Reading: Matthew 4:1-11
Additional text: Exodus 16:2-15, John 6:24-35
About 3400 years ago, God brought Jewish people out of Egypt and was leading them through the desert to the Promised Land.
On the way, God humbled them, causing them to hunger.
Then God said to Moses something like this:
“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites about food.
I will rain down bread from heaven for you and your people.
Each day, you and your people should go out to gather enough food ONLY for that day, not more:
This is a test to see whether you guys obey my words.
Then on the sixth day, you should gather twice as much for the Sabbath day, the day of rest, the 7th day.
“So tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat.
In the morning you will be filled with bread.
And you will know that I am your God.’”
God gave a lot of quails in the evening.
So they ate them.
In the morning there was a layer of dew.
When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost appeared.
The Israelites asked each other, “What is this?”
That became the name of the food: manna, “What is it?”
“It is the bread God has given you to eat.”
Like this, God gave manna, which they and their ancestors had not known: Deuteronomy 8:3
Like this God was teaching them that they do not live on bread alone but on every word of God.
They become God’s people, when they think like God’s people like that.
So God works to increase their faith.
Will they obey God as God says?
If they trust God’s words, they would obey God.
If they trust God, they would gather enough food for each day, not more, for 6 days.
Then they pass the test.
But if they don’t trust God, they would gather more food, thinking “what if we don’t get any tomorrow?”
If they doubt God’s words, they would fail the test.
God gave manna to train them to trust God.
As they learn to gather only enough food for each day, they learn to trust God’s words.
In order to be God’s people, they need to learn and say:
“We do not live on bread alone but on every word of God.
We obey God’s words and experience the power of God’s words.
We live with God.”
Then through faith, they experience God in heaven.
Slowly they learn to trust that God can provide food in the desert.
They learn to trust God’s words.
They learn to have faith which is very important for anyone who wants to live with God.
If they live according to every word of God, they experience God’s blessings.
God can provide freely because they live by faith, not by sight.
God taught this lessons to every prophet.
All God’s people learn the lesson.
Job learned this lesson and said: Job 23:12
“I have not departed from the commands of his lips.
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”
He learned to treasure every word of God more than his daily bread.
God’s words is more important than his food.
He learned the lesson.
David learned this lesson and said something like this: Psalm 19:7-11
“The words of God are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold.
They are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”
David also said something like this:
God’s words are perfect, refreshing the soul.
God’s words are trustworthy, making the simple wise.
God’s words are right, giving joy to the heart.
God’s words are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
They learn that if they obey God, God can give everything and take care of them.
God has the power over everything in heaven and earth.
God knows what is the best for them.
So God asks them to obey God.
If they have faith to obey God, God can bless them.
(3) The Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the desert.
There Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights.
He was hungry but didn’t complain or grumble.
Then he was tempted by the devil.
The tempter said to Jesus:
“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
What was this tempter saying:
“Many people fail right here.
Did you learn the lesson already?”
So Jesus answered:
“It is written:
‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word of God.’”
Jesus understood God’s words.
Jesus was like:
“Yes, I learn that lesson.
God sent me here to fast and pray before God.
God didn’t ask me to tell these stones to become bread.”
He would not disobey God because of the issue of food.
Jesus wants to obey God’s word.
God’s word is more important than food.
Then Jesus updated this lesson and taught many, many people.
When we read the Gospel of John, we see Jesus teaching this lesson: John 6:24-35
It was after he fed 5 thousands people with two fishes and 5 breads.
Then people wanted to make him a king.
But Jesus left them obeying God.
Next day, they were searching for Jesus who went to Capernaum.
When they found him in Capernaum, they asked Jesus:
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
But looking at their hearts, Jesus was like:
“You are looking for me, because you ate the miracle bread yesterday.
But I did not perform that miracle so that you may seek that kind of food only.
I want to say to you:
“Do not work for food that spoils.
But work for food that endures to eternal life that I can give you.
For that ministry, God the Father has placed his seal of approval on me.”
Then they asked him:
“What must we do to do the works God?”
