I have been listening to a series from Charles Leiter focused on the teachings of Jesus. The words of Jesus, commonly known as the red letters, since some Bibles have the actual spoken words of Christ in red letters.
A few verses Charles used to introduce his series we as follows:
Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
John 7:45-46 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why did you not bring him?" 46 The officers answered, "No one ever spoke like this man!"
Charles had made the point that we are a little too casual about the impact of Jesus’ words because we have heard them so often that we fail to consider how radical His words were. As we can see in the verses above, they (first generation people) had never heard anyone speak in this way. The way Jesus spoke was enough to keep officers who had been instructed to arrest Him to return to the chief priest and Pharisees empty handed.
I would like to start a forum exchange in which we discuss the impact of Jesus’ words. What His words meant. In what context they were said. How they impact us today.
The first words in red found in the New Testament are from Matthew 4:4. Jesus had been fasting for 40 days and in the desert Satan challenges Him:
Matthew 4:3 And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."
It is interesting how Satan is referred to as the tempter. It is also interesting that Satan tempts Jesus in an “I dare You” fashion; after all, Satan knows full well Jesus is the Son of God. Satan’s play book hasn’t changed, he tempts, and he tries to create doubt with suggestion and question.
Before we move on to Jesus’ reply let’s consider; do you think Jesus was hungry after 40 days of fasting?
Jesus was fully man – so – yes, He was hungry!
Was He weak? Absolutely!
Could He have made the stones bread? He fed several thousand people with a few fish, so I would guess He could have made the stones bread.
Why didn’t He?
My thought is, He didn’t because He came to do the will of the Father, He came to destroy the works of the devil, He came to redeem His creation – it was clearly not part of the plan that He would yield to the temptations of Satan or the needs of the flesh.
Jesus directs Satan’s attention to the Scripture, which we will find out soon, Satan knows very well.
Matthew 4:4 But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
We talked at the last Warriors for Christ Bible Study how wicked our thoughts become; how heavy the temptations get. We talked about how we often times rationalize, “I have been good for so long, just a little taste.”
I am not one that thinks it is a good idea to relate every single verse to a life application, but today as I have read and re-read this verse I couldn’t help but think of the flesh, and abstaining from the desires of the flesh. It seems to me that there is a window of time where we battle the temptation to return to the vomit and the tempter is trying to trip us up. Our resolve is great on day 1, day 2 we are still strong, but over the course of time Satan is right there when you are at your weakest, the “40-day mark” so to speak.
We must feast on the very thing that gives us what we need, we must live by the Word of God, the bread of Life! We must remind ourselves, and Satan, that we are no longer debtors to the flesh, we owe the flesh NOTHING!
Jesus didn’t say, “you know, you’re right, I haven’t fed my flesh for 40 days and I really should satisfy the desire of the flesh and eat; after all, I have the ability to make these stones bread, I am going to do that.”
NO! His focus was on the will of God found in the Word of God, just as ours should be!
Help us Lord!