led by the spirit: Or “led by the active force.” The Greek word pneuʹma here refers to God’s spirit, which can act as a driving force, moving a person to do things in accord with God’s will.—See Glossary, “Spirit.”
battlement of the temple: Or “highest point of the temple.” Lit., “wing of the temple.” The Greek word for “temple” can refer to the temple sanctuary or to the entire temple complex. Therefore, the expression could refer to the top of the wall surrounding the temple complex.
showed him: The ruler of the demons apparently caused Jesus to see a vision that appeared to be real.
kingdoms: Refers in a general sense to any or all human governments.
world: Renders the Greek word koʹsmos, here referring to unrighteous human society.
do an act of worship: The Greek verb that can be rendered “to worship” is here in the aorist tense, which indicates a momentary action. Rendering it “do an act of worship” shows that the Devil did not ask Jesus to do constant or continuous worship to him; it was a single “act of worship.”
Satan: From the Hebrew word sa·tanʹ, meaning “resister; adversary.”
and it is to him alone you must render sacred service: Or “and you must serve only him.” The Greek verb la·treuʹo basically means serving, but since it is used in the Christian Greek Scriptures in reference to serving or worshipping God, it can appropriately be translated “to render sacred service; to serve; to worship.” (Lu 1:74; 2:37; 4:8; Ac 7:7; Ro 1:9; Php 3:3; 2Ti 1:3; Heb 9:14; 12:28; Re 7:15; 22:3) At De 6:13, the verse Jesus quoted, the Hebrew word rendered “serve” is ʽa·vadhʹ. It also means “to serve” but may likewise be rendered “to worship.” (Ex 3:12; ftn.; 2Sa 15:8, ftn.) Jesus was determined to render Jehovah exclusive devotion.
look!: See study note on Mt 1:20.
Now when he heard: Between verse 11 and this verse, about a year has elapsed, and the events of Joh 1:29 through 4:3 take place during that interval. John’s account also adds the detail that when Jesus traveled from Judea into Galilee, he went via Samaria, where he met a Samaritan woman at a well near Sychar.—Joh 4:4-43; see App. A7, chart “The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry,” and Map 2.
Capernaum: From a Hebrew name meaning “Village of Nahum” or “Village of Comforting.” (Na 1:1, ftn.) A city of major importance in Jesus’ earthly ministry, it was located at the NW shore of the Sea of Galilee and was called “his own city” at Mt 9:1.
the districts of Zebulun and Naphtali: Refers to regions W and N of the Sea of Galilee in the northern extremity of Israel and includes the district of Galilee. (Jos 19:10-16, 32-39) Naphtali’s territory bordered the entire western shore of the Sea of Galilee.
to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: See study note on Mt 1:22.
the road of the sea: Possibly referring to an ancient road that ran along the Sea of Galilee and led to the Mediterranean Sea.
on the other side of the Jordan: In this context, evidently referring to the W side of the Jordan River.
Galilee of the nations: Isaiah may have used this description because Galilee formed the frontier between Israel and surrounding nations. The location of Galilee and the roads that ran through it resulted in greater interaction with those nations, making it susceptible to invasion and settlement by non-Israelites. By the first century, many non-Jews lived here, making the description even more fitting.
a great light: In fulfillment of Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy, Jesus performed much of his public ministry in Galilee, in the districts of Zebulun and Naphtali. (Mt 4:13, 15) Thus, Jesus brought spiritual enlightenment to those who were thought to be in spiritual darkness and who were held in contempt even by their fellow Jews in Judea.—Joh 7:52.
deathly shadow: Or “shadow of death.” Evidently, the term conveys the idea that death figuratively casts its shadow over people as it approaches them. Jesus, however, brought enlightenment that could remove the shadow and rescue people from death.
preaching: That is, publicly proclaiming.—See study note on Mt 3:1.
