Palms Baptist Church Bible Study
Matthew 4:1-11: Chili Dogs and Jesus
July 13, 2021

Matthew 4:1-11: Chili Dogs and Jesus

July 13, 2021

  • To use the word “temptation” is inappropriate here. Reality is the “testing” or “trial” of Jesus
    • Temptation is a struggle to do something you shouldn’t do (certainly the case here), but testing or trial goes deeper. Testing is a metric of comparison…it’s a measurement.
    • Greek word here is “Peirazo” meaning “to put on trial or test for the purpose to ascertain quality, way of thinking, or way of behavior”
      • Marines must qualify with a rifle before they can execute a combat mission, this is Jesus’ rifle qualification!

If Christianity was illegal, would there be enough evidence to convict you? By what evidence would be used? By what evidence would Jesus use? What evidence would convict Jesus as the Son of God?

  • Jesus was tempted more than demonstrated here (See Hebrews 4:15), but these three temptation specifically associate Jesus to:
    • Israel in the wilderness
      • Deuteronomy 1:2 (11 day journey for Hebrews became a 40 year journey)
    • Expected characteristics of Jesus
      • Power
      • Glory
      • Authority
      • Salvation
      • Deliverance
    • Three identities Matthew seeks to prove
      • Jew (1st Temptation of bread)
      • Messiah (2nd temptation of Glory)
      • King (3rd Temptation to be Ruler over all the kingdoms)

Deuteronomy 1:2

 (It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road.)

Deuteronomy 8:1-5

“Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.”

Deuteronomy 6:13-16

13 Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16 Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah.

Matthew 4:1-11:

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

  • Everything Jesus says came from the heart, because the mind had broken down through starvation
    • Jesus entered the third stage of starvation “And he was hungry”
    • Battle between the flesh screaming “Eat food or you will Die” and God saying “Don’t eat food, you don’t live on bread alone” and Satan whispering “You’re the son of God and entitled to eat”

EX: My grandfather’s passing

  • Immediately follows from Spirit descending upon Christ and God stating “this is my son, whom I love”
    • Anytime God expresses a public love, anointing, blessing, or calling, Satan immediately attacks it
    • NOTE: Satan is NOT God’s equal
      • Satan is not all knowing (He learns from same revelations God makes) or from us (See 1 Peter 1:12)
      • Satan is not everywhere at once (led to wilderness vs. 1. Wilderness was a “place of testing”)
      • Satan is not All Powerful (Spirit led Him to temptation vs. 1, Christ commands Him to stop vs. 10)

 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]

Power of the Word “If”

  • Greek word = “Ean”
    • Generally transcribed as, “in case that” or “provided that”
      • Suggests an assumption of but NOT PROVEN truth
    • Derives from two other Greek words:
      • Greek word “Ea” meaning “conditional”
      • Greek word “an” meaning “a wish”

*The word Ean literally means “a wish with a condtion” (See John 14:15). Here is saying, “I wish to prove you are the son of God, so meet this condition to prove the wish”

*The scheme of Satan is to identify a common “wish” but change God’s condition of proof

      • IF you are saved…THEN why do you fear sinning?
      • IF you are holy…THEN why do you still sin?
      • IF God loves the world….THEN why so much pain, suffering, and trauma?

*The condition Satan put forth to prove Christ’s identity was POWER. The condition God puts forth to prove identity was OBEDIENCE

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[
c]Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]

  • Jesus being glorified as the Son of God is our purpose and God’s mission
      • Satan quotes Psalm 91 ironically and as a mockery
        • Psalm 91 was the ancient exorcism psalm
        • But it reminded Jesus to take refuge in God, pray, and a promise that God would deliver Satan over to Him (Psalm 91:11-15)

*One of the most biblically literate characters of the Bible was Satan.

