Matthew 4:1-4 - Well Balanced Diet
A bite sized piece of bread & tiny cup of wine is able to nourish your soul for eternal life.
Read / Listen
Read Matthew 4:1-4
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 75
Q. How does the Lord’s Supper
remind you and assure you
that you share in Christ’s
on the cross
and in all his gifts?
A. In this way:
Christ has commanded me
and all believers
to eat this broken bread
and to drink this cup.
With this command he gave this promise:
as surely as I see with my eyes
the bread of the Lord broken for me
and the cup given to me,
so surely his body was offered
and broken for me
and his blood poured out for me
on the cross.
as surely as I receive from the hand of the him who serves,
and taste with my mouth
the bread and cup of the Lord,
given me as sure signs of Christ’s body and blood,
he nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life
with his crucified body and poured-out blood.
One of the most indelible marks of man's fall into sin is our propensity to be controlled by our appetite. The forbidden fruit 'was 'good for food and pleasing to the eye (Gen 3:6).' The Israelites who had just been freed from slavery in Egypt longed to go back because they were tired of eating manna.
So it's not surprising that the first tactic the devil uses to tempt Jesus is by way of His stomach. After fasting for forty days it only makes sense that Jesus hungered in a way that most of us can't even begin to imagine, so the devil seizes the opportunity by planting an idea which doesn't seem all that unreasonable. He tempts the one who turned water into wine and multiplied a few baskets of bread to feed 5,000 to simply turn the surrounding stones into a some loaves of bread - bread that Jesus desperately needs at this point.
Certainly it's not wrong to eat, so why would it have been wrong for Jesus to give into this temptation? Because Jesus wasn't in the wilderness on His own accord, He had been led there by the Spirit for the express purpose of withstanding the devil's temptations, reasonable though they may be. The Spirit had not yet given Jesus permission to resume eating yet, so it would have been sinful for Him to do so.
Jesus responds to each of the devil's temptations by quoting scripture, which is just one more reason for you to know scripture well. This first time, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3, which is a promise God makes to bless Israel if they put following 'every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord' ahead of their own appetites in life.
We come to this passage today in the context of understanding the significance of participation in the Lord's Supper. The entire sacrament is predicated on God's command to Israel to not live on bread alone, but to rather be fully dependent upon everything God has spoken in His Word.
But God knows our weakness, and how central our physical appetites are to our decision making process, so what a blessing it is that God communicates the gospel to us physically through bread and wine. Notice the language the catechism uses to summarize scripture: the bread and cup nourish and refreshes your soul for eternal life.
In most churches, the communion bread is a tiny bite sized square and the wine comes in the smallest of all cups. These portions aren't going to physically nourish or refresh anyone! Yet the spiritual nourishment you receive as you participate in the Lord's Supper, which is always accompanied by the proclamation of God's Word, surely feeds your soul with the assurance of God's grace enabling you to realize His blessing in your life.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, whose every word is more necessary than bread;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Praise God that Jesus put God's Word ahead of His appetite on your behalf, and pray for the strength to do the same.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Luke 10