Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 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.”
But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'” (Matthew 4:1-4 ESV)
We often marvel at the very idea that someone could fast for forty days. Whether you think it is a literal forty days or just a long, long time, most of us have trouble fasting between breakfast and lunch, let alone one day. Forget forty days. One of the largest segments of the food industry is devoted exclusively to snacks. Our culture expects people to eat meals three times a day, but we also expect refreshments after worship, during seminars and just about any time two or more people gather anywhere.
Anyone in the USA who fasts for any reason knows that it is hard to get by without food, even if you don’t really need any.
Yet Christians regularly try to get by without the food Jesus said we need more than anything—the Bread of Life.
We all need the words that come from the mouth of God, and the best place to obtain those words is the Bible. The Bible is God’s revelation of himself, and he gave it to us as a guide for faith and life. Jesus’s statement that God’s words are food just like bread was not the outcome of quick thinking. The words were written down centuries before by Moses who told the children of Israel the same thing:
[God] humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, . . . that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD (Deuteronomy 8:3 ESV).
God’s words are the most important food we can eat, yet many of us would resemble the prisoners held in Auschwitz if our spiritual bodies were photographed, because we do not eat the Bread of Life that we need so very much.
If we lived in a country like Uzbekistan, where people can be arrested simply for possessing a Bible, let alone reading one, we might have some excuse. In Uzbekistan, there is a Bible that is legal, but it must be the Bible approved by the government. Printing Bibles is not a priority with the government’s approved publisher, so there are not nearly enough legal Bibles. It might be understandable if you were not reading the Bible in Uzbekistan.
In the US, there is no such excuse. Bibles are available everywhere. There is no law against possession of a Bible. There is no law specifying only one legal translation. You don’t even need to buy a Bible, because there are numerous groups and churches that will give you a Bible if you ask. Some may even accost you on the street and ask if you want one.
The truth? You probably have more than one Bible on a shelf or in a drawer or on your nightstand. If you attend church, there is undoubtedly one in a pew rack in front of you. You might even have taken one with you to church last Sunday. You could easily find a Bible to read if you wanted to.
You aren’t missing any meals. Why are you missing out on the Bread of Life?
By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com.
Image: Open Bible
By Wnorbutas (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0