In the past, I’ve struggled with seeing Jesus as being tempted; I mean really tempted. I’ve seen Him, in my minds eye, as some angel-like figure; able to rise above (pardon the pun) the thing that Satan was trying to lure Him with because He knew exactly the emptiness that was being offered to Him. Surely He could look past the kingdoms and the rock to see the face of God. Come on, I say to myself, Jesus wasn’t tempted in the way I am. I see my ugly side and it isn’t pretty. There’s no way that Jesus, in my rosy view of Him, can be tempted like I am.
But He was. Was His experience really all that human, though? I mean, did His pulse race? Did His hands get sweaty? Did He feel the urge to give in from His head all the way to His toes? Did He imagine what it would be like for a ½ a second? Did His breathing become shallow as He fought off the temptation? Hebrews 2:18 says that Jesus suffered when He was tempted. If Jesus suffered, and He knows what it’s like to be tempted, then I’m sure His battle wasn’t a pretty sight, either. So much like mine.
What a relief to know that I have a savior who knows what it’s like to be me. He knows what gets to me. He has a complete and full understanding of what it is like to be enticed, to be attracted to something evil. Jesus didn’t sin, but He knows what we go through when those things pop up from time to time, seemingly out of the blue, and taunt us, trying to coax us away from our Lord.
I’m trying to have a better picture of what Jesus went through. I don’t want to minimize it anymore. It was tough. He was starving, tired, thirsty, feeling weak, I’m sure. Thank you, Jesus, going through all of that for us. Thank you for all you’ve done for us. You not only chose to humble yourself into humanity, coming as a baby, but then You purposely went through what each and every one of us goes through when we’re lured by evil. You didn’t sin, though. You give us strength and courage to withstand. You are truly our Great High Priest – one who understands and compassionately gives us mercy and grace. “For we do not have a high Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16.)