sermon. His statements implied that he would take his miracle ministry to non-Jewish people. Jubilee had come, not only for them, but for those they hated. This infuriated them enough to want to kill Jesus.
  26. 4:30 The Greek text clearly implies it was a supernatural event. After hearing Jesus’ first sermon, they wanted to throw him off a cliff!
  27. 4:31 Capernaum means “the village of Nahum” and Nahum means “comforted.” Jesus did many miracles and made his Galilean base of ministry in “the village of the comforted.”
  28. 4:32 The Greek word used here, ekplesso, is a strong verb that means “struck with amazement,” “astonished,” “panic stricken,” “shocked” or “something that takes your breath away” (like being hit with a blow), or “to expel,” “to drive out.” Jesus spoke with such glory and power emanating from him that his words were like thunderbolts into their hearts. May we hear his words today in the same way.
  29. 4:34 This is an assertive statement made by the demon to Jesus.
  30. 4:39 Five times in this chapter, Jesus corrects and rebukes various things and persons. He rebuked Satan (v. 8) and the unbelieving people in his hometown (vv. 23–27). Twice he rebuked demons (vv. 35 and 41). And in this verse, he rebukes fever.
  31. 4:40 People came before dark. The Sabbath, which was to be a day of rest for every Jew, began at sunset on Friday and ended at sunset on Saturday.
  32. 4:41 Or “Son of God.” El Shaddai is used to emphasize the Hebraic word for God Almighty. See footnote on Ps. 91:1.
  33. 4:43 The gospel includes the hope of an eternal kingdom. Conversion is more than believing a historical event but is found in the revelation of God’s kingdom realm that changes our hearts.