DayBreaks for 02/23/12 – The Bread of Lucifer

DayBreaks for 02/23/12 – The Bread of Lucifer

From the DayBreaks archive, dated 2/14/2002:

Matthew 4:1-4 – “1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”  4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

There are several things about this passage that are interesting.  First, “Jesus was led by the Spirit” into the desert for the expressed purpose of being tempted by the devil.  I don’t like that idea.  The concept that the Spirit might lead someone to a particular place or situation for the purpose of being tempted is scary?  I mean, if the Spirit would lead Jesus into the desert to be tempted, why won’t the Spirit do the same to/for me?  We view it in a negative way, of course, and for Jesus, it was part of his becoming able to identify with us in our temptation.  Still…it is an interesting, if not frightening, thought – one that I will have to consider and pray about.

On the surface, the temptation doesn’t seem to be that difficult.  What was Satan really after?  All he asked Jesus to do was to turn the stones into bread.  What’s the harm in that?  Well, as usual with Satan, there is more than meets the eye, and there are hidden motivations and trickery afoot any time he appears on the scene.  I think that Calvin Miller in The Unchained Soul, had an interesting insight that may be right: “Christ rejected the bread of Lucifer.  It was not the bread that he rejected so much as self-gratification.  If he makes bread out of one stone, he may create wine from the next and so on, till his self-denial is literally swallowed up in gluttony.  Christ freed himself from this material bondage to be the role model for our own self-denial.  Materialism does not always consist in what we have, but in what we hunger for.  It is not our concern about bread but our temptation to hoard it that sins so against our Lord’s wilderness example.

What if Christ gave in to self-gratification?  He was God, after all.  He could have indulged every whim that crossed his omniscient mind and no one could have stopped him.  But Jesus didn’t give in to that temptation, giving us an example to follow.  Isn’t there a lot of truth in the sentence about materialism not being what we have, but in what we hunger for?  This means that we could be materialistic, even though we may not have the things we desire, but simply because we desire them ourselves and they consume our minds, desires and passions.  We are materialists if we long for things more than we long for Jesus.

PRAYER: Let the longings of our hearts be in alignment with the great command!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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