      • Situation was a manufactured problem, not a REAL problem to address

*Satan sets a condition/situation of Psalm 91, but God again places the standard on OBEDIENCE

      • Here, Satan places Christ stand ABOVE God’s temple and Law

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

  • Jesus ruling over all kingdoms was promised, deserved, and end state of His mission
      • “bow” is more appropriately translated as “pay homage” (same word used for Magi in Matthew 2)
      • Satan trying to lead Jesus into idolatry
  • Everything Satan tested Jesus on was in context of Jesus’ mission
    • The temptation was not doing something God condemns, rather it was not doing it God’s way on God’s timing
      • God’s way: The cross
        • Christ’s glory and kingship gets accomplished through the cross
      • God’s timing: See Gospel of John “Hour of glorification has not yet come”

*Immature believer views life through the context of sin, mature believer through the lens of witness

*Immature believer views love for Jesus through the lens of emotion, mature believer views love through the lens of obedience (John 14:13).


  • If Christ failed, Christ would receive everything He already had/was owed, but without US. He endured it for US! Matthew 2 says His name is Emmanuel “God with US”, not “God with satan”
  • Nothing Jesus was “tempted” with was inherently wrong in itself
    • Its okay to eat when your hungry or feed hungry people
      • Its easy to serve and worship God with great circumstances
        • When I have a full belly, hydrated, bills are paid, and no chores on the house, serving God becomes more accommodating. But what if circumstances are not ideal?
  • Everything Satan tested Jesus on was feeding an abuse of power, talent, entitlement, position, and calling
    • Later, Jesus would perform miracles feeding people, but here, He won’t perform a miracle to feed Himself
    • Satan tempts Jesus with a common pride of life, “I’m the Son of God, people should know! Let me prove it”
      • Our application: People need to know how smart, strong, spiritual I am whether appropriately applied i.e. I do it because I can, not because its intently meaningful.

Examples of how WE abuse the talents, calling, positons, etc. God has given us?

  • Many comment that Jesus rebuttled with scripture; therefore, know scripture. However, the point was not that Christ knew scripture (it wasn’t some bible quiz), but that He knew it and how he APPLIED it in the most desparate moments of his life
    • Many believers say they love Jesus but it remains an unproven love
      • They know but don’t’ obey
    • Many believers know a lot of scripture, but don’t apply it or inappropriately apply it.

*The problem with sin is that usually it turns amazing, beautiful things into horrible, abusive things!

Guided Questions for Discussion

  1. Read Verse 1: Jesus was tempted by Satan, but tested by God the Father. Does knowing that God reigns supreme over your temptation, trials, and tests help you? How?
  2. Read verse 2-3: How has the word “If” influenced your life? Decisions? Confidence?
  3. The Greek word for “If” annotates a “wish” and a “condition.” Do you ever follow the conditions set by the world to prove your faith? Do you try to meet their conditions and appease their wishes? If so, what are their conditions? What are their wishes for believers? How do they differ from God’s?
  4. Read verse 4: What circumstances affect your witness and obedience? Finances? Hunger? Job?
  5. Read verses 5-7: Satan quotes Psalm 91. Do you think this encouraged or tempted Jesus? Why does Satan quote this verse? What’s his motive, or desired end state?
  6. The Greek word for “Took” implies being carried as one bound as a prisoner. What are some failures where satan has bound you and led you to sin? What are some victories when satan has bounded you?
  7. In Numbers 17, God intends to put the Hebrews to a test, but then the Hebrews turn it around and put God to the test which is quoted in Deuteronomy 8. How do we put God on trial in our own lives? How do we make Him prove Himself to us?
  8. Read verses 8-10: The most attractive temptation seemed to be the most appalling for Jesus. Reflect on how often we view idolatry and things God finds offensive (sin) as attractive and not appalling. How do we grow to a place to hate the things Jesus hates and love what Jesus loves?
  9. Read vs. 11: Even Jesus needed ministering. Are you someone who God can minister to? How do you respond to Christian accountability or church discipleship?
  10. Ultimately, what does the Testing of Jesus prove or show you? What did you learn from the study? What is your greatest takeaway?


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