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’.”
To drive outside of Jerusalem east and south, into the Judean desert, is to encounter arid terrain covered with countless rocks of every shape and size. Had Jesus said the word, a million or more could have suddenly become so many loaves in a bakery as large as the mind might imagine.
Famished, why not? Yes, the suggestion came from the tempter, but what was wrong with it? If extended solitude coupled with personal deprivation had raised any self-doubt about who he was, or even why he found himself in such desperate straits, a creative miracle might well reset his mind, bring refreshment to the body. He surely could erase the weakness, take charge of his diminishing condition. After all, he was the Son of God.
Yet the Savior refused to act merely out of what his own mind reasoned, or out of what his flesh was demanding. He desired to truly live, not just physically exist. “I need something more than bread,” he replied. “I need whatever word comes from my Father’s mouth.” He remembered that his ancestors had desperately wandered in a desert. That His Father “humbled” them and “let [them] go hungry” and fed them with day-by-day manna (cf. Deut. 8:3) to learn the same lesson. True nourishment is living obediently to what one hears from the Father day-by-day, even when reason and flesh demand otherwise.