Matthew 4:4 - Real Bread

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that
proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Mat 4:4 (KJV)

During forty years in the wilderness Israel put comfort before
obedience. She complained about the food and hardships, failed to trust
God, and fell into idolatry. The Son of God is the ideal Israel who
by overcoming these temptations shows His obedience in all these
areas. As Christ's disciples, we also will face temptations, but we can
find strength in following the sinless example, using God's Word to
overcome Satan's lies. [Passages Of Life SB]

Satan suggested He be (1) a bread Messiah, gaining followers by
miraculously meeting physical needs, (2) a spectacular Messiah, gaining
followers through displaying miraculous powers, or (3) a compromising
Messiah, joining forces with the evil one to accomplish heavenly
purposes. Jesus refused each time to follow Satan's ways to accomplish
God's will. [Disciple SB]

Jesus' temptation is a series of testings to see if he will use
his extraordinary powers in self-gratifying ways,... To each of them
he responds with a verse from scripture pointing to dedication
solely to the will and purpose of God. [Cambridge Annotated SB]

Jesus responds to each test by appealing to Scripture. In each
instance the quote is from Deuteronomy, which is not as important as the
way in which Christ used the Scripture. What He did in fact was to
draw from each passage a principle-and choose to act on that
principle. Thus we are reminded that the freeing power of God's Word is not
released simply by our knowing it, but only by our applying it. [Victor
Bible Background Commentary]

What was wrong with turning a stone into bread? The issue was
not what the temptation was, but the motive behind it. The devil
often appeals to our pride, hoping that we will take matters into our
own hands rather than trust in God. If Jesus had turned the stone
into bread he wouldn't have been depending on his Father in heaven.
He resisted these temptations by quoting Scripture to reaffirm his
trust in God. [Quest SB]

Jesus was hungry and weak after fasting for 40 days, but he
chose not to use his divine power to satisfy his natural desire for
food. Food, hunger, and eating are good, but the timing was wrong.
Jesus was in the desert to fast, not to eat. And because Jesus had
given up the unlimited, independent use of his divine power in order
to experience humanity fully, he wouldn't use his power to change
the stones to bread. We also may be tempted to satisfy a perfectly
normal desire in a wrong way or at the wrong time. If we indulge in sex
before marriage or if we steal to get food, we are trying to satisfy
God-given desires in wrong ways. Remember, many of your desires are normal
and good, but God wants you to satisfy them in the right way and at
the right time. [Life Application SB]

Jesus quoted this verse when the devil tempted him to turn
stones into bread. Many people think that life is based on satisfying
their appetites. If they can earn enough money to dress, eat, and play
in high style, they think they are living "the good life." But such
things do not satisfy our deepest longings. In the end they leave us
empty and dissatisfied. Real life, comes from total commitment to God,
the one who created life itself. It requires discipline, sacrifice,
and hard work, and that's why most people never find it. [Life
Application SB]

Medical science has shown that after 30 to 40 days of fasting,
hunger, which disappears the second or third day, returns. All the
body's stored resources have been used, and the return of hunger is a
sign that the body must have food again.
Jesus had fasted 40 days and "was hungry" when Satan approached
our LORD and challenged Him to turn stones into bread. After all, as
Satan suggested, that would be a minor miracle for the Son of God to
Jesus answered by quoting a passage in Deuteronomy: "Man does
not live on bread alone." Perhaps the most important word here is
Think about it. Jesus did not respond to temptation by calling
on His resources as Son of God, but instead met each one as "man."
If Christ had met temptation by drawing on His deity, there would
be no help for us in His example. But since Jesus met temptation as
a man, using no more resources than are available to any human
being, you and I have hope! We too can overcome our temptations. We can
follow Jesus' example, draw on the resources He used, and triumph!
This first temptation was directed against Jesus' physical
nature. He was hungry. He wanted bread. Why not make bread? Christ
quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, which calls on man to live by the Word of God.
The point of Christ's response is this: human beings are
physical creatures. But we are more than animals. We have a spiritual
nature that is to control the physical. God's will, not our physical
needs or desires, is to govern our choices.
Today many people argue that if you want something, take it. If
you feel an urge for sex, satisfy it. After all, it's "natural."
Yes, it's natural for animals to satisfy their desires. But because
we are more than animals, it is not "natural" for man to be driven
by physical hungers. We are spiritual beings, and what is right and
natural for us is to be driven by the living Word of our God. [The
365-Day Devotional Commentary]

