August 17, 2017

Leaving every stone unturned to bread

Yesterday my Bible Study group discussed Luke 4 where we read about the temptations Jesus endured in the wilderness. Significantly, those tests of faith came immediately after His baptism in the Jordan River and immediately before His ministry began.

Each of those tests ultimately tempted Jesus to do something to stop the crucifixion – the final sacrifice to undo the works of the devil and remove every trace of sin inherent in every race of people. But the temptations began on a very human level of weakness – hunger.

After fasting for 40 days, Jesus became so close to starvation that Satan tried to take advantage of this weakened state. In the first temptation, he challenged Jesus by saying, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread,” Luke 4:3, English Standard Version (ESV.)

For one thing, if Jesus had done that, He would have been trying to prove Himself – something God doesn’t do throughout scripture. (See Exodus 3:14.)

For another, if Jesus had given in to hunger and temptation, the results would have been magic or sorcery, rather than the power of God.

Later, when the Lord turned water into wine and fed many thousands with a few little fish and a small amount of bread, He used what was there to perform, not magic, but miracles! He took something natural and real and expanded its potential – something we might pray for at every church picnic or potluck when we have less food than people!

Jesus wants us to reach out to others and feed His sheep without holding back in fear or stinginess, but He would never, ever tempt us to turn stones into bread! Why?

It would be a lie.

In the desert terrain where the temptations occurred, an abundance of wind-smoothed, rounded stones actually look like big loaves of bread. But rocks were not meant to be eaten. To make bread from stones means totally changing what something was meant to be into something that’s untrue to itself and to God’s creation.

Bread is what it is. We are who we are.

May we become our most genuine and truest selves in our lives in Christ.

May we become all God created us to be in The Way and Truth of Jesus’ Name.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017

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