By Pastor Mark Jordan
“Jesus replied, ‘It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God.'” (Matthew 4:4, CEB)
Today’s verse comes from the account of Jesus’ temptation by Satan in the wilderness. Jesus underwent the torment to make sure He was ready for His public ministry. There, He fasted for forty days, and was hungry. The devil told Jesus that He had the power to turn stones into loaves of bread. No doubt Jesus had that power, but He knew He wasn’t to use it for His own benefit; therefore, the temptation wasn’t just about food, but following God’s desire to show the way to Him through sacrifice and service.
Part of what made Jesus’ temptation so nefarious is Satan used Scripture. That is an important thing to remember! Satan used and abused God’s gift to humanity to try and get Jesus to make it all about Him. Friends, that is something we all struggle with…we want things our way right away. So Jesus had to ensure that as He battled the temptation, He kept His focus on God, and used Scripture to parry Satan’s attack.
Pay attention to how Jesus used Scripture in that exchange: “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God.'” What strikes me is how Jesus was essentially speaking about Himself, but not in an egotistical way. Consider how Jesus is also known as the Bread of Life (John 6:35), and the Word of God (John 1:1-2). Later, the Apostle Paul wrote in what we know as Ephesians 6:17 that God gives us the sword of the spirit, which is the very word of God.
Jesus was equipped for the temptation He faced by knowing His role and knowing God’s Word. He internalized God’s Word as spiritual food so He could face and vanquish the temptation to listen to the growl of his belly over the heartbeat of eternity. All of this brings to bear what God told the prophet Ezekiel on his own mission. I want to leave you with some words from him. Will you chew on them? Will you allow them to nourish you and strengthen you? People are counting on you, and Satan is looking for any little way to twist and distort God’s holy Word. You need the sweetness inside you so you can tell it apart from the bitter lies of the enemy.
- Ezekiel 3:1-3, “ “
- Ezekiel 3:10, “Then (God) said, ‘Son of man, get all these words that I’m giving you inside you. Listen to them obediently. Make them your own.'”
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for giving me your holy Word. I know it isn’t just letters on a page, but your very spirit, given me by Jesus. Help me not just to feed on you, but feast, so I am strong and well nourished for whatever challenges I face. I ask this in Jesus’ holy name, amen.