“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.’”
And the tempter came and said to him,
Satan now came to test Jesus with the first temptation. He would come with three temptations.
Note that Matthew referred to the devil by his function—the tempter.
The word “came” communicates local nearness. Satan came into the close purview of Jesus.
“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
The word “if” in the Greek means since. Satan assumed the reality that Christ was God in this temptation. The tempter tempted Jesus to act independently from the Father in the area of His Sonship. Jesus was the “Son of God” but it was not God’s will to arbitrarily turn stones into bread to satisfy His human hunger. It was the Father’s will for Jesus to hunger in His humanity.
But he answered, “It is written,
Jesus began his response to all three temptations with the words, “It is written.” All three quotes are from Deuteronomy.
The Greek for “it is written” implies that it stands written as an ongoing document from God. Deuteronomy was as valid in Jesus’ day as it was in Moses’ day. Jesus asserted the standing authority of Scripture. Jesus did not depend on His deity to challenge the tempter.
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
God’s Word is a greater source for sustaining Jesus than physical food. Bread is basic food; man cannot live simply by basic food, for he needs supernatural food as well.
The word “man” indicates Jesus would face temptation in His humanity, not His deity.
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 in response to Satan’s temptation. Above all, He turned to the Word of God. Jesus demonstrated that principle by both His ability to quote Scripture and the particular Scripture He used—the verse itself showing the way to respond to temptation.
The words “every word” indicate the verbal inspiration of Scripture. Jesus believed Scripture to be the verbally inspired Word of God.
Victory over sin comes from the Word of God.
Satan always tempts us to move into human viewpoint exclusive of divine viewpoint. The devil seeks to tempt us to find resource in something other than God or His Word. His timing in this is when we are at our weakest. Jesus’ reply has to do with the way God expects us to respond to temptation. God, found in the Word of God, is the object of our faith. That is how we become alive unto God. It is the Word of God that sustains dynamic fellowship with God. Dependence on God depends on knowing the Word of God. Just as physical food goes into our body and converts into energy, so taking in the Word of God converts into spiritual energy and power. Note the ways the tempter tempts us to sin in the first temptation:
The tempter will come into our personal domain.
He will come after our strengths.
He will come in time of our greatest weakness.
He will time his temptation for its most effective impact.
He will appeal to the desires of the flesh.
His appeal is to meet our own needs rather than a higher end.
He tempts us to use valid things in an invalid way.
He tempts us to move into human viewpoint exclusive of divine viewpoint.