Temptation of Christ question


Here is a short piece of the gospel on the 1st temptation of Jesus.

[3] And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [4] Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:3-4)

Can someone explain this passage, according to Catholic teaching? Because although Jesus was extremely hungry, it was a temptation to eat. It appears that this would have been due indulgence. Thank you.

God bless and grace you


Jesus went out to the wilderness to pray and fast in order in order to teach the lesson the Israelites failed in the dessert. They constantly complained to Moses about the lack of food and water when they should have been focusing on “man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”. Satan tried to derail Jesus from this task just like he derailed the Israelites but he failed.

Does that make sense?


From the Catena Aurea:

Augustine, de Trin., 4, 13: Why did He offer Himself to temptation? That He might be our mediator in vanquishing temptation not by aid only, but by example.

Chrysostom: But that you may learn how great a good is fasting, and what a mighty shield against the Devil, and that after baptism you ought to give attention to fasting and not to lusts, therefore Christ fasted, not Himself needing it, but teaching us by His example.

Augustine, Serm. 210, 2: Not however because Christ fasted immediately after having received baptism, are we to suppose that He established a rule to be observed, that we should fast immediately after His baptism. But when the conflict with the tempter is sore, then we ought to fast, that the body may fulfil its warfare by chastisement, and the soul obtain victory by humiliation.

Hilary: And therefore in the temptation [the devil] makes a proposal of such a double kind by which His divinity would be made known by the miracle of the transformation, the weakness of the man deceived by the delight of food.

Jerome: Christ’s purpose was to vanquish by humility;

Leo, Serm. 39, 3: hence he opposed the adversary rather by testimonies out of the Law, than by miraculous powers; thus at the same time giving more honour to man, and more disgrace to the adversary, when the enemy of the human race thus seemed to be overcome by man rather than by God.


D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 3. “And the tempter coming,” O peirazon, who looked upon this hunger as a favourable moment to tempt him, and to discover if he were truly the Son of God, as was declared at his baptism, desired Jesus to change by a miracle the stones into bread, to appease his hunger and to recover his strength. (Haydock) — By this we are taught, that amidst our greatest austerities and fasts, we are never free from temptation. But if your fasts, says St. Gregory, do not free you entirely from temptations, they will at least give you strength not to be overcome by them. (St. Thomas Aquinas.) The tempter is supposed to have appeared in a human form, and the whole temptation to have been merely external, like that which took place with our first parents in Paradise. It would have been beneath the perfection of Christ, to have allowed the devil the power of suggesting wicked thoughts to his mind. (Jansenius. p. 107.) Had Jesus Christ converted the stones into bread, the devil, according to St. Jerome, would have thence inferred that he was God. But it was Christ’s intention to overcome the proud fiend rather by humility than power. (St. Thomas Aquinas) Thus, if the first Adam fell from God by pride, the second Adam has effectually taught us how to overcome the devil by humility. (Haydock)

Ver. 4. Man liveth not by bread only. The words were spoken of the manna. (Deuteronomy viii. 3.) The sense in this place is, that man’s life may be supported by any thing, or in any manner, as it pleaseth God. (Witham) — St. Gregory upon this passage says: if our divine Redeemer, when tempted by the devil, answered in so mild a manner, when he could have buried the wicked tempter in the bottom of hell, ought not man, when he suffers any thing from his fellow man, rather to improve it to his advantage, than to resent it to his own ruin. Man consists of soul and body; his body is supported by bread, his soul by the word of God; hence the saying, “Lex est cibus animæ.” (Mat. Polus.)


All posts very helpful thank you


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