Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 4:4
“And Jesus answered him, it is written, MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.” – Luke 4:4
I am starting 2022 by looking at verses that are specific quotes of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today we will look at the first mentioned temptation of Jesus.
Chapter starts with Jesus returning from the Jordan. “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days; and when they had ended, He became hungry.” Luke 4:1-2. This verse shows us what Jesus went through during these temptations. It starts out with a positive note, being that He was led about by the Holy Spirit. He was not alone in this, just as we who are Christians are never alone during difficult times. Also, He was tempted for forty days. It was not just the three temptations that are recorded here along with Matthew and Mark, which were the culmination of this testing period. And finally, it alludes to these forty days as a long period of fasting. “And He ate nothing during those days” Luke 4:2b.
Now, it says at the end of verse two that He became hungry after these forty days of fasting. Satan then takes the opportunity to tempt Him. “And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Luke 4:3. In this first temptation of the final three, Satan is speaking to Jesus at this point of obvious need; He was no doubt very hungry. He starts by saying, if You are the Son of God. There is no doubt that he is God’s Son. The devil thus affirms Jesus’ divine sonship but tempts him to deploy it for purposes other than God’s will. God had a purpose for this fasting, and it was not up to Satan to decide when this time should be over. This temptation in and of itself was not sin, therefore the sin goes beyond simply turning stones into bread to eat it. It has everything to do with who does He follow.
Now, as we come to our focus verse, we see His response. It is interesting to note that the restraint and focus of Jesus in response to the temptation is instructive. He does not exert his superior power or expose the devil’s deception. He invokes the Word of God, thus obliging the devil to face his ultimate adversary. Jesus quotes God’s words as found in Deuteronomy. “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 8:3. This answer is a somewhat technical phrase that implies the full authority of God Himself. In the quote from Deuteronomy, Moses reminded the Israelites who were in the wilderness that they should trust God’s word rather than the manna He gave them. That man, even without the use of food, may see his life lengthened and sustained by any means whatsoever which God may choose to strengthen the body. In other words: God does not need His miraculous power in order to address painful hunger, for He possesses innumerable means, and Jesus will await the way which the Father may please to use.
And this is an important understanding we need to have. When we, as Christians, are led by the Holy Spirit, we may find ourselves in a difficult place, however we have nothing to fear for as long as we follow the Spirit all will be OK. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. There is nothing too difficult for God, and there is nothing He does not know or understand. And He will take care of us in times of need. “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. However, it is important that we understand two things. First, we must be able to see the difference between needs and wants. Jesus knew that food was important, but not the highest need. God’s word and ways should always take precedence over food or any need we have. And second, we must follow the ways of God to receive what we truly need. And if man’s ways contradict His ways, then we must ignore those solutions just as Jesus ignored Satan’s solution. God’s ways should always come first. For He knows what is best. Trusting God in all things is the life we are called to. Let us all focus on making this our reality.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.