This is a very interesting passage, and it’s going to take a couple of days to unpack it. Let’s start with the end of the first verse: “He was hungry.”
I can’t help but ask myself why.
We already covered this to some extent WAY back in Day 2, when Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness as He prepared to begin His ministry. Even when tempted by the devil, He remained steadfast.
But He was in the desert specifically to resist temptation. He purposely fasted for 40 days; Jesus brought that hunger on Himself.
The hunger we see in Matthew 21 comes from simply existing, not intentional effort, which I think makes it even more interesting. Why did the Son of God, the one who created hunger, allow Himself to be hungry?
Jesus chose to be just a guy.
OK, He wasn’t just a guy. Jesus remained fully man and fully god during His time on earth. (John 1:14) But He also chose to undergo the full human experience for you.
It’s really hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that Jesus could endure human pains. He could stub his toe on a rock. He could hit his funny bone and have that crazy sensation shoot up his arm. Could Jesus get blisters? Could he break bones?
We don’t get direct answers from the Bible, but I think this verse suggests He could. If Jesus didn’t eat, He felt the pangs of hunger just like any human being would.
Think about how annoying and terrible it is to be hungry. Not only is your body in pain, but your brain begins to panic the longer food evades you: the tank is getting empty, and we need sustenance now.
If I had the option, I would love to never be hungry again.
And Jesus, the all-powerful God who Himself created the concept of hunger, chose to endure that for you. He didn’t shy away from it. He didn’t feed Himself at the first sign of hunger. I mean, we’ve seen twice already that Jesus could multiply bread, essentially creating food out of nothing.
So why not create a loaf here?
He endured hunger because He wanted the full human experience. Jesus desired to feel exactly as you feel so, when you’re going through the rough times, He can come alongside you and say, “I’ve been there. I know how you’re feeling. How can I help?”
What a God we serve.
Just because Jesus took on hunger doesn’t mean He always did it happily, however. Check back tomorrow to see what I’m talking about…