The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” (Luke 4:3,4).
Satan is a master of strategy. It’s unnerving to recognize that the objective of his clever planning is our spiritual death. He disguises his moves. He sets up ambushes.
The temptation of Jesus early in his ministry is a case in point. At his baptism, the other two persons of the Trinity revealed their presence and support. From the Father’s lips came the pronouncement, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)
We know that many people would never believe that Jesus was the beloved Son of God. The Devil’s goal was to make Jesus also doubt that.
Not Satan, but the Holy Spirit had led Jesus into a wilderness without food. Forty days later, the son of Mary was hungry. The question was, was he also faithful?
If he was the beloved of the Father, why had he been dragged into this desert without provisions? Had he been forgotten? Was he being punished? Had he been abandoned?
We understand the temptation that came to the human nature of Jesus. Doubts like that easily come to our mind when we are stressed.
We see a need. We feel a need. We look to heaven for relief, but none comes. We call to heaven for help and hear only silence.
Except—except for the whisper of Satan saying, “See! God doesn’t care. God doesn’t love. God cannot be counted on. You better forget about help from heaven and start taking steps to look out for yourself. Face it; you are on your own!
Of course Jesus could have turned stones into bread! But to do so under these circumstances would have been to betray his trust in his Father’s will—which included dying for the human race.
Jesus countered the temptation with Scripture. He pointed back to when Israel was led to a place without food in another wilderness. He repeated the lesson Israel had been taught when the people were fed by a miracle.
Moses had explained, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
It’s not protein and carbohydrates that keep us alive. We could be well-fed and still die.
The will of our heavenly Father sustains our life. He neither forgets nor forsakes those who love him. We can count on that.
There is no room in our lives for demonic doubt.
Lord Jesus, we thank you for taking our place and standing up to the threats that Satan brings by means of the doubts he wants to place into us. Remind us of your example. Teach us again to go to Scripture as the weapon to use against the forces of darkness. Replace our shameful doubt with heaven-sent faith in our Savior God. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military