This week I had the unique experience of covering the whole chapter of Matthew 4. On Monday evening I guest preached at a congregation using the 3-Year Lectionary text of Matthew 4:12-25 (Epiphany 3 A). On Tuesday morning I took part in a group study of Matthew 4:1-11 (Lent I, both 3-Year A and Historic Lectionary). These unique circumstances in the same week brought together both lectionaries for an opportunity to read through the whole chapter.
Matthew 4 is also in a unique position. Placed between the baptism of the Lord (3) and Jesus' teaching on the mount (5-7), Jesus is tempted in the wilderness (4:1-11) begins to preach, calls the first disciples and heals the sick and demon-possessed (4:12-25). When John is put in prison, the message doesn't change. The Lord preaches repentance and the nearness of the kingdom of heaven.
The is the same Gospel that Peter, Andrew, James, John and the other Apostles will continue to preach as the Church takes shape. Matthew 4 reminds us that man continues to live "by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (4:4)