the Kingdom of the heavens has drawn near: This message of a new world government was the theme of Jesus’ preaching. (Mt 10:7; Mr 1:15) John the Baptist started to proclaim a similar message about six months prior to Jesus’ baptism (Mt 3:1, 2); yet Jesus could say with added meaning that the Kingdom had “drawn near,” since he was now present as the anointed King-Designate. There is no record that after Jesus’ death his disciples continued to proclaim that the Kingdom had “drawn near” or was at hand.
the Sea of Galilee: A freshwater inland lake in northern Israel. (The Greek word translated “sea” may also mean “lake.”) It has been called the Sea of Chinnereth (Nu 34:11), the lake of Gennesaret (Lu 5:1), and the Sea of Tiberias (Joh 6:1). It lies an average of 210 m (700 ft) below sea level. It is 21 km (13 mi) long from N to S and 12 km (8 mi) wide, and its greatest depth is about 48 m (160 ft).—See App. A7, Map 3B, “Activity at the Sea of Galilee.”
casting a net: An able fisherman, wading or in a small boat, could toss a circular net in such a way that it would land flat on the water’s surface. The net, perhaps 6-8 m (20-25 ft) in diameter, was weighted around its perimeter so that it would sink and trap the fish.
fishermen: Fishing was a common occupation in Galilee. Peter and his brother Andrew were not lone fishermen but were engaged in a fishing business, evidently associated with James and John, the sons of Zebedee.—Mr 1:16-21; Lu 5:7, 10.
fishers of men: A play on words based on the occupation of Simon and Andrew. It indicates that they would be “catching people alive” for the Kingdom. (Lu 5:10, ftn.) The implication may also be that, like fishing, disciple-making would be strenuous, labor-intensive work that required perseverance but sometimes produced few results.
followed him: Peter and Andrew had already been Jesus’ disciples for some six months to a year. (Joh 1:35-42) Now Jesus invites them to leave their fishing business and follow him full-time.—Lu 5:1-11; see study note on Mt 4:22.
James . . . and his brother John: James is always mentioned along with his brother John, and in the majority of instances, he is mentioned first. This may indicate that he was the older of the two.—Mt 4:21; 10:2; 17:1; Mr 1:29; 3:17; 5:37; 9:2; 10:35, 41; 13:3; 14:33; Lu 5:10; 6:14; 8:51; 9:28, 54; Ac 1:13.
Zebedee: Possibly Jesus’ uncle by marriage to Salome, the sister of Jesus’ mother, Mary. If so, John and James were Jesus’ cousins.—See study note on Mr 15:40.
At once they left: The Greek word eu·theʹos, rendered “at once,” occurs both here and in verse 20. Like Peter and Andrew, James and John quickly respond to Jesus’ invitation to follow him full-time.
went throughout the whole of Galilee: This marks the beginning of Jesus’ first preaching tour of Galilee with his four recently selected disciples—Peter, Andrew, James, and John.—Mt 4:18-22; see App. A7.
teaching . . . preaching: Teaching differs from preaching in that the teacher does more than proclaim; he instructs, explains, uses persuasive arguments, and offers proof.—See study notes on Mt 3:1; 28:20.
synagogues: See Glossary, “Synagogue.”
the good news: First occurrence of the Greek word eu·ag·geʹli·on, rendered “gospel” in some English Bibles. A related Greek expression eu·ag·ge·li·stesʹ, rendered “evangelizer,” means “a proclaimer of good news.”—Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11, ftn.; 2Ti 4:5, ftn.
Syria: That is, the Roman province of Syria, a Gentile region N of Galilee, between Damascus and the Mediterranean Sea.
epileptic: The Greek term literally means “be moonstruck.” (Some older translations use “lunatic.”) However, Matthew employs the term in a medical sense, not superstitiously associating the disease with certain phases of the moon. The symptoms that Matthew, Mark, and Luke describe are certainly those associated with epilepsy.
the other side of the Jordan: In this context, evidently referring to the region E of the Jordan River, also known as Perea (from the Greek word peʹran, meaning “the other side; beyond”).