A Question of Identity (06-03-21)
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: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:1-4)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)
I don’t think I have met anyone who doesn’t like the smell of freshly baked bread, whether it’s made in a bread-maker overnight and you come down to that lovely aroma filling the kitchen in the morning, or whether you have kneaded the dough yourself, waited for it to rise and then baked it in the oven.
The problem with freshly baked bread is that it is so moreish and bad news for the waistline. We avoided getting a bread maker for a long time for that very reason, but then we inherited one. (Long story!)
Jesus was alone in the wilderness for forty days, after which time we are told he was hungry. What better way to tempt him than to suggest he created his own freshly baked bread?
Behind this first of Jesus’ three temptations in the wilderness though, was not just the matter of hunger, there was also a challenge to his identity. The devil’s question to Jesus, ‘If you are the Son of God’, was a question about his identity. Jesus though didn’t have an identity crisis; he didn’t need to prove who he was by turning stones into bread.
Comfort eating is a problem for many people today, whether it is a secret stash of chocolate, raiding the fridge at night or eating all that freshly baked bread.
I wonder how much comfort eating is really about our own sense of identity; overeating to try and satisfy an inner angst. Others of us may look to other things to give us identity: possessions, qualifications, careers…
None of these things on their own is necessarily wrong, but in terms of giving us identity, they are all, at best, only fleeting.
Jesus was confident of his identity as the Son of God and knowing this, he was able to resist all that the devil threw at him.
As followers of Jesus our identity is as ‘Children of God’, and our security is in ‘The great love the Father has lavished on us’. Let us then be confident in our identity, especially when we are tempted to try other ways of proving it.
Thank you Lord Jesus that my identity is in you.
Help me to live each day in the knowledge and security of your love for me.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.