When was the last time you were so hungry that a rock looked appetizing? Been a while? Geological formations have ever whet my palette, however, Jesus did have a moment where stones looked as good as bread. We pick up in Matthew chapter 4 where the Devil/Satan/Lucifer/Prince of Darkness is attempting to lure Jesus to act out of character by changing rocks into bread.
Fasting is a long practiced discipline by every religion in the world. Muslims fast during Ramadan. Jews fast during Yom Kippur. Christians fast during Lent. Buddhists and the Hindi fast as well. For the Christian fasting is a moment to connect with God through self-denial. It’s not earned holiness or salvation; that comes by grace alone. Fasting is more of an expression of dependence on God rather than self.
In this story Jesus is forty days into his fast and, I absolutely love this line…
“He Was Hungry.”
This is a moment where, if I’m Matthew’s editor, I look at him with a “are you serious” face. Duh! Of course he’s hungry. He might be God, but He’s man too! In this time of vulnerability and physical shock, the tempter comes to tempt (cause that’s what tempters do).
The tempters proposition is a conditional statement. IF and THEN. IF you are the son of God, (THEN) command these stones to become bread. I don’t know about you, but in my head comes the picture of Wyl E. Coyote imagining the Road Runner looking like a cooked goose.
Rocks surrounded Jesus in the desert. At any moment He could have turned the arid Middle East into a full on Golden Corral buffet. What’s interesting in Jesus’ response is not that He shouldn’t do that on moral grounds. What Jesus says makes a declaration about what makes humanity tick; about what makes him tick.
It’s not bread that makes us go. It’s not our sustenance that makes us move. It is the very words God breathes out that enables and empowers us.
The beginning of John’s Gospel makes clear what, or who, God’s word is.
“In the beginning was the WORD, the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” – John 1:1
Jesus is God’s WORD
The most delightful thing to me about what Jesus says here, is that HE IS HIS OWN SUSTENANCE! He doesn’t need rocks to eat. He made the rocks in the beginning. Through suffering pain of lacking food for forty days Jesus has the foresight to declare that it is God (Himself) that sustains all mankind.
Where I lack, and I lack very much in very many places, Jesus is my sustenance. He sustains me. Not only through my physical hunger, but through my spiritual hunger as well. It is God’s WORD breathed out that completes me.
When life comes at us it’s easy to turn to the easy way out by just eating rocks. Jesus says to us that He will sustain us. We don’t need to turn to our own efforts to make it through life. Relying on Jesus and the WORD of God breathed out will carry us on day by day.
Thanks for reading.
If Jesus did it, we should do it (please talk to a doctor before you embark on any lengthened fast). If Jesus said it, we should believe it. If Jesus commanded it, we should obey it.
Not blindly like a dumb sheep, but boldly like a dumb sheep with a Good Shepherd.
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I’d love to share a conversation with you about anything. I’ve got lots of room in my heart for lots of friends.