Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’”
Following Jesus’ baptism, He was immediately led into the desert where Satan tempted Him. He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, so He was naturally very hungry. Satan came to Jesus, and seeing where He was empty, He offered false satisfaction.
Satan doesn’t have to be very creative in his temptations. He might dress up a million different ways, but at the core, his temptations boil down to the same lies—the ones we saw Jesus face in the desert. Satan sees an unsatisfied appetite and offers a cheap substitute for the real sustenance we need. Yet, we should not overlook the fact that Jesus fasted at the outset. Why would God want Him to be depleted in a time of testing? In fact, just the opposite is true. In fasting, our desires, cravings, and needs are exposed more than ever. Without the satisfaction of food, we become hyper aware of the many things we use to quiet our desires with substitutes of this world (food, technology, etc.). So, even when Jesus was at His “emptiest” physically, He was most equipped spiritually to withstand Satan’s temptations. Of course, eating bread in and of itself isn’t a sin. Breaking a fast isn’t a sin. But what Satan was offering was a way for Jesus to provide His own means of satisfaction, instead of trusting the Father to provide all He needs.
Most importantly, Jesus demonstrated what it looks like for us to combat Satan’s lies. We respond with truth—namely, God’s truth in Scripture. In response to Satan, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, a text in which Moses reminded the Israelites how God did not abandon them but tested them in the wilderness of Sinai. He provided them manna daily, but He was their provision, not the manna. Jesus knew that He was also not meant to live on bread alone, but to be sustained by doing the Father’s will (John 4:34).
- What appetites do you struggle to trust God alone to satisfy? How do you seek to satisfy them by your own power and means?
- In this season, what would it look like for you to trust God to provide what you need or desire, even if it means waiting?
- Take time in prayer to ask God to make clear the things that control you. If there are any needs or desires that are driving you, ask Him to give you a greater desire for Him, and a greater trust for Him to supply what you need.