Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread. But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.(Matthew 4:3-4)
Matthew reminds us that we do not live by bread alone. Appreciating a bit of biblical history and Jewish tradition helps us to appreciate how true this is, even today.
The Jewish flavor of Matthew’s gospel is remarkable. It is evident, even in the opening genealogy, which Matthew traces back only as far as Abraham. The probability that Matthew’s audience was predominantly Jewish is further evident from several facts: Matthew usually cited Jewish custom without explaining it, in contrast to the other gospels. He constantly refers to Christ as “the son of David.” Matthew even guards Jewish sensibilities regarding the name of God, referring to “the kingdom of heaven” where the other evangelists speak of “the kingdom of God.”
Matthew also says, “If you are the Son of God.” The conditional if here carries the meaning of since. Satan did not doubt who Jesus was; but Satan wanted to get him to violate the plan of God and to use wrongfully the divine power He had set aside in His humiliation. This is quite difficult to understand. Matthew writes of the son of David having saved some of his divine power and that his strength and divinity are not questioned by the powers of evil.
Our verses are directly applicable to Jesus’ circumstances and a fitting reply to Satan’s temptation. Every word he speaks proceeds directly from the mouth of God. A more important source of sustenance than food, scripture nurtures our spiritual needs in a way that benefits us eternally, rather than merely providing temporal relief from physical hunger.
It is difficult to imagine a conversation with Satan, yet, in a small way, we have these conversations nearly every day. Whenever we make choices to follow the Lord, to perform an act of kindness, to do good deeds rather than evil, or to reject temptation, we have, in essence, responded to Satan.
Help us, Lord Jesus, to always follow in your footsteps and perform acts befitting the sons and daughters of Your heavenly father. Help us to avoid temptation and to always choose good over evil. O most merciful and omnipresent God, grant us the grace to see the good in the world and revel in its beauty and glory, in Your holy name.
References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.
To study this passage in more depth, you might like to read: Clark’s Commentary on the Bible.
Columbia Prayer Chain
Tuesday, May 1
In our prayers: Patrick Barry, Jordan Hill, Doris Clevenger, Charles Sigel, Joe Reno, Bob Davis, John Whatley, Nancy Zuckerman, Mack James, Charles Davis Sr., Janet Long, Lee Hotaling, Elaine and Sharon, Bill Carter, Betty Peavy Frick, Bob and Karen, Alison Rafferty, Joye Cantrell, Patty and Ted, Fred and Gail,, Mary Miller, Linda L., Dale and Norma Sessions, Padge Arrington, Jerry Callahan, Norman Masters, Laura Bushnell, Edgar Maxwell, Laura Lou Rummans, Elizabeth Adams, Gene Awtrey, John Conde, Millie Husbands, Clyde Ireland, Sam King, Bob Whiteside, Chuck Witten, Raven Tarpley, Elizabeth, DuBose Tuller, Frances Robinson, Janice Ayoub
In memoriam: Aurea Rivera Lancomba, Vivian Rose Jones, Vera Boland Bihari Roukos, Blondell T. Gable, Susan J. Zike, Hulett Hamilton Grice, Willie Green Jr., Walter Glenn Brackin Jr.. Connie Marie Hood, Helen Gainey Graham
Our prayers are with: The lonely, the elderly and those who care for them, all who volunteer, the homeless, the unemployed, all victims of abuse, all currently fighting illness, all beloved pets, our president and congress, our deputies and police officers, and all who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box below or email me to join our Prayer Chain. It is updated daily.
Follow Sharon on Twitter or friend Sharon on Facebook