Luke 4:1–4 (NIV84)
1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’”
As a child, I remember questioning the significance of this first temptation that Luke records for us. If Jesus was weak and hungry (probably closer to starving), what’s the big deal with providing a little food to nourish his body? He turned water into wine; why can’t he turn stone into bread?
The section of Scripture Jesus chose for his response is the key to unlocking this answer. Jesus recites the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 8:3. Moses is reminding the children of Israel about God’s guidance during their years of wandering in the desert and how they were totally reliant on God to provide for all of their needs, including food. Jesus came to this earth to be fully human and to experience the same suffering and temptations that you and I face. Never once did he selfishly use his divine powers as true God to make his earthly life easier; rather, he used those powers to physically and spiritually help others. Jesus was fully reliant on his Heavenly Father as his source of strength.
There are two important truths that this account helps us apply to our own temptations. The first is that our strongest temptations appear when we are weak and vulnerable. For some, those moments of weakness might be when you are with a certain group of friends. For others, those moments of weakness might be when you are alone. The devil will always try to exploit those times of weakness to lure you into sin.
Another important truth to remember is that God pines for us to rely solely on him. In the Bible passage above, the word “bread” implies anything besides God that captures our trust: our intellect, our intuition, our social status, our friends, and the list goes on. Our Heavenly Father wants us to fully trust him.
Despite your weakness and regardless of your “breads,” Jesus endured the humiliation, suffering, and temptations of this world all the way to Calvary. Because he took care of your biggest problem (sin), you can be assured that he will give you the strength to trample the devil’s strongest temptations in your life. Rely solely on Him!
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, Thank you for conquering the temptations of the devil. Forgive me for the times of my weakness and when I put my trust in the ideas, things, and people of this world. Help me to rely solely on you as my guide, protector, and provider. In your name, I pray. Amen.