Friday, April 15, 2022

Handout - Matthew Chapter 4:2-4 - The Temptation of Hunger

Matthew 4:2-4 - The Temptation of Hunger

The Fast

When Jesus arrived in the wilderness He fasted for 40 days and nights. There are two types of fast, a partial and a total fast. Jews in general practiced a partial fast, allowing themselves snacks and water. Daniel participated in a partial fast. The idea was that distractions could be ignored and focus could be given to prayer and meditation (Dan 10:3).Total fasting was done without any food or drink and was usually done for 1 day. Some Jews did a total fast two days out of every week (Luk 18:11-12). It appears from Luke's account of the Temptation that Jesus's fast was a total fast (Luk 4:1-2). Moses and Elijah each participated in 40 day total fasts (Exo 34:28, Deu 9:9, 1Ki 19:7-8).

The Temptation of Hunger

Satan called Jesus "the Son of God", a sure indication that Satan knew who Jesus was. Satan would have known that as the Son of God, Jesus was the creator of the universe, let alone Satan's creator. The test then would have involved determining if Jesus was going to be dependent upon the Holy Spirit and God for His needs, or would He resolve His needs Himself. Satan was trying to prove that Jesus would act independently of the Father and the Holy Spirit to achieve selfish ends. We are blessed that Jesus passed the test, for he was also enticed to come down off the cross, and He did not (Mat 27:39-40).

The Response of Jesus

Jesus responded with the Word of God, specifically from (Deu 8:3).

The point of this passage to the Israelites to who it was spoken was to teach them that life was more that food, in fact, primarily, it was about God's provisions. As Ed Glasscock states: "mankind is not to view human existence as dependent upon the physical sustenance of life but upon God's provisions". Jesus was telling Satan that the Father would take care of His needs and he did not need to do it Himself. Acting Himself would be denial of God's authority over His life. In His dependence upon the Father, Jesus was living out (Mat 6:31-33). Jesus was also demonstrating the truth that the Word of God was better food than food to eat (Joh 4:31-34).

The lesson we learn from the interaction between Jesus and Satan in this passage is that our sustenance for life itself comes from God. When our primary focus is inward, on our physical need for food, clothing and shelter, then we are dependent on what we ourselves can do to provide. When our primary focus is outward to God, then we are dependent upon Him to provide. This is an act of faith on our part. It is seeking God with all we have, all the time, and looking for His provision for our needs.

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