SUNDAY STUDY: Social Needs or Spiritual Needs?

From “Devotions for a Deeper Life” by Oswald Chambers

And when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’

Matthew 4:1-4

This passage of Scripture describes a kind of socialistic temptation. Basically, Satan is saying: “Put man’s needs first. Abolish hunger! Make Your appeal to their bodies, make Your appeal to their desire for fellowship, and the world will crown You king!” 

No one understood better the poignant needs of poverty and human suffering than our Lord. Remember that Jesus had come to be a Savior and a King, and you will see at once the subtle appeal in this temptation of Satan.

The temptation to provide bread and abolish hunger occurred more than once in our Lord’s life (see John 6:13-15). People instantly wanted to enthrone Jesus because of His ability to feed thousands. Jesus resisted. His goal was not to be a popular social leader, merely providing for physical needs.

World brotherhood was not His mission on earth, either (see Matthew 12:46-50). All men are not His brothers; only those who do His will and His Father’s will are Christ’s brothers. Jesus has deep compassion for all humanity, and He has promised the communion of saints. But we cannot assume that He will gather all people into His fellowship.

The temptation to cater merely to the social needs of mankind was subtly alluring to Jesus Christ. it continues to allure modern Christians and the Church.