And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
That to which Satan here challenges the Lord was not sinful in itself, but would have been sinful for Him. To have complied, would have been a defeat of His whole mediatorial work. If on each sharper pressure of the world's suffering and pain upon Himself, He had fallen back on the power which as Son of God He possessed, and so exempted Himself from the common lot of humanity, where would have been the fellow-man, the overcomer of the world by His human faith, and not by His Divine power? The whole life of faith would have disappeared. At His Incarnation the Lord had merged His lot with the lot of the race; the temptation is, that He should separate Himself from them anew: " Son of God, put forth Thy power." When in some besieged and famine-stricken city, when in hard straits during the march through some waterless desert, a captain or commander refuses special exemptions from the lot of his suffering fellow-soldiers, when a Cato pours upon the sands the single draught of water which has been procured in the African desert and brought for his drinking, such a one in his lower sphere acts out what the Lord in the highest sphere of all was acting out now. He who made the water wine, could have made the stones bread; but to that He was solicited by the need of others, to this only by His own. And this abstinence of self-help was the law of His whole life, a life as wonderful in the miracles which it left undone as in those which it wrought.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.