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Wesley's Notes on the Bible
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IV

1. Then - After this glorious evidence of his Father's love, he was completely armed for the combat. Thus after the clearest light and the strongest consolation, let us expect the sharpest temptations. By the Spirit - Probably through a strong inward impulse. Mark i, 12; Luke iv, 1.

2. Having fasted - Whereby doubtless he received more abundant spiritual strength from God. Forty days and forty nights - As did Moses, the giver of the law, and Elijah, the great restorer of it. He was afterward hungry - And so prepared for the first temptation.

3. Coming to him - In a visible form; probably in a human shape, as one that desired to inquire further into the evidences of his being the Messiah.

4. It is written - Thus Christ answered, and thus we may answer all the suggestions of the devil. By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God - That is, by whatever God commands to sustain him. Therefore it is not needful I should work a miracle to procure bread, without any intimation of my Father's will. Deut. viii, 3.

5. The holy city - So Jerusalem was commonly called, being the place God had peculiarly chosen for himself. On the battlement of the temple - Probably over the king's gallery, which was of such a prodigious height, that no one could look down from the top of it without making himself giddy.

6. In their hands - That is, with great care. Psalm xci, 11, 12.

7. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God - By requiring farther evidence of what he hath already made sufficiently plain. Deut. vi, 16.

8. Showeth him all the kingdoms of the world - In a kind of visionary representation.

9. If thou wilt fall down and worship me - Here Satan clearly shows who he was. Accordingly Christ answering this suggestion, calls him by his own name, which he had not done before.

10. Get thee hence, Satan - Not, get thee behind me, that is, into thy proper place; as he said on a quite different occasion to Peter, speaking what was not expedient. Deut. vi, 13.

11. Angels came and waited upon him - Both to supply him with food, and to congratulate his victory.

12. He retired into Galilee - This journey was not immediately after his temptation. He first went from Judea into Galilee, John i, 43; ii, 1. Then into Judea again, and celebrated the passover at Jerusalem, John ii, 13. He baptized in Judea while John was baptizing at Enon, John iii, 22, 23. All this time John was at liberty, John iii, 24. But the Pharisees being offended, John iv, 1; and John put in prison, he then took this journey into Galilee. Mark i, 14.

13. Leaving Nazareth - Namely, when they had wholly rejected his word, and even attempted to kill him, Luke iv, 29.

15. Galilee of the Gentiles - That part of Galilee which lay beyond Jordan was so called, because it was in a great measure inhabited by Gentiles, that is, heathens. Isaiah ix, 1, 2.

16. Here is a beautiful gradation, first, they walked, then they sat in darkness, and lastly, in the region of the shadow of death.

17. From that time Jesus began to preach - He had preached before, both to Jews and Samaritans, John iv, 41, 45. But from this time begin his solemn stated preaching. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand - Although it is the peculiar business of Christ to establish the kingdom of heaven in the hearts of men, yet it is observable, he begins his preaching in the same words with John the Baptist: because the repentance which John taught still was, and ever will be, the necessary preparation for that inward kingdom. But that phrase is not only used with regard to individuals in whom it is to be established, but also with regard to the Christian Church, the whole body of believers. In the former sense it is opposed to repentance; in the latter the Mosaic dispensation.

18. Mark i, 16; Luke v, 1.

23. The Gospel of the kingdom - The Gospel, that is, the joyous message, is the proper name of our religion: as will be amply verified in all who earnestly and perseveringly embrace it.

24. Through all Syria - The whole province, of which the Jewish country was only a small part. And demoniacs - Men possessed with devils: and lunatics, and paralytics - Men ill of the palsy, whose cases were of all others most deplorable and most helpless.

25. Decapolis - A tract of land on the east side of the sea of Galilee, in which were ten cities near each other.

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