Man Shall Not Live By Bread Alone
[Luke 4:1-4] Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit (of God) into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”
Shortly after Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for forty days in preparation for the ministry He was to fulfill on earth. The scriptures do not tell us what Jesus had been tempted with during the forty days, it just tells us He was tempted by the devil. However, at the end of the forty days of temptation during which time Jesus had eaten nothing, the bible tells us He was hungry, and it was at this point that the devil began tempting Him. It would suffice us to say that this was His weakest moment. Friends, as you well know, the devil does not come to tempt us when we are at our strongest. He waits until we are weak and vulnerable to attack, and then he tempts us in that weak area. However, Jesus shows us how we are to deal with the devil during His temptations.
Let me depart from my message for just a second and let me digress on who Jesus is so that we might understand that Jesus and the Word of God are the same person. [John 1:1-4 & 14] Jesus was the perfectly sinless human body the Word of God took up residence in so that God the Father could show the nation of Israel that He was among them and loved them. This was demonstrated to the Israelites through the Works Jesus did among them for three years. Let us also understand, that Jesus, the human body of the Word of God, was the sacrificial Lamb of God that would bear the sins of the people outside the gates of Jerusalem, just as under the Old Testament Law, the scapegoat that had the sins of Israel laid on him by the hands of the priests was released into the wilderness to die or be killed by some wild animal while the perfect sacrificial lamb was slain on the Altar as a sacrifice unto the Great God Jehovah. The anointing of God (the Holy Spirit) left the Word of God when Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” And at that time the Word of God, the Spirit within Jesus, was cast into hell because the sins of the whole world including our present day sins were laid upon Him. At the appointed time, when the punishment for our sins had been paid for in full, the anointing, or the Holy Spirit of God who had departed from Him on the cross, once again came upon the Word of God in the pits of hell, giving it LIFE and POWER, and the Word of God arose, defeated the devil and all the demons of Satan before the inhabitants of hell, released the spirits of those condemned men who believed His preaching, returned to the grave of Jesus, took upon Himself once again the physical body of Jesus that had the nail holes in the hands and feet, and the spear wound in the side, as evidence that He had lived among them in this world. He walked the streets of Jerusalem, instituted a church, ascended into heaven, sat down at the right hand of the Father, and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell and empower men to do the works Christ Jesus did while He was upon the earth.
Dear brothers and sisters; the very words of the bible we read and ingest are God’s Word, and He lives in those of us who live in Him. [John 15:7] The Word of God on the pages of our bible is alive and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, [Heb 4:12a] and is still performing miracles today. The Word of God has never stopped performing miracles and giving life to those who believe it, and He will not stop working among us until the last person that will be saved is saved. He will return for His followers on an appointed day, His name will be “THE WORD OF GOD”, and upon His thigh and His vesture will be written, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” [Revelation 19:11-16] and He will defeat for the last time, all the forces of evil, forever ridding God’s creation of any presence of it, make all things new, and we will live in the presence of Almighty God, His Word, and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.
