The Word Is Not Magic, but It Is Miraculous

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January 14, 2022

Matthew 4:1-4 NIV

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

CONSIDER THIS

The Word of God is not magical but it is miraculous. 

Theoretically, magical words, or a spell, work in a mechanistic fashion. If we get the words or the spell right, the magic happens. This is not how the Word of God works. 

It brings temptation #1 in the wilderness into an interesting focus. After his baptism, Jesus was sent into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit where for forty days he fasted and was tempted by Satan. 

Satan actually tempts Jesus to use the Word of God as magic. “Tell these stones to become bread,” he says. He, in essence, invites Jesus to “name it and claim it.” He wants him to use words like magic. 

Reading the Bible better means we must understand the larger context of this story and encounter. We are meant to understand this scene and setting as a revisiting of the wilderness in the story of Exodus. As Israel came through her baptism through the parting of the Red Sea and their deliverance from Egypt, so Jesus came through his baptism in the Jordan river. Because Israel did not believe God’s promise, they wandered forty years in the wilderness. Jesus spent forty days, one for each year of Israel’s wandering, in the wilderness. God provided manna (a form of bread) for the Israelites every single day of the 40 years. He did not do it by magic, though, turning stones into bread. He did it by his powerful and miraculous Word. Stones to bread would have been a spectacle. They would have wanted to learn to trick. What words do I say to get this to happen? The miracle happened by the Divine Word alone. Note how Jesus responded to the temptation:

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

The point of the bread was not the bread but the one who provided the bread and to understand that the real bread was the very Word from his mouth. It makes it all the more stunning when later we will hear Jesus, the Son of God, declare, “I am the bread of life.” 

Jesus is the Word of God perfectly revealed as incarnate in the person of God. Jesus is the place where the Word of God and person of God are revealed in perfect union. They exist in a perfect union of convergence and correspondence. 

In other words, the Word of God is not some kind of magically microwaved happy meal. It is part and parcel of God himself—miraculous. 

How does this apply to our lives? We marvel at it. We behold. We bow down. We feast on these words. 

‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

But remember, this is not bread you can make or make happen. It is the bread of Heaven. 

There is no recipe—only Revelation. 

This is the real Wonder Bread. 

THE PRAYER

Yes, Lord, it is truly a marvel that you both give the bread of your Word and your are Word who is the bread of life itself. I can only bow in awe at the mystery of you. Take me deeper into the mystery of who you are. I want to know your Word like food. This means I want to hunger for you. Holy Spirit make it so. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

Are you growing in your appreciation for the nature of the Word of God? Are you seeing the connection between the Word of God as written in the Bible and the Word of God as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

1 COMMENT

  1. Jesus is truly the bread of life. We feast on him whenever we partake of the Eucharist.It is indeed a divine mystery, a sacrament.

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