Just over a month after God’s declaration of Jesus as His Son, we find Jesus famished in the wilderness. This fills the mind with questions: How can the Son of God be so hungry, weary and worn? If God is “well-pleased” with Him, why then is Jesus not living it up? Was there, perhaps, a mistake? Maybe Jesus isn’t the Son of God or God is no longer “well-pleased” with Him. Could it be that Christ said something, did something, that didn’t go down well with God?
What is in Jesus’ mind though? Is He plagued by insecurity? Does He know who He is? It is very easy to say you’re the Son of God when your notable prophet cousin baptizes you and a voice from Heaven declares it for all to hear. It is a different story however when you haven’t eaten in weeks and hunger gnaws at you in the heat of the day. It isn’t too much to wonder if hardship hasn’t loosened Jesus’ grip on God.
So the devil approaches with doubt in His words, challenging Jesus to prove Himself. The Son of God wouldn’t sit starving when all around Him, stones waited to be turned into bread. Had not God’s firstborn son, the nation of Israel (Exodus 4:22-23), feasted on miracle bread in the barren wilderness? Surely, Jesus could repeat that and prove that He was the Son of God.
Jesus quotes Moses’ commentary on the miraculous manna in the desert – God provided the manna to show the people that they were ultimately dependent on Him. Just as the Israelites had been expected to depend on God totally before they could emerge from the desert to conquer the Promised Land, Jesus is to do the same, except that He will triumph gloriously where they failed so dismally. Life is found in creation but originates and is sustained by God Himself. No amount of hardship ever warrants forgetting that God is the giver and sustainer of life.
What about you? Do you feast on rocky bread? Do you doubt that God is your Father when times get tough? Are you tempted to go it alone when it seems God has abandoned you? Don’t give up! Work hard but don’t ever think that it all depends on you. God is you Father and He is busy working for your good, even when you feel He’s away on holiday.