By Ellen Ceely
“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” Luke 4:1–4
Imagine that you’ve been in a wilderness for forty days, and every day you’ve been tempted by the devil to do something or say something you know is wrong. At the end of those forty days, the devil tempts you with some food. The wilderness is not known for food or water, and you’re famished. You’ve been dreaming about food. If you weren’t so thirsty, your mouth would water at the thought of food. How would you respond?
Jesus turned water into wine and raised Lazarus from the dead. I have no doubt that he also could have turned stones into bread. Would that have been wrong? Not necessarily. But it would have been wrong to make bread in obedience to the devil. It would have been wrong to pridefully “prove himself” as the Son of God.
Instead of listening to the devil’s temptations, Jesus recalled his father’s goodness. He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, “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.”
Deuteronomy 8 carries words of warning from God to Israel: Don’t forget who God is and how he cared for you in the wilderness. Just as Israel was sustained by the power and grace of God, so also Jesus was strengthened by the words of his Heavenly Father. “Full of the Holy Spirit” (v. 1), Jesus needed no other approval than that which God had already granted him. Jesus had nothing to prove.
Jesus used God’s Word to resist temptation. This week, what verse can you memorize to help you resist temptation with the Spirit’s help? How do Jesus’s actions challenge you to walk in faith and obedience to God? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Why is trust so difficult? Unlike all the broken promises of this world, God’s redeeming promises are absolute, trustworthy, and true. The covenants of God afford us with abundant reasons to trust God with his plan for our lives. Trusting God: Redeeming Promises of the Word small group Bible study explores the six major redeeming promises of God found in his Word. Learn more about God’s commitment to his people, the nature of a covenant, and how you can find your security in being a child of God’s redeeming promises. Learn more about God’s promises today.
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