MATTHEW 4:4 It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Interestingly, providence has it that Luke wrote about the temptations of Christ in the same chapter as Matthew chapter four. Not only the same chapter but the response from Jesus in verse four of Matthew is also mentioned by Luke in the same chapter and verse, Luke 4:4. The difference is that in Luke, there is one clause in the sentence instead of two. Both Matthew and Luke declare that man shall not live by bread alone. Man shall not live by bread alone serves as a proverb implying that the biological body not only necessitates bread but furthermore needs a spiritual element that only God can provide spiritually through every word that comes from the mouth of God. Jesus references Deuteronomy 8:3, where God humbled His people to hunger and fed them with manna for forty years, testing their obedience toward the commandments of God. Just as God provided physical bread for His people to subsist, God also provides spiritual bread for nourishing the spirit, found only in God’s word. Indeed, we are reminded and humbled that Jesus is the bread of life, and the manna in the desert we can consider as analogous to Jesus as the provision of God for our eternal bread and redemption, which subsists our spirit for eternity. Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life necessary for our spiritual growth in the gospel, regeneration of the spirit, repentance, baptism, sound doctrine, faith, and ultimately salvation.

Jesus illustrates Himself as bread being broken in Luke 22:19 as He gives thanks for the bread and breaks it, and distributes it with His disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” The Apostle Paul further elaborates in 1 Corinthians 11:24, which the KJV reads, “this is my body, which is broken for you,” alluding to the suffering, pain, and sacrifice of Jesus for all who believe in Christ. John Gill (1697-1771) comments from the Ethiopic version of the bible that His body was broken “for the redemption of many,” which echoes that our Lord was preparing for a definite atonement and not merely a sacrifice with the hopes of saving many, but with the assurance that many will be saved.

Concerning the temptation of Christ, we observe a determining moment in redemptive history. Satan tempted Adam and was victorious and now tempts the second Adam, which is Christ. If Jesus had fallen to the temptations, redemption would have been lost. The temptations from Satan to Jesus were of a significant nature. Temptation against the natural man born in sin is of a common nature shared universally. Satan did not tempt Jesus with momentary pleasures which entice most men and women. Satan did not tell Jesus as he told Eve, “Did God actually say?” It is not a commandment of God Satan is attempting to cause doubt, but instead, he is pressuring Jesus to doubt his divine deity as the Son of God. Satan begins his dialogue with a dependent clause, “if you are the Son of God.” In this circumstance, the enemy uses it to set up a command and temptation to Jesus. The temptation is against the deity of Christ. Satan tells Jesus to command that He turn the stones into bread. It would have been catastrophic for Jesus to follow any suggestion from the Devil.

By this time, Jesus had not performed any miracles or used His diving power in any way. Undoubtedly, Jesus was hungry being fasted for forty days. For Jesus to use His divine attributes to feed Himself would be comparable to behaving in a self-centered, selfish, and according to Jesus’ own will, instead of being subject to the will of His Father in heaven. In other words, to use His divine power apart from the Father’s will would have been an act of disobedience to the Father, which is equivalent to sin. It is not that Jesus was without power in his human nature. Jesus said in Matthew 26:53, “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and He will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” The Word of God was manifested as a humble servant of the Father’s will. John 5:19, Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”

Finally, in true warrior fashion, Jesus responds with His sword of the Spirit, God’s word. Ephesians 6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” In Charles Spurgeon’s sermons, he writes, “You also, believer, have this powerful weapon in your hand. Let no man take it from you. Believe in the inspiration of Scripture.” Indeed, we are Christian Soldiers. We are spiritual warriors and fight against the enemy daily. When temptations come, rely on every written word of God. Imagine the bible as a literal sword we carry every day, just as natural Soldiers maintain their rifles. The natural Soldier knows his rifle enough to disassemble and reassemble in the dark by feeling. In a combat zone, a Soldier is never an arm’s reach distance from his rifle. He keeps it clean and lubricated, loaded, and ready for combat. So also, you Christian Soldier must keep your sword sharp. Maintain it in your sheath. Be prepared with the manna from heaven. Know the gospel and study sound doctrine. Know your bible from cover to cover and draw it for battle against the enemy whenever necessary. Be vigilant against false doctrine and the power of suggestions from the Devil, which entice us to sin. Jesus defeated the powers of hell against Him. In Christ, we are victorious.


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