“But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God are’”
God’s Words are equated to bread, emblematic of God’s kind of food. Bread signifies life. Jesus addressing the tempter places the Word of God as the final Sustainer of life itself. By His declaration, He establishes what is real and necessary to every disciple.
The Word of God is the food that the believer needs. Without the promises of God, we’ll “starve” inside spiritually. We must have what God is speaking, all that “the mouth of God” wants to share with us.
Deuteronomy 8:2–3 parallels Matthew 4:1–4. When Jesus is tempted three times, He quotes exclusively from the book of Deuteronomy each time. We see Him strengthening His calling by using the truth found in the OT, He establishes His ministry using the Law of Moses.
God’s words have a profound effect on our hearts. They change us from the inside out and nothing can do that. Without his words, something dies deep inside us. We look around and realize there is no real meaning.
“I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread.”
“Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.”
“He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.””
Matthew 26:36-38, NLT
Gethsemane means “olive press.” It’s there, olives from the grove were crushed for their oil. And it’s here the Son of God would be crushed. Jesus’ trip to the garden was intentional. Located just a short distance from the Temple mount, it was secluded, and yet it enabled Jesus and his disciples a chance to rest. It seems that it was a regular spot for them to regroup and pray.
Incidentally, these olive trees are the oldest ones known to man. DNA tests identified them to be over 800 years old, and even if cut down the trees will grow up out of the roots. It very well could be that these were there when Jesus entered the garden to pray.
Judas Iscariot knew the place where he would be.
He was able to lead the mob right where Jesus was praying. It also seems that there were several groves there, and there was at least one ‘press’ that was used to extract the oil from the olives. As these were crushed they released the oil directly into buckets that were placed there.
Quite aptly, Jesus used this process to describe the things he would endure. All four gospels describe him as being in that place. It’s also when Jesus calls on three of the twelve to join him in prayer. These completely failed to intercede and watch with him. Jesus would have to go it alone.
The loneliness that Jesus faced was quite real.
He had no one to turn to in the hour of his need, He was all alone. He had been deserted by everyone.
Why? Why was he abandoned by those he needed the most? He kneels down, with no one to help him. He had brought those who were his closest, the three he knew would help carry him through this critical moment–and guess what? They fell asleep.
When I weave the four accounts together (and I must), I try very hard to understand all of this. I admit I get angry, (especially in my more lucid spiritual moments.) Why did they leave him at the very moment when he needed them the most? Would’ve I done it differently? IDK.
“Being full of pain, Jesus prayed even harder. His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
As I try to make sense of this I have no real answers for you. But I somehow realize that the Son of God understands us. He has known loneliness and confusion. He understands what its like to be completely lost, and totally forsaken. I know that he was pressed so hard, that he sweated drops of blood. But he survived God’s oil press.
“It is not darkness you are going to, for God is Light. It is not lonely, for Christ is with you. It is not unknown country, for Christ is there.”
“Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
22 “Jesus turned and saw her.
“Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.”
I really don’t have a faint idea of her sickness. But I think to bleed constantly must’ve been tiring. Physically, and emotionally–exhausting. She had to ‘plan’ her days carefully to accommodate all of this. Things were never easy for this woman. It truly crippled her life; it would’ve consumed her.
This Jewish woman was suffering with an issue of blood for 12 long years. She had sought help from one physician after another, and spent all her money paying doctor’s bills. But she had not been helped. In fact, her problem got worse. And we need to remember, that she’d be completely ostracized socially–a total write-off, a reject.
Leviticus 15 explains this:
“Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. 21 Anyone who touches her bed will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. 22 Anyone who touches anything she sits on will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. 23 Whether it is the bed or anything she was sitting on, when anyone touches it, they will be unclean till evening.“
Fourteen years of being unclean; it seems like a half of a lifetime. She was cut off from any solace of the Temple–that would’ve denied her a sacrifice for her sin. Not only was 14 years a long time, her physical disease had powerful implications spiritually as well. She would have carried around her sin like a heavy coat. She would never know the peace that infuses grace.
Her only hope was Jesus, plain and simple. His reputation as a healer and a teacher had spread like crazy through the country (even King Herod followed His ministry!)
She had one overriding desire. Nothing but a healing would be acceptable.
Perhaps Jesus had already passed by her? After all, He was on His way to a simple resurrection! But in her thinking, she could still touch Him, perhaps she just stretch out and grab the tassel of His robe. And guess what; she was healed, completely. A lightening strike!
We don’t bleed, but we sin all the time.
All of us are like this woman. We don’t bleed, but we sin all the time. Romans states, “we all have sinned, we all have fallen short of the glory of God.” Isaiah graphically describes all of us “to be like and unclean thing.” The Hebrew word for those two words is “menstrual cloth.” All the good we do amounts to something less than zero.
Each of us have definitely sinned. We’re very much ‘defiled’ even at our very best. Sin has completely ruined us. We are foul.
We must reach out, and keep reaching out, grabbing a hold of Jesus. We must seize Him, even if it’s a tiny tassel of His robe. We must snatch it and never let go; until He heals us and restores our lives. We know He can.
“Christ is the Good Physician. There is no disease He cannot heal; no sin He cannot remove; no trouble He cannot help. He is the Balm of Gilead, the Great Physician who has never yet failed to heal all the spiritual maladies of every soul that has come unto Him in faith and prayer.”