Journal Entry // January 8, 2022
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”Matthew 4:2-3 ESV
I enjoy passages of scripture like this one because it packs so much truth about Jesus and God himself into such a simple passage. In this one passage, we see the fullness of Jesus and his gospel purpose. We see the display of Jesus being both fully man and fully God. Humanity and divinity wrapped up in a single person come to save us and redeem us. This is our God. This is Jesus.
After fasting fort days – I so often overlook the serious intentionality of Jesus to have fellowship with the Father. I mostly take it for granted that he just has full fellowship with the Father at all times. But the Gospels repeatedly show Jesus intentionally focused on his relationship and communion with the Father. The true Son of God spent forty days fasting. Forty days depriving his body of food to draw near to the Father. Jesus needed this, yet it rarely crosses my mind to fast. I mean really fast. Not just restrict my food intake, but to restrict with the purpose and intention of seeking Christ more intimately. Why is this? Why is it so obviously important to Jesus, but I neglect fasting so readily? I need more time on this. I need to even now just plan a time of fasting with the purpose of seeking Jesus.
He was hungry – do I doubt that Jesus was fully human? No, but it’s verses like these that remind me how acquainted Jesus is with my humanity. Jesus knew hunger. A hunger coming from forty days and nights of fasting. I’ve never felt that level of hunger before, yet my savior has. Jesus experienced the full effect of humanness with hunger being one of them. A hunger from forty days of fasting. Weakness from the lack of nourishment calling out to him from his body. I’m sure he felt it on a deep level.
The tempter came – it was in this moment that the tempter came. Jesus just finishing a forty day fast was at any human’s most vulnerable point. There was both a physical weakness and a spiritual strength. Jesus’ body was weak and in need of nourishment. Jesus’ spiritual state was strong after spending forty days of intimate fellowship with the Father. It’s at this crossroad that the tempter comes. And how does he tempt but at junction of these two states. If you are the Son of God… then you can easily turn stones into bread. Solve your own problem in your own strength.
The truth I need at the moment is to understand that the tempter will come at both my most vulnerable and at my most strong moment. It’s generally at these moments that I let my guard down. When I have just traveled to the mountaintop of communion with Christ, I am always the most vulnerable. I think I cannot fail. I think I have reached the mountaintop and now it’s all downhill and simple. Pride… Pride is always my downfall.
How did Jesus teach me to battle the tempter? God’s word bringing truth to the deception and lies of the tempter. Saturating my mind with God’s truth and letting it permeate every cell in my body. Read, meditate, reflect, memorize, sing, pray, talk, study. I can never spend too much time in God’s word. God’s word leading me to intimate fellowship and communion with Christ and the Father. As Palm 23 says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” In the midst of life happening, I can have a meal with Jesus. I can fellowship with my Lord. My savior who experienced all that I am going through and can sympathize with me, console me, cleanse me, encourage me, strengthen me, and lead me safely and surely to where he is with the Father.