Monday Rewrite: Fresh Bread

He stared at the rocks, long and hard, heard the growling rumble in his stomach. They were the precise shape and size, would perfectly satisfy his hunger. In an instant it was done. The bread sat in his hands, warm, fresh, he tore it with his teeth, let it melt on his tongue, felt the satisfaction fill his stomach and warm his bones. He walked to the highest point, looked down at the rocks below, the words of Psalm 91 came back to him. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you. For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone. If God is his father, then falling here will only prove that.

He takes a step and, even as he feels the rush of air and lurch of his stomach, so a bright fleet of angels swoop in, scoop him and bring him to a safe and pleasant landing far below. And as he lands a city rises out of the earth, and another, and another, until all the kingdoms of the world stretch before him; and he becomes aware of a noise, a rippling sound growing in volume, and he realises it is the sound of global applause. Every hand clapping, every person on the planet on their feet, applauding him. Giving him the honour due. And for a moment he feels an incredible sense of peace. But only for a moment. A hammer sounds, clashing with a nail, and agony tears at every nerve in his body. Suddenly he is upright, high and lifted up, but no one is applauding. He is offered vinegar, not bread, and any angels stand back.

As the images of fresh bread, adoring crowds and that bright angelic fleet blur and drown in the mire of searing pain, he knows deep within him; the rejection of all those things, under that burning sky three years before, has given him the strength to be here now, on this cross, for the world, for those he can see, and for those reading this now.

Matthew 4 vv 1-11

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