If you have followed me the past couple of weeks you have noticed that I am putting a heavy emphasis on the study of Scripture. I do this because I believe preaching, teaching, and ministry in general is not necessarily flashy, or amusing, or entertaining. Preaching, teaching, and ministry are Christ-centered. John 15:7 Jesus says, “If you abide in Me, and My WORDS abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” The only way to ask according to God’s will and the only way to live fruitfully is to let His words abide in us. I wholeheartedly believe what 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
And I believe and trust in what Jesus said in Matthew 4. Let’s read it together.
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
"1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
I. Comparison of Adam/Jesus
1. Both are the beginning of a new creation
2. Both have unique beginnings
3. Both are humanity (flesh and blood)
4. They are linked genealogically through the humanity of Mary
5. Both were tempted
Yet in comparing Adam and Jesus Romans 5:19 states, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
* Where Adam failed, Jesus succeeded. Where Adam sinned, Jesus obeyed.
There is another comparison that Jesus draws and that is with the Exodus event.
II. Comparison of Exodus/Jesus
1. Both were led out by the Spirit
It was obviously God at work in both occasions because we know that Israel was led by the pillar of fire and cloud and likewise Jesus was drove out into the desert by the Spirit. The Spirit, not the devil, led Jesus to be tempted. Because of this detail it would lead me to believe that there was a divine purpose ordained in this event and I’ll get to that in a moment.
2. Both passed through water
Here is yet another connection of water and the Spirit. Israel passed through the waters of the Red Sea and then into the wilderness. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan and then went into the wilderness.
3. Both were tempted in the wilderness
Exodus 15:22 “So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur.” When Israel was in the desert they found no water and they found no food. Thus, they were hungry and thirsty being tempted to complain and grumble which they did. Jesus was tempted by the devil in three different ways: He was told to turn stones to bread and eat to satisfy His hunger, He was told to throw Himself down from the Temple so that the angels would catch Him, and He was tempted to worship satan in order to receive great wealth.
4. We see the nuber Forty in both accounts
Israel was in the wilderness 40 years and also Moses fasted 40 days on the top of Mount Sinai. Jesus fasted 40 days and nights.
5. Both were Hungry
Exodus 16:3 “And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Of Jesus Matthew says, “afterward He was hungry.”
* Jesus was identifying Himself with the nation Israel. This is the divine purpose that was set before Christ. He would associate Himself with their history and their sufferings. He truly becomes the Son of Man as He begins His ministry with baptism and temptation.
In these comparisons Scripture is demonstrating the association Jesus had with humanity. Yet, He proves His superiority and excellence because, though comparable, Jesus is the fulfillment of all God desires. Adam resulted in failure in behalf of man and Israel resulted in failure, but our Lord Jesus was tempted like they were yet without sin.
This brings me to the main point that I would like to make this morning on this particular temptation of turning stones into bread.
III. Man Shall Not Live by Bread Alone
Jesus makes a reference to Deuteronomy 8:3 when He is tempted to turn to stones into bread. Deuteronomy says, “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.”
Jesus’ humanity is seen in that He was hungry. All temptation comes from some lust or desire. The more desirable something is to you, the more tempting it will be. And the more cunningly the sinfulness of a wrong is, the more likely we will commit it. Jesus was hungry and what more could you tempt Him with than food? There would have been nothing morally wrong with turning stones into bread but it would have been outside of the Father’s will. God sustains life, bread doesn’t ultimately give life. It is our responsibility to trust God and to stay in His will.
Luke tells us that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit when He went into the desert. Physically, Jesus was empty; spiritually, Jesus was full. So often we are the opposite. His answer proves that He was sustained by more than bread. As Adam and Eve were tempted by the fruit of that tree so was Jesus. For the Scripture says, “the woman saw that the tree was good for food…”
The responsibility of Adam was now in Jesus’ hands. The responsibility of Israel was now in Jesus’ hands. How would He respond? Would He fail miserably like the others before?
“He answered and said, ‘It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Jesus responds to temptation with Scripture and even commends Scripture with this reference. It is ultimately God who has ordained that bread keep us alive, so who is to say that He couldn’t sustain us apart from bread? We don’t live because of food or any physical, apparent need.
We live because God says LIVE.
Life is found only in His Word.
1. James tells us in 4:13-15 “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’”
2. We could echo with Peter “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
3. The Psalmist said, “Your word has given me life.” (Psalm 119:50)
4. Jesus Himself said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)
5. And in another place Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)
Spiritual needs take precedence over physical needs. We must trust God above all else.
We don’t live because of food or any physical, apparent need.
We live because God says LIVE.
Life is found only in His Word.
For it is written:
“Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”