Rock Eating, Building Leaping, Devil Worshiper (Sympathizing With the Temptations of Christ) Part 3
Continued from - http://www.feelmyfaith.com/2013/03/rock-eating-building-leaping-devil.html in which we asked can Jesus really sympathize with our temptations?
Turning stone into bread. Satisfy myself anytime I have the power to do so.
In the first temptation Satan sort of pokes at Jesus nature. He knows Jesus is the Son of God, there is no question here. What Satan is saying is I know you are hungry, and as the son of God why don’t you do something well within your power, it should be no problem for you to just turn these stones into bread and eat them. Use your power to satisfy your hunger.
If you can do it, why not?
Jesus beats back the temptation by quoting from Deuteronomy 8 where Moses is talking about the manna in the wilderness. This moment for Israel was supposed to teach them that ultimately you are powerless, but it is God’s Word that provides for your life. All God has to do is say it and you have what you need. We shouldn’t starve for bread as much as we should starve for God.
But this is our problem. We make our whole lives about bread. We become indulgent and we grow to think that if I have the ability to have it, then I can satisfy that desire anytime I want. If I have the money, well then its no question, why not just buy what I can buy? Or if I’m sitting on a computer which is virtually nothing but a rock in and of itself; and I can turn it on and produce pictures, videos, and conversations that satisfy my desires, then why not do it and satisfy myself? I’m hungry, I’m single, my wife and I are having problems, I’m bored, I’m a man and I have needs - life is not easy in the wilderness is it?
The temptation here ultimately leads you to think that in the wilderness you don’t need God, all you need is bread, the ability to have what you want when you want it. But enduring temptation teaches us that our physical appetites are not the most important. Enduring temptation teaches us that our spiritual needs are more important than our physical ones. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?”, Jesus asked in Matthew 16:26?
The temptation for bread will tell you that the money you have is yours and that you should use it for no other reason but to satisfy yourself. By doing so you become immune that there is any governance of God in your life over your means. What if He wants you to do something else with your paycheck? Maybe he doesn’t want you to stand at the Redbox like a monkey punching a button for food and spend $35 in a weekend watching movies. Have you considered that there may be $15 or $20 God wants you to save for something else, or to give it away to someone in need? When we go to buy a car the first thing the salesman will ask us in a roundabout way is how much can we afford? And we will buy it to the penny of our means and probably most of the time a few dollars more. Why? Because we can make bread.
Jesus was hungry. The problem was not his inability to turn stones into bread. In Luke 19:40 Jesus said that even the rocks would worship Him. So why not flip the switch, pull the lever, satisfy your hunger in the moment? The problem was that it was not the will of God for Him at the time.
When we live only for bread, eventually we will find ourselves in the wilderness with no thought of God, with no sense of His leadership in our lives. All we are doing then is going through a time that should be one of the most meaningful experiences in our lives, in which God is trying to wean us off of the appetites of the world, but all we want to do is use our means to turn every stone we can get our hands on into bread. When does it end? So Jesus stops Satan and basically says, “Yeah, I can do it, but that is not what God has for me right now. I’m living under the guidance of God’s Word, not by my power to make bread.”
This is not an easy temptation with which to deny long-term. Give it 40 days without the pics on the internet, without as much food as you can possibly eat, without buying everything you want, without _______ you fill in the blank. Give it 40 days and see if you are not ready to eat a rock! But if you are honest enough to confess your indulgent self and recognize it for what it is, Jesus can sympathize even with that and He can guide you through it. Why, because He’s been there.
to be continued . . .