Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 4:3
“And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” – Matthew 4:3
Over these three days we will be looking at, in Matthew, the temptation of Jesus. There were three specifically mentioned in Matthew 4, which we will address. God sent Him out to be tempted. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1. These three testings’ were not for God to see what happens, for God knows all things. Isaiah said the following regarding this idea. “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” Isaiah 46:9-10. God also is showing the contrast between Adam and Eve and the Christ. Jesus proved Himself by not giving into Satan’s temptation as Adam and Eve did, which was not to God but to the world. Also, temptations itself is not a sin, but our response may be.
The first temptation regarded hunger. “And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.” Matthew 4:2. It is possible to go forty days without food but not without water, especially in an arid environment. The understatement regarding Jesus’ hunger is probably intended to illustrate the serious handicap He had in this battle. The tempter Satan’s words show that Jesus truly was the Son of God. Stewart Weber in his commentary states this might be better translated “Since you are the Son of God”. Satan knew who He was and made it very plain that he did. This same wording is used later in Matthew by the unbelievers who ridiculed Jesus on the cross. “And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Matthew 27:39:40. I believe this was not a coincidence and that they were lured into using these same words by Satan, who used them first in our focus verse.
This first temptation was Satan tempting Him to rely on Himself instead of on the Father. Jesus often stated this, but no clearer than here. “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:37-38. This temptation follows the pattern found in the first epistle of John. “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” 1 John 2:15-16. Jesus was not going to allow His hunger to cause Him to go against the will and the desires of the Father. The Father sent Him out to be tested. Would He rely on the Father or His own ways? His answer was clear. “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.” He quoted Moses as found in Deuteronomy 8:3. Food is important, but it is not our primary provision for life, but rather God’s word, every word that God has spoken to His people. In other words, we must place an emphasis and priority on our spiritual needs over our earthly needs.
And this is an important truth for us to comprehend. When we are tempted, do we rely on God to bring us through or do we attempt to do it ourselves? God allows all things for our good. Note how Paul prayed to God regarding His temptations. “And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9.
We must realize that we are not sufficient to work thought every temptation. Often, we need God’s help. And as He said in the verse above, His grace is sufficient. The Father knew He needed food, and after the temptations He provided it to Him. Paul also said, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. Also, “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. God knows every need we have, and He will provide for us truly what we need.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.