1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be temptedby the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:1-4
We begin with Jesus as we must. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.
The connections between Christ and Adam are strong. Adam is tempted by food, symbolising rebellion and release from the limitations set by the Creator. Jesus, too, is offered and is therefore tempted by the possibility of food in the form of bread. Like Adam, he can fail the test, satisfy his hunger and break free from divine discipline. But Satan has misjudged, for, as the Father and the Son ore one (John 14:10-11), Jesus will not divorce his will from that of the Father.
There is an additional ironic twist in that as Christ is the bread of life (John 6:35), Satan tempts him with a caricature of himself. By accepting Satan’s advice, Jesus would be turning away from the spiritual to the material. We all need bread but, thanks to God’s goodness, we can get it anywhere. There is only one source of mercy and eternal life, however, and that is Christ, the bread of life. Satan is trying to get Jesus to abandon his mission at the first hurdle.
What Jesus shows us by resisting the first temptation is that out hunger is not for bread but for the bread of life.
Father God, we are your children, negligent of your love. Give us a spirit of fasting this Lent, that we may he reconnected to you in renewal and restoration of body and soul. Amen