Looking Back Over Jesus’ Life
A reflection on the Temptation Story
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,
“One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
I have found in my life as a Christian that faith can be refined in the fires of temptation. In Matthew’s account of the temptations of Jesus, there are three basic ways that His faith was tested. The first had to do with his stomach and human appetites.
After a 40 day fast, we find that the devil came to our famished Lord and suggested that one way to prove that he was “The Son of God” would be to turn some of the stones that were strewn around in the dessert into tasty loaves of bread. Jesus’ stomach probably sounded a rumble in support of Satan’s suggestion, but Jesus put aside physical enjoyment in order to stay focused on God alone.
There are times in my life and faith when I need to “tame the tummy” (and other appetites) so that my primary focus stays on God. While writing on the Christian practice of fasting, author and fellow Christian Richard Foster talks about our need, from time to time, to deal with our hunger like a child that is throwing a fit. We might want to try, just one day, telling our belly no, and spending a mealtime or two in more scripture reading and prayer. What do we find out about our life and life itself when we truly act like “we do not live by bread alone, but instead every word that comes from the mouth of God”?
God, let me spend a little more time growing in my relationship with You. Speak to me as I listen, in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus. Amen.