Rossville United Methodist Church
Dedicated to the ones who came before,
the ones who are here,
and for the ones who will follow.
When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness to turn the stones into bread, he refused. Yet, in The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” What gives?
One important difference between the temptation of Jesus and the Lord’s Prayer is the motivation behind the request. Jesus was alone in the wilderness. The devil tempted him to use his power to satisfy his hunger. I think that when Jesus says, “One does not live by bread alone,” he is saying that there is more to life than meeting one’s own needs. Throughout his ministry, Jesus used his power for the benefit of others. He healed the leper. He fed the multitudes. He shared the good news of God’s love with everyone he met. Jesus withheld nothing, not even his own blood; his life was a continual outpouring of sacrificial love for others. Thus, when the devil encouraged Jesus to use God’s gifts to satisfy his own hunger, Jesus replied, “That is not who I am. That is not why I came.”
The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer not only for us, but also for others. Nowhere in the Lord’s Prayer do we find the words “I” or “me” but always “we” and “us.” We do not pray, “Give me this day my daily bread,” but “Give us this day our daily bread.” We ask God to forgive us our trespasses. We ask God to lead us not into temptation, but to deliver us from evil. When we pray The Lord’s Prayer, we are asking God to provide bread for the whole world. We are asking God to forgive those who do not yet know God. We are asking God to deliver all people from temptation and sin. As Christians, we are not only concerned about our own salvation, but also about the salvation of others.
The temptation story reminds us that Christ did not come to earth for fame or power or glory. Christ came to serve. If we claim to be a follower of Christ, then we must do the same. May our prayers, our words, and our lives be a reflection of Christ’s continual outpouring of sacrificial love for the whole world.