“The work of God is this: to believe in the one God has sent.”
Your work is to trust God’s Messiah.
We can understand like this:
We don’t go to heaven because of our good works.
We go to heaven because of what Jesus has done for us:
We don’t trust what we have done, but trust what Jesus has done.
So when we believe in Jesus, we go to heaven.
But then they asked him:
“What sign will you give that we may see it and believe you?
Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness.
Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
Jesus was like:
“It is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven.
But it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.
The bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Oh, sir, always give us this bread.”
“I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never go hungry.
Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Jesus is like:
“Those who live on me; live through me; live with my power, live forever.
So eat me, the Bread of Life.
Eat this eternal bread and live eternally.”
Jesus is God’s words.
Jesus is God’s words from heaven.
In the Old Testament, God said:
“You shall not live on bread alone, but on every word of God.”
But in the New Testament, Jesus is saying:
“I am the Word of God who was with God but came to live among you.
I am the living words of God that comes from God.
So when you have me, you have God’s living words.
And I am more important than your earthly food.”
Jesus taught this in various ways.
To teach this, Jesus also initiated the Lord's Supper.
Through the Lord’s Supper, Jesus taught that Jesus is the real food.
When we eat the eternal food who is Jesus, we live forever.
When we eat the eternal bread who is Jesus, we are full of God.
When we are full of God, we are full of God’s character and nature.
Then we will be where God is.
Those who live on the eternal food and believe in Jesus, we will be full of God’s blessings.
So when we pay attention of what Jesus says, we will be blessed.
When we eat Jesus, the spiritual food and obey his every word, we will truly live.
So it is very important to understand his words.
We need to know God’s will to obey.
Then we experience eternal hope and blessings.
If we don’t understand God, we cannot obey.
If we don’t understand God’s teaching and could not discern God’s words, we cannot obey.
But when understand and obey God, God’s blessings follow.
God’s words are very important.
So we read God’s words daily.
We study the Bible to understand God’s words.
Then when we live according to God’s words, we are truly blessed.
Because God knows our situation, God speaks to us.
Then God encourages us to live according to God’s words.
One time, I felt God speaking to me these words.
I'm your God.
I'll protect you with my righteous strong hand.
Do not worry.”
Then later, I found the same words in the Bible: Isaiah 41:10, 13
Then later, I found again God spoke these words in various ways.
Then I learn that God wants me to trust God more.
I learn that God wants me to trust that God is in control.
God speaks to us when we are willing to listen.
Our God is the good God.
God is really kind.
Our God is really good.
God speaks; protects; and make us experience God in our lives.
So we need to listen to God and understand and obey.
Then many big and small miracles follow to assure that his words are true.
God creates us to have this faith and then have the mind of God.
In this universe, that is our role: to have the mind of God.
When we understand the mind of God, we have peace in our heart.
Then God can create peace in this universe through our minds.
So, we humans need to understand the words of God.
We need to understand Jesus’ words.
Everyone needs to understand this.
Every church needs to learn this.
Every city needs to learn this.
Every nation needs to learn this.
Because it good for them.
When they obey God’s words, their city will be truly blessed by God.
When they obey God’s words, their nation will be blessed.
When they obey God’s words, they would have better health.
When they understand God’s words, they would experience God’s provision more fully.
So we need to understand what Jesus is saying to our city.
We need to know what Jesus is saying to our nations, or to other nations.
Then we may share God’s words for them.
If they listen and obey God, they may experience God’s blessings.
If they understand God, they experience Jesus.
Then all the blessings flow.
They may live in God’s power.
Their nations may become wealthier.
Their people may become healthier.
Their nations may become safer.
Then they may live forever.
May we understand how to live with God’s words.
May we be able to live according to the words of Jesus.
May we be able to share the words of Jesus.
May we find God’s intention in his words.
May we believe in Jesus the eternal bread that gives eternal life.
May we live with God’s words and be truly blessed eternally.
Jesus, God’s living word.
Jesus, our bread of life.
May we live according to your words.
May we live with you forever.
In your name, we pray.