Crave - Jesus' Temptation 2

The other day I posted some thoughts on the 2nd temptation of Jesus which takes place in Matthew 4. I thought I'd talk about another one today. Here is the passage:

"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.' Jesus answered, 'It is written, 'People do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:1-3)

As I wrote the other day, I believe Satan's 2nd temptation of Christ was all about identity, and challenging him to prove his worth through his actions instead of his being as the Son of God. This first temptation is somewhat similar, but instead draws out issues of what I would call our cravings.

Again, I'm not sure this passage is very comforting to me. First of all, I'm not a fan of the Holy Spirit leading the Messiah into the desert for the sole purpose of being tempted. At first glance it kind of sounds like taking someone snipe hunting. Second, the obvious nature of Jesus' hunger after his forty days of fasting leaves him in a vulnerable position. It is at this point that Satan comes and unleashes his desire for the Messiah's destruction with the most basic nature of sin--temptation laid out as a platter of our own cravings.

Our cravings are the darker parts of our lives. They are the things we are in love with taken too far. The things God has designed for goodness and the glorifications of himself (such as our sexuality, achievements, identity, etc.) become the twisted thorns of sin if the craving takes over our appetites. Sexuality becomes lust. Achievement becomes pride. Identity becomes an obsession.

In this temptation though, Jesus ceases Satan's activities by moving past the temporary fulfillment of his own cravings. Bread alone, although it would be satisfying for a moment, will not fill Jesus' forty day old hunger. It is only the word of God--the logos and life-giving action of God in the world--that can truly satisfy.

May we be a people who crave more than temporary things. May we be filled with the goodness, kindness, gentleness, and all the other fruits of the Spirit himself as we move through this world.