The devil said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.” The devil knew the Son of God indwelt the physical body of Jesus. [John 1:1-4 & 14] Just because the Word of God was living inside a physical body, did not mean He was hidden from the devil who is also a spirit. Satan tempted the Word of God by feigning an attack on His physical body. Without a doubt we know Jesus, the physical body of the Word of God was hungry because He had just gone forty days without food. Satan knowing full well that the physical body of Jesus was in a weakened condition, tempted the Word of God to overpower the will of the man Jesus by turning the stones to bread thus circumventing the will of Jesus. God is gentleman and will not overpower the will of man, even if that man was the body in which He had taken up residence. Jesus had to submit to the will of God and rebuke Satan and put an end to the temptations, thus releasing the Word of God to work in His behalf. If the Word of God had of overpowered the will of the flesh of Jesus and rebuked Satan without the consent of Jesus, the devil would have had grounds to accuse God of wrong doing and abusing His power. Everything in God’s creation works according to laws – God’s Laws. Since God is just and fair and abides by His Laws, He could do nothing to assist Jesus in this situation except encourage Him to resist the temptation of Satan. Adam broke God’s law and gave away his right of ownership of the earth to Satan in the Garden of Eden, thus making Satan the rightful owner of the earth, and the god of man. If God was to reclaim the earth for lost man, a man would have to live His whole life in submission to God’s Word and fulfill God’s Laws to regain it legally. Thus, Jesus the man had to defeat Satan, not the anointed Spirit of the Word of God that lived in Him. Man had given away his authority over the earth and submitted himself to an angel, and a man had to regain that lost authority, break the sovereignty of the devil over the life of man, and give back to man everything God had given him on the day he was created. If the Word of God in Jesus had of turned the stones to bread to feed His human body, He would have been just as guilty of usurping power from Satan as the devil was when he deceived Adam’s flesh into relinquishing his control over the earth. Adam yielded to the desires of the flesh and lost his dominion over God’s property and died as a result of it, and the perfectly sinless flesh of the man God had taken upon Himself and named Jesus would have to die to reclaim it. Praise God.
Dear God, help us to understand; “You do not fight our fleshly battles. You have given mankind the privilege of overcoming those fleshly desires just as Jesus had to deal with His hunger.” Friends, if I have a fleshly desire, it is my responsibility to overcome that fleshly desire. I have to submit my flesh to the Word of God to win over my fleshly desires. And If I have a spiritual problem, God works with my spirit to deal with the spiritual problem. I deal with the fleshly realm, and God deals with the spiritual realm. My faith in the Word of God will overcome both the flesh and the spirit. My part in this relationship with God is to exercise my faith, and God’s part is to fulfill His Word. I can’t fulfill God’s Word, and He can’t exercise my faith. It takes both of us working together in harmony to win my battles. If the Son of God living inside the fleshly body of Jesus would have overpowered the will of the man Jesus, the Word of God would have overstepped His boundary, committed a sin, and we would still be under the authority of the devil. But that didn’t happen, and we are free to serve the Lord with our whole spirit, soul, and physical body. Thank You, Jesus.
Now there are other points in this scripture we need to examine concerning the answer Jesus gave to Satan. (1) “Man shall not live by bread alone, (2) but by every word of God.” Jesus is telling us that food is for the body, but the Word of God is for the spirit and soul of man. Man is a three part being, and each part needs to be fed. We are spirit and soul, (first and foremost) that lives in a body. God the Father possesses a body, His Word indwells the physical body of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit lives in man, so, He, too, has a body. Jesus tells us food is important to the human body because it fuels the flesh and keeps it strong, but the spirit and soul within man requires spiritual food that is provided only by the Word of God. Thus making the Word of God the more important of the two food groups. Man, because he lives in a physical or natural world, in his zest to fulfill the needs of his physical body falls for the temptation the devil first presented to Adam in the Garden of Eden, and later to Jesus in this story. In man’s zeal to satisfy the desires of the flesh, he spends most of his time gathering food and other associated things we deem important to our physical life, while neglecting the most important thing of studying the Word of God. Jesus clearly tells us food for the body is important, and we know it takes time to plant, harvest and to prepare the food for the stomach, but it is soon dispatched out into the draught. The Word of God on the other hand is essential for spiritual growth and receiving eternal life. Jesus said (to His disciples), “What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or, what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Matthew 16:26] In other words, nothing in this world profits a man’s soul except the Word of God. That is why it is so important for us to understand that to live by every Word of God requires time just as it does to plant, harvest, and prepare food for the table. We cannot neglect our phtsical body or it will become diseased and die, and we cannot neglect our spirit and soul. However, our first priority should always be to meet the needs of our spirit and soul rather than our physical body which is destined to die. If we do not invest our time in the Word of God; and we lose both our body and soul to hell, we have lost everything. But, if we understand that life is built upon knowing the Word of God, we not only will save our soul from hell, but our body will be resurrected unto everlasting life. Praise God. DThrash