From the Word
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:1–4, RSV
The tempter attacked Christ with the cares of food for the body and with unbelief in the goodness of God, as if he would say: Trust in God and wait patiently until a roasted fowl flies into your mouth; do you now say that you have a God who cares for you; where is now your heavenly Father, who has charge of you? It seems to me he leaves you in a fine condition; eat now and drink from your faith, let us see how you will satisfy your hunger, when you have stones for bread. What a fine Son of God you are! How fatherly he is disposed toward you in that he fails to send you a slice of bread and permits you to be so poor and needy; do you now continue to believe that you are his son and that he is your father? With like thoughts he truly attacks all the children of God. And Christ surely felt this temptation, for he was no stock, nor stone, although he was and remained pure and without sin, as we cannot.
That Satan attacks with the cares for daily food or with unbelief and avarice, Christ’s answer proves in that he says, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” As if he said, Thou wilt direct me to bread alone and dost treat me as though I thought of nothing but the sustenance of the body. This temptation is very common also among pious people, and they especially feel it keenly who have children and a family, and have nothing to eat. Here we should consider Christ’s work and example, who suffered want forty days and forty nights, and finally was not forsaken, but was ministered to by angels.
Behold how Christ resists this temptation of bread. He sees nothing but stones and what is uneatable, then he clings to the Word of God, strengthens himself by it and strikes the devil to the ground with it. All Christians should lay hold of this saying when they see that there is lack and want, and courage fails. What if the whole world were full of bread; man does not live by bread alone; more than that is needed for life, namely, the Word of God.
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 69–70.
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