Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River
Jesus at Galilee
Matthew iv: 1 to
Mark i: 12, 13;
Luke iv: 1 to 13;
John i: 29 to
earliest years of Jesus the Holy Spirit of God was
with him, growing as he grew. And in the hour when
he was baptized and the form of a dove was seen
hovering over him, Jesus was filled with the Holy
Spirit as no man before him had been filled, for he
was the Son of God. At that hour he knew more fully
than he had ever known before that work that he
should do to save men. The Spirit of God sent Jesus
into the desert, there to be for a time alone with
God and to plan out his work for men.
So earnest was the thought of Jesus in the desert,
so full was his union with God, that for forty days
he never once ate anything, or felt any wish for
food. But when the forty days were ended, then
suddenly hunger came upon him, and he felt faint and
starving, as any other man would feel who had fasted
for so long a time.
At that moment Satan, the evil spirit, came to Jesus
as he comes to us, and put a thought into his mind.
It was this thought:
"If you are the Son of God, you can do whatever you
please, and can have whatever you wish. Why do you
not command that these stones be turned into loaves
of bread for you to eat?"
Jesus knew that he could do this, but he knew also
that this power had been given to him, not for
himself, but that he might help others. He said to
the evil spirit, "It is written in God's book 'Man
shall not live by bread alone, but by every word
that cometh out of the mouth of God.' "
Then the evil spirit led Jesus to Jerusalem, the
holy city, and brought him to the top of a high
tower on the Temple, and said to him, "Now show all
the people that you are the Son of God by throwing
yourself down to the ground. You know that it is
written in the book of Psalms, 'He shall give his
angels charge over thee; and in their hands they
shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy
foot against a stone.' "
But Jesus knew that this would not be right, for it
would be done not to please God, but to show himself
before men and as a trial of God's power, when God
himself had not commanded it. He answered, "It is
written again, 'Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy
Again the evil spirit tried to lead Jesus into doing
wrong, as he leads us all. He led him to the top of
a high mountain, and caused a vision of all the
kingdoms of the world and their glory to stand
before the eyes of Jesus. Then he said, "All these
shall be yours; you shall be the king of all the
earth if you will only fall down and worship me."
Then Jesus said to him, "Leave me, Satan, thou evil
spirit! For it is written, 'Thou shalt worship the
Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.' "
When Satan found that Jesus would not listen to him,
he left him; and then the angels of God came to
Jesus in the desert and gave to him the food that he
After this victory over the evil spirit, Jesus went
again from the desert to the place at the river
Jordan where he had been baptized. It was near a
city sometimes called Bethabara, a word which means
"a place of crossing," because it was one of the
places where the river Jordan was so shallow that
the people could walk across it. The city was called
also "Bethany beyond Jordan," so that it would not
be mistaken for another Bethany on the Mount of
Olives, very near Jerusalem.
There John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him,
and he said, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away
the sin of the world! This is the one of whom I
spoke, saying, 'There is One coming after me who is
greater than I.' This is the Son of God."
And again, the next morning, John the Baptist was
standing with two young men, his followers. They
were fishermen who had come from the Sea of Galilee
to hear him. One was named Andrew, and the other
John. John the Baptist saw Jesus walking near by,
and he said again, "Behold the Lamb of God!"
When the two young men heard this they left John and
went to speak with Jesus, although they had not
known him before. Jesus saw that they were following
him, and he said, "What is it that you wish from
They said to him, "Master, we would like to know
where you are staying, so that we can see you and
talk with you."
Jesus said to them, "Come and see."
They went with Jesus and saw where he was staying,
and stayed and talked with him, and listened to his
words all the rest of that day, for it was about ten
o'clock in the morning when they first saw Jesus.
And these two young men went away from the meeting
with Jesus, believing that Jesus was the Saviour and
the King of Israel. These two, Andrew and John, were
the first two men, after John the Baptist, to
believe in Jesus.
Each of these two men had a brother whom he wished
might know Jesus. Andrew's brother was named Simon,
and John's brother was named James. These four men
were all fishermen together upon the Sea of Galilee.
Andrew found his brother first and he said to him,
"We have found the Anointed One, the Christ who is
to be the King of Israel."
 And Andrew brought his brother to meet Jesus.
Jesus saw him coming, and without waiting to hear
his name, he said, "Your name is Simon, and you are
the son of Jonas. But I will give you a new name.
You shall be called 'The Rock.' "
The word "rock" in Hebrew, the language of the Jews,
was "Cephas," and in Greek, the language in which
the New Testament was written, it is "Petros," or
Peter. So from that time Simon was called Simon
Peter, that is, "Simon the Rock." So now Jesus had
three followers, Andrew, John, and Simon Peter. The
next day he was going back to Galilee, the part of
the land where was his home, he met another man
named Philip, who had also come from Galilee. He
said to Philip, "Follow me."
And Philip went with Jesus as the fourth of his
followers. Philip found a friend, whose name was
Nathanael. He came from a place in Galilee, called
Cana. Philip said to Nathanael, "We have  found
the one of whom Moses wrote in the law, and of whom
the prophets spoke, the Anointed Christ. It is Jesus
Nathanael lived not many miles from Nazareth, and he
did not think that such a place as Nazareth could
have in it one so great as the Christ, whom the Jews
looked for as their king. He said to Philip, rather
in scorn, "Can there any good thing come out of
Philip knew that if Nathanael could only meet Jesus
and hear his words he would believe in him, as the
others believed. He said to Nathanael, "Come and see
him for yourself."
And he brought Nathanael to Jesus. As soon as Jesus
saw him he said, "Here is an Israelite indeed, a man
Nathanael was surprised at this, and he said to
Jesus, "Master, how did you know me?"
"Before Philip called you, when you were standing
under the fig-tree, I saw you," said Jesus.
At this Nathanael wondered all the more, for he saw
that Jesus knew what no man could know. He said,
"Master, thou art the Son of God! Thou art the King
Jesus said to Nathanael, "Do you believe in me
because I tell you that I saw you under the
fig-tree? You shall see greater things than these.
The time shall come when you will see heaven opened,
and the angels of God going up and coming down
through me, the Son of God."
Jesus had now five followers. These men and others
who walked with him, and listened to his words, were
called "disciples," a word which means "learners."
Jesus at Galilee