“Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But Jesus told him, ‘No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:1-4, NLT).
During Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, he fasted. Fasting, the practice of going without food, and perhaps even water, was used as a way to focus on prayer and preparation. As a human being, Jesus experienced hunger and thirst; in fact, he must have been famished and physically weak after forty days. Satan’s first temptation hit Jesus where he was most vulnerable.
This is Satan’s typical method of operation, attacking where we are vulnerable and making the choice seem simple and logical: ‘Just turn some of these stones into bread and have yourself a small meal.’ What could possibly be so wrong about that? But more was going on here than a seemingly compassionate suggestion for a hungry person to have lunch.
Satan began by saying, “IF you are the Son of God.” Satan was tempting Jesus with his own power. Satan did not doubt that Jesus was the Son of God or that he could indeed make bread from stones. He wanted Jesus to use his power in the wrong way at the wrong time – to meet his own needs rather than fulfil his God-given mission. (God-given power or authority or title shouldn’t be use for our own personal needs. It is for us to serve others). But instead of getting into a discussion or debate with Satan as what Eve had done in Genesis 3:1-7, Jesus refused to entertain any doubt of God’s loving provision. He answered by quoting Scripture. God’s Word is powerful to fight against Satan’s temptation. Keep this in mind: Jesus came to earth to accomplish the Father’s mission. Everything he said and did was directed toward that goal. For Jesus, obedience to the Father’s mission was more important than food – no matter how he felt, no matter what Satan said.
Think about this: This first temptation was physical, often called “the lust of the flesh” (1 John 2:16). Eating is not wrong; we have to eat to live. But one of Satan’s strategies is to take something natural and good and tempt us to use it the wrong way or/and at the wrong time. Our natural desires are good, but they can drive us to sin if we’re not careful. Ask yourself, how might meeting a physical need distract us from focusing well on God? What physical temptation troubles you most? What can you do to resist? Pray to God to help you fulfil your natural physical desires only in the right ways, at the right time – and equip yourself with God’s Word.
‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
Life Application Study Bible Devotional: Daily Wisdom from the Life of Jesus (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2011)