- Lesson 1 in the BaptistWay Press Connect360 unit “Miracles: The Transforming Power of Jesus” focuses on Matthew 4:1-11.
Satan began two of his temptations by saying, “If you are the Son of God” (4:3). In Greek, the word if is less uncertain than it appears in English; it’s better translated surely. Satan wanted Jesus to feel the need to affirm his identity, suggesting Surely you are the Son of God, (with a tinge of sarcasm, I suspect), indeed, you have the right to satisfy your own needs and desires, regardless of God’s expectations.
Thus, Satan appealed to the most basic physical need: hunger. Knowing Jesus’ power as God, he suggested Jesus turn stones into bread simply by speaking it. However, fasting was God’s will (desire for that situation) for Jesus, and yes, even hunger. For Jesus to command bread from stones would have been a good thing for his well-being but would have led him outside God’s will for his incarnational experience.
The choice to obey God
Jesus had to choose: succumb to his physical desires or please the Father; exploit his power to avoid discomfort or submit to God’s plan of suffering. Jesus did not feel a simple “I-had-to-work-through-lunch-today” hunger. He desperately needed and deserved food. Though fully God, Jesus was also fully human. He knew hunger’s pangs better than most of us by that point in his forty-day experience.
Human desire is a strong force. To resist such a basic need required miraculous will-power and self-control provided by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). Jesus later proclaimed, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and accomplish His work” (John 4:34), so he chose obedience, even suffering, trusting God would supply his needs at the right time and in the right way (cf. Philippians 4:19).
To combat his enemy, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (4:4). His reply is our example. We, too, are instructed in Ephesians 6:17 to use “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Scripture is our offensive weapon against Satan’s attacks, and it is the supernatural intervention we need when enticed to sin.
Compiled by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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