Most of us will recognize these as the words the devil used to tempt Jesus. It was the second temptation in the desert, and no doubt Jesus was pretty hungry by that time. The temptation to turn these stones magically into bread must have been overwhelming. Hunger has a powerful effect on human feelings, resisting it no easy matter.
So why was it that Jesus was asked this at all? Why not just tempt him with bread, sauce and a nicely grilled plaice?
The issue is one that is not easy to explain in the world we live in where practically everything you touch has been made by a machine. Is there one thing in the room where you sit that has not been made by a machine? Computers, books, desks, flooring, you name it, it’s all produced by machine. Is there anything that hasn’t been made by a machine? Perhaps the only thing we can point to today is a piece of fruit. Even that will have been handled by machine at some point.
Yet machines cannot grow food for us, can they? They can help, they can speed up the process – but they cannot make it grow. You need soil for that, if the fruit is to be truly healthy. No chemical replacements will do here: pure organic humus connects a root to the soil it exists in. The rest is the work of creation itself. That, thankfully, is not work that machines can tamper with to any great extent.
So what is the meaning of turning stones into bread? Well we’ve seen that we cannot eat stones, anything we eat will have been alive at some point. Yes, we can use chemical substitutes for vitamins – yet this is to miss the point of fresh food! It’s a lot more than some abstract statistical measure called vitamin content. Good food tastes nice, smells good, things that I realized were lacking in modern supermarket vegetables when I started growing my own veggies again. There is a marked difference between a carrot “untouched by human hand” and a carrot from my garden with a little dirt on it. Yet this is not measurable save with complex equipment – yet one bite will tell you if it’s any good or not. You won’t need a data sheet to tell you the difference, just take a bite. What’s more you’ll never appreciate chemical-induced carrots again. They are vapid and flavourless, mere orange discs that fill the gaps on your plate.
Making Money To Buy Food.
Yet at a shop you cannot just take food from a shelf. You must buy it there, or at a restaurant or station cafe. Money changes hands, you receive something in return. By the end of the meal there is nothing left, either of your food – which has started the process of becoming part of you – or your cash. That has started the process of becoming part of their business.
So think where your cash came from. You earned it in some fashion, did something that someone paid you for. Let’s say you make motorcars, you spend your days fixing the wheelnuts onto them in a factory. Can you eat those wheelnuts? No. Well, you can swallow them, you cannot digest them, they are not part of the living realm. They cannot become part of you. You can say that they are made of stone – they are a product of an ore which is a stone. So, in fixing hexagonal stones to something else that owes its existence to the mineral realm, you earn your living. That is to say, you can go to the supermarket after work and buy some bread.
Do you see now how almost every one of us turn stones into bread? What’s more, it’s such a sly temptation that most of us fell for before we even knew there was a choice.