But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'"Matthew 4:4(NASB)
Before Jesus was to embark on His earthly ministry and set out on His three year march to the cross it was necessary for Him to demonstrate that He was qualified to act as the federal Head of God's new creation of mankind. The first man.. Adam had failed in his assignment, but as the last Man - the last Adam, Jesus Christ, must prove Himself qualified for the task of Kinsman-Redeemer - to the lost race of mankind.
His link with humanity was authenticated by His birth - Mary being His biological mother and Joseph His legal father through adoption. But He also fulfilled many other prophecies.. both validating His claims to Messiahship and demonstrating the truthfulness of God's eternal Word. Christ's conception demonstrated the supernatural power of the triune God and further validated His own claims to eternal divinity. But Jesus was also divinely approved at His baptism when the Father said: This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove.
Although fully qualified to redeem the world with regard to His humanity, deity and divine approval.. Christ was also required to authenticate His moral credentials as the representative Man.. and so we read that immediately after His baptism, Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And we discover that for forty days and forty nights, He fasted.. after which He became hungry. It was at this point of human vulnerability that Satan sought to tempt Jesus to act independently of His Father.. just as the first Adam had succumbed to the same temptation to act independently from God.
Satan knew perfectly well Who Jesus was, (for the Greek literally reads: SINCE You are the Son of God..), and the temptation to act independently of His heavenly Father would have been intensified at the end of a 40 day fast, after which we read: he was hungry. But Jesus had been sent to earth to carry out the Father's will and to only do those things that He heard from the Father - and acting independently from His Father, however legitimate the cause, would morally disqualify Christ as humanities Redeemer and preclude Him from becoming the federal Head of a new creation of mankind which God had planned.
And so we hear those universe-shattering words, when Jesus responded to this temptation by saying: it is written: Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Nothing was more important to the Lord Jesus than to carry out the Word and Will of His heavenly Father.. and this even included dealing with His legitimate needs and those natural human desires that are not sinful in and off themselves - but which do become sinful when we engage in them independently of our heavenly Father.
Like all members of the human race, Christ needed food to sustain His physical, human body.. but His priorities throughout His life placed obedience to His heavenly Father's Will and Word as the highest priority in His life - as it should be for all of God's blood-bought children. Although He was fully God and was well within His right and ability to turn stones to bread... to do so would have been to act independently of God, just as Adam acted independently of the Lord in the garden of Eden - and to do so would have disqualified Him from the plans and purposes of God, which was to live His life in total dependance on His heavenly Father.
Although fully God.. Jesus lived His life as fully man.. in obedience to His Father's Word and Will. Jesus lived as the perfect example of how God expects all His blood-bought children to live - in obedient dependance upon our heavenly Father.
Obedience to the Word and Will of God, by not seeking to act independently of Him in every area of life, no matter how pressing the need or how legitimate the activity.. is of great value and supreme importance in the eyes of the Lord.. for man's total dependance on Him, glorifies His holy name. Trusting Him in every eventuality of life, however pressing the need.. not only demonstrates a godly character but is also part of God's child-training programme for all believers - so that we may continue to be conformed into the image and likeness of Christ as we depend on Him. Let us seek to be obedient to the Word and Will of the Lord and be prepared to say - I will not live by bread alone but by every WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the amazing example of Jesus, when He set aside His rights and abilities in order to be obedient to Your Word and Will. May I keep the eyes of my heart on Christ's earthly example and resist the temptation to act independently of You.. Help me to depend on You in every eventuality of life, knowing that this is Your will for me and brings honour to Your name. This I ask in Jesus name, AMEN