Prepare to Listen. Be still and silent, conscious of being in God’s presence. Pray: Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes, and I will observe it to the end. (Psalm 119:33)
Prayerfully Read Luke 4:1-4
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.’ 4Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone.”’
It was the obvious temptation getting at the heart of Jesus’ immediate need—hunger. After 40 days of fasting, he was famished in a desolated wilderness. The devil’s temptation to change a stone into a loaf of bread seemed like a good solution and one the Son of God was capable of. He could then wander through Palestine, changing stones to bread to feed the hungry and gain a popular following. He could have done it, but he refused because he was committed to living according to God’s Law given to humans to live by. He therefore responded to the devil with a quote from the Mosaic law, “One does not live by bread alone” (Deut 8:3).
Luke, with no explanation, omits the Deuteronomy conclusion: “but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” It was a deliberate choice, not ignorance of the verse, and not because he dismissed the importance of bread, an essential staple for the poor. He included Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the crowd (9:10ff) because he was concerned about their hunger. Jesus’ prayer that taught us to pray for our daily bread is given (11:3). At the last supper Jesus broke bread and said, “This is my body, which is given for you” (22:19). His Gospel ends with the two disciples who met Jesus on the Emmaus Road but only recognized him “in the breaking of the bread” (24:35).
We don’t live by bread alone, but we do live by bread, the bread that Jesus gives for the life of the world. The devil didn’t get it. But Jesus did and so resisted the temptation.
What do you live by?
Respond to Jesus
Lord, I know we don’t live by bread alone and yet I often forget. Help me today to keep my priorities in line with your concerns and live as you did. Amen.
Live obediently as Jesus did.
I began reading my Bible when I was 8 years old. I loved it then (albeit didn't understand much) and I still love reading and studying it. I may understand a little more but I keep learning new stuff, seeing things I missed for years. This journey with Luke during Lent has been another new learning experience for me, deepening my relationship with Jesus. I pray it will do the same for you.