When Jesus was in the desert being tempted by Satan, the devil used rationalization in order to get Jesus to sin. He asks what seems to be a simple question, in order to cause the Messiah to doubt the Father of His goodness towards the Son.
“If You are the Son of God…”
He utters those words as a conditional clause. He is saying, “if you are the Son of God, for the sake of argument, then command this stone to become bread.”
Satan is challenging Jesus on His level of weakness, His hunger. The devil knows our weaknesses. This is the kind of person that he is. He watches us and works towards our demise. He tries to hit us where we will be most temped.
For Christ, it is on His personhood.
“Really? Are you the Son of God? If so, prove it. Show me you are the Son of God by turning this stone into bread.”
This temptation is very similar to the one that Adam faced: filled with truth, but twisted just enough to cause a man to fall.
He persuading Jesus to distrust the Father’s providential care.
Here Christ is totally without food and Satan is standing there saying “What is this? You the Messiah, without food? How preposterous. Turn this stone to bread, since you are the Messiah, since you are the Son of God.”
Satan’s true attempt to get Christ to depart from trust in God, which would mean that Christ would be following the dictates of infidelity.
Pseudo-rationalists of our day would quickly say: “But does God really want His Son to go hungry? Of course not. He should use His power to turn the stone to bread. After all, we know He does have the power. If He can turn water into wine, certainly He can turn a stone into a loaf of bread.”
Deuteronomy 8:2-5 “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you.”
The Father took Christ to the wilderness to humble Him and in the process, the Father allowed His Son to hunger.
To chasten Him.
Jesus underwent the discipline Israel could not handle when it was in the wilderness. What sweet obedience we see in our Savior. Keeping the Law, in order to please the Father, and to qualify Himself as Savior is far more important to Him than a meal. Holds to the Law, even at own discomfort.
God holds all things together, and sustains us. A&E failed to do… trusted their eyes, ears, and flesh… instead of trusting in God.
Calvin adds “We ought to trust in God for food, and for the other necessaries of the present life, in such a manner, that none of us may overleap the boundaries which he has prescribed. But if Christ did not consider himself to be at liberty to change stones into bread, without the command of God, much less is it lawful for us to procure food by fraud, or robbery, or violence, or murder.”
No, we should not rationalize away God’s truth. When we find ourselves in want, of even the most basic needs, that is no time to turn to our own means, a.k.a., breaking God’s Law. It’s a time to turn to Him, and trust that He will provide. God will provide just as He did for Christ. That is the God in whom we are to believe and trust. Not the rationalists of our day.