Scripture: Luke 4:1-13
Key verse: (4) “One does not live by bread alone.”
Reflection: I remember the first time in ministry that I wanted to turn a rock into bread. I was a student chaplain at a hospital in New Jersey, and was called to the pediatrics unit where a mother was trying to make a difficult decision about her son’s treatment plan. None of the options were ideal. As I sat with that young mother and discussed what the doctors had told her, I remember so desperately wanting to be able to just fix the problem for her — or, better yet, make it go away entirely.
Ministers aren’t the only ones who know what that temptation feels like. Any parent who has watched a child struggle through difficulty at school or with relationships knows in a deep part of their heart how good “turning stone into bread” would feel. All of us know that ache to be able to change circumstances we know we have no power to change — watching Hurricane Florence’s slow creep across NC recently being but one example of such a time that ache has cropped up.
It is interesting to me that Jesus resists the temptation to make bread from stone in the wilderness. We tend to read it as a call to deeper willpower on our part. And, of course, there are times in life when we are called to act as we are able. But I wonder if this story is better read as yet another statement of Jesus’ solidarity with us. When he resists the quick fix, it seems to me an example of the God who shares our humanity fully with us – people who are well acquainted with the desire to be in control of circumstances we have no power to change. When he refuses to make things easier for himself, he is pledging himself, wholeheartedly, to his people, even in the midst of painful seasons. Actually, this is where so much of the life of faith is cultivated: in times when we are called to trust God with our lives, and the lives of others. That’s hard to do, but here is our reminder that Jesus is with us all the way.
Prayer: Loving God, I am thankful that Jesus walks with me, even and especially in circumstances I’d like to control, but can’t. Cultivate a deeper sense of his presence with me today. Amen.
Author: Anna Dickson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].