Stones to Bread
Matthew 4:3 ESV
Matthew 4:4 ESV
Hebrews 2:17-18 ESV
Hebrews 4:15 ESV
Deuteronomy 8:3 ESV
In Matthew 4 we’ve read several accounts where the devil tempted Jesus to perform “tricks” in order to prove He was the Son of God.
I came to that conclusion after reading and re-reading Matthew 4. After reading it numerous times it seemed like the devil was trying to set up a circus show so he could sell tickets and make money off of Jesus’ tricks.
But…here’s the catch. Jesus really was and is the Son of God so even though He had been in the wilderness for a really long time, and He was really hungry and thirsty, and really really tired of Satan’s games, He could see right through him.
This time the devil taunted Jesus with stones. In Matthew 4:3 we read, “And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
This was more than a trick. The devil was using Jesus’ title to get His attention. Satan challenged Jesus by saying ‘IF You are the Son of God, THEN’…prove it.
What’s amazing to me is not that Jesus didn’t take the bait. A lesser human who was really hungry and thirsty, and really really tired would have been tempted to take evasive action. Jesus did not. The amazing part is that He showed no signs of walking away.
What we know is that not only could Jesus have walked away, He could have turned on Satan. He could have challenged him, but He didn’t.
We learn in Matthew 4:4 that Jesus, “answered, “It is written, ‘‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
As I read this chapter over and over again I found myself wondering why Jesus continued to calmly answer every challenge He was given. I mean…why did Jesus hang in there? He had to have known He was not going to turn Satan to the good side. Jesus was led to the wilderness in order to be tempted. But, why?
So, I did some digging.
Hebrews 2:17-18 gives us a clue, “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
In my mind three things jumped out. First, he wasn’t forced to be tempted. He offered himself up. According to Hebrews 2:17 it was so he could be made to be like us so he would understand. Second, offering to be tempted by Satan would make Him a “merciful and faithful” high priest who WAS offering and WOULD offer Himself to die for our sins.
And the third, in Hebrews 2:18, because Jesus had been tempted and He suffered as a result of that temptation, He can understand how we feel and help us when we suffer.
It really was for a reason. That’s why Jesus stayed calm and carried on with Satan.
It was for us.
It was because when we suffer, He GETS it.
So, I have a really good friend who I dearly love who is suffering with cancer. She’s the same age as my youngest child. She is suffering and I hate that. I’ve found that when I’ve prayed for her my words fail me. So lately I’ve been sitting with Jesus in silence. In that silence I have experienced Jesus’ anguish for her. I ask Jesus to sit with her and hold her.
According to Hebrews 2:17-18, that’s why Jesus offered to be tempted by Satan. Because Jesus was tempted and suffered, He really does GET our suffering. He knows what it’s like.
Jesus really does know what my dear friend is going through.
Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
In every respect Jesus understands.
He understands why my lovely friend is afraid. He understands why she feels helpless. He gets her/our anxiety.
In the same way, when the children of God were in the wilderness, they were afraid and felt helpless. Egypt was behind them and they didn’t know what their future home looked like. Every day when they woke up they didn’t know where they could find food, so, in Deuteronomy 8:3 we learn, “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
God let them hunger for a little while so they would turn to God and rely on God every day.
Not knowing where your next meal will come from is frightening. Not knowing what tomorrow will bring when you have cancer inside you is unbelievably awful.
Jesus knows how we feel.
He gets it.
The reason He gets it is that he offered Himself to be tempted in the wilderness.
Even though I hurt for my friend and I long for her healing, what I really really long for is that she will know (and feel) that Jesus is right there with her and He gets it. He understands what it’s like to suffer.
So, I ask Jesus to hold her. I ask Him to whisper words of love to her. I ask Jesus to heal her inside and out.
And I thank God that He sent His Son to suffer with us.
Spiritual Practice: Pray
Pray for someone you know who is suffering. If no one comes to mind, pray for my lovely friend who is suffering. Ask Jesus to heal their suffering.
In God, Deborah