Stones and Bread

The devil is not just simply interested in Jesus doing a magic trick in his presence (Mat. 4:3), rather there is much significance in the language used in this passage. Stones are dead, unmovable. Jesus at one time used similar language when he said he would turn stones into children for Abraham (Mat. 3:9). There is a sharp contrast. Stones represent immaturity; a form of incomplete kingdom. If Jesus turns stones into bread, He will be inheriting an incomplete kingdom. But the Father wants Him to conquer a complete kingdom (Psalm 2); a kingdom conquered through death; the death of the cross (Phil. 2:8). Jesus will turn stones into bread, but the time for eating is not yet. As my good friend Bill Smith observes:

If Jesus turns stones to bread at this point in time, it will ultimately do no good. The Devil is tempting him to seize kingship without the cross. But it is only through the cross that the true Bread of Life can be given. Jesus will become that new bread through death and resurrection.

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