“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Jesus felt the full force of all temptations. The ones that we feel and cave upon he felt to the highest level–and prevailed victoriously.
You might be saying, “It was different for Jesus–he is the Son of God! How can he really understand me?”
Let me ask you what temptations are strongest for you? Most fall into four big categories: we are tempted for personal honor, control, comfort and acceptance.
One person is tempted to worry their job situation because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. This is being tempted for control.
One person is tempted by the images on their computer screen or television. This is a temptation for personal comfort.
Another person is tempted to not speak up and tell their unbelieving friend or neighbor about Christ because they are afraid what they will think of them. This is the temptation for acceptance.
Someone else is tempted to talk about someone, slightly exaggerating truth to make them look bad. A husband or wife is tempted to defend themselves in the midst of an argument rather than listening to their spouse. This is the temptation for honor.
How then is Jesus tempted like us?
The devil tempted Jesus with an accelerated way to accomplish his work. I’ll give you the kingdoms of this world, the crowds, the publicity, the honor—just bow down and worship me! You see what he tempted him with? I’ll give you the honor, save you the discomfort, secure the outcome, and ensure your acceptance. This is a temptation with all of the same seeds that you have.
And what was Jesus response? He stared down that serpent and muzzled his temptations, one after the other by quoting scripture. Satan dupes us with the same old simple ball fake–& we leave our feet. Christ not didn’t bite but he swatted that mess into the 5th row! He stood, endured, and he saw them through to the very end; bidding the devil to be gone!
To those who struggle with temptation, the writer of Hebrews says, “we have a high priest who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
This is even greater than having a friend who has been through what you have been through and can identify with you. Yes, Jesus is compassionate, but he is also strong and victorious!
(This is taken from a sermon preached at Emmaus Bible Church entitled Jesus, Our Faithful High Priest from Hebrews 4:14-16. Audio here.)