As in our great abundance we must not think to live without God,
so in our greatest straits we must learn to live upon God; and when
the fig-tree does not blossom, and the field yields no meat, when
all ordinary means of succour and support are cut off, yet then we
must rejoice in the Lord; then we must not think to command what we
will, though contrary to his command, but must humbly pray for what he
thinks fit to give us, and be thankful for the bread of our allowance,
though it be a short allowance. Let us learn of Christ here to be at
God's finding, rather than at our own; and not to take any irregular
courses for our supply, when our wants are ever so pressing; some way or
other the Lord will provide. It is better to live poorly upon the
fruits of God's goodness, than live plentifully upon the products of
our own sin. (Matthew Henry's Commentary)

He who sets out to live by and for "bread" alone does not really
live at all, and at best is doomed to die, for "bread" without God
brings death and not life. [SDA Commentary]

It was a temptation to Jesus to use his powers selfishly and for
his own use, and that is precisely what Jesus always refused to do.
There is always the temptation to use selfishly whatever powers God
has given to us.
God has given every man a gift, and every man can ask one of two
questions. He can ask, "What can I make for myself out of this gift?" or,
"What can I do for others with this gift?" [Barclay Commentary]

The creative energy that called the worlds into existence is in
the word of God. This word imparts power; it begets life. Every
command is a promise; accepted by the will, received into the soul, it
brings with it the life of the Infinite One. It transforms the nature
and re-creates the soul in the image of God.  ED126

I memorized the Bible verse. I quoted it to myself over and over
again. I thought it surely would give me victory over the particular
temptation that had me so defeated. But quote as much as I would, no
victory came. I was just as vulnerable with my Bible verse as without
I suspect many of us have had this experience. We see Jesus
recalling verses from the Old Testament and quoting them to Satan. Jesus
was victorious. Why aren't we when we do the same thing?
The answer lies in the distinction between magic and faith.
Magic is using an object or chant in a desperate attempt to ward off
evil or control circumstances. Faith is a quiet confidence that what
God says is true enough to act on. I had been using my Bible verse
as a magic talisman, waving it desperately to repel temptation. But
when we look at Matthew 4, we see that Jesus used Scripture in quite
another way. He went into the Word, found a principle or truth, and said
in effect, "I will now live by this truth."
Jesus saw the Word of God as truth, and determined to act on
that truth. It was this exercise of faith that gave Him victory over
His temptations. And it is just such an exercise of faith that will
give us victory when we are tempted today.
Yes, let's look for the key to our victory in the Word of God.
But let's not use the Bible in a pagan, magical way. Let's take God
at His Word, act on what He says, and let God use our faith to give
us the victory in Him. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]

Leonard E. LeSourd has written about his late wife, Catherine
Marshall, the author of Christy: "Bibles were scattered throughout our
house...all editions, plus reference books and concordances. We often went
to bed, turned out the light, and listened to a chapter of
scripture on tape. If she could have found a way to spread Bible passages
on a slice of bread, Catherine would have devoured it
"When upset or under spiritual assault or in physical pain,
Catherine would go to her office, kneel by her chair, and open her
Bible.... She would read, then pray, then read, then pray some more. She
liked to pray with the Bible clutched in her hands.... She would rest
her case on its promises. Catherine didn't read the Bible for solace
or inspiration, but to have an encounter with the Lord.... I think
these were the most intense moments of her life.... Catherine's
passion for the Word permeated her whole life. It under-girded her
writing. It formed a base for us as a married team in the making of
family decisions. It provided substance to her counseling of people
through the mail. I'm convinced it was also the basis for her inner
vitality, her charisma, and the mantle of authority she wore with some
The Bible is a living, breathing book. Let God speak to you
through its pages. Let it transform your thinking and your way of life.
Like Catherine Marshall, don't just read your Bible, have an
encounter with the Living God. [God's Little Devotional Bible]

"The Bible tells only two temptation stories, the temptation of
the first man and the temptation of Christ, that is, the temptation
which led to man's fall, and the temptation which led to Satan's
failure. All other temptations in human history have to do with these two
stories of temptation. Either we are tempted in Adam or we are tempted
in Christ. Either the Adam in me is tempted-in which case I fall.
Or the Christ in us is tempted-in which case Satan is bound to
fall." Dietrich Bonhoeffer [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]

By looking constantly to Jesus with the eye of faith, we shall
be strengthened. God will make the most precious revelations to His
hungering, thirsting people. They will find that Christ is a personal
Saviour. As they feed upon His word, they find that it is spirit and
life. The word destroys the natural, earthly nature, and imparts a new
life in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to the soul as a
Comforter. By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is
reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature. Love takes the place
of hatred, and the heart receives the divine similitude. This is
what it means to live "by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth
of God." This is eating the Bread that comes down from heaven.