Friday, January 22, 2016

Spiritual Hunger

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’"

If you are like me, one of my favorite foods is bread. Bread is the staple food of almost every culture since the beginning of time. Even when the Israelites were traveling in the desert, God provided them manna from heaven. Manna was a light, thin wafer-like bread that God rained down each day to feed them. There was just enough manna for them to have enough energy for the day. God told them to not take more than they needed, and when they did it became rancid as a sign that they did not trust in God.

So today Jesus is in the wilderness led by the Spirit. He has fasted for 40 days and guess what he is hungry. Really hungry. The devil uses it as an opportunity to tempt him by saying, "turn these stones into loaves of bread". Satan knows Jesus can do this, and Jesus knows he can do this, but he also knows that it was not yet time to start doing his miracles. Jesus is tested early on in his ministry. Satan knows he is in a vulnerable position where he might be tempted to take things in his own hands.

But then we see the true source of his strength when he says,"Man does live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." For Jesus this is not as much about keeping a fast, as it is showing from the beginning of his public ministry, where his true strength comes from. Jesus says something similar in John 4 when he says, ""My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." John 4:34

So what do you think Jesus is saying to us today? Our relationship with God is often forged in the heat of the battle when we are tempted to rely on ourselves rather than God. It is when we are most vulnerable, when we feel hungry and alone, that we are tempted to go back to our old ways. But this is exactly the time where we can turn to God and His Word and rely on Him to meet our real needs.

Just like we need bread to sustain us physically, we need the Word of God to sustain us spiritually. Jesus not only knew God's Word, in this case the Old Testament, but he relied on it for everything he did. It was his bread of life. Later Jesus would reveal that he was the bread of life. He was the Word become flesh and He dwelt among us. Therefore our spiritual nourishment comes from a person Jesus. It is Jesus who we turn to when we are tempted, and He sustains us. He says, "Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. You will find rest for your souls."

Are you spiritually hungry? Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."

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