by Byron Nichols
Have you ever felt glad that Jesus was tempted to sin while he lived here on the earth? I am very glad that he experienced temptation as a human being. Please do not misunderstand. I am not at all saying that Jesus sinned. I remember that the Hebrews writer stated that Jesus did not sin (Hebrews 4:15), and that Peter said that Jesus “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). I understand that temptation is not sin — it is what causes a person to want to sin.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all recorded the fact that Jesus, after his baptism by John, was subjected to three temptations by Satan. We perhaps have the idea at times that this series of trials constituted all of the temptations that Jesus was ever subjected to. However, Luke says that after these three temptations the devil “departed from Him for a season” (Luke 4:13). Satan left him, but only for a while. That was not the end of all of the temptations of Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that our Lord was “in all points tempted like as we are …” Hebrews 2:18 states, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” These verses declare to us that Jesus Christ, though being the very Son of God, endured temptations just like we do today.
The Bible is telling us that sin was at times attractive and appealing even to Jesus! If this were not true, then there would have been no temptation involved, would there? To realize and acknowledge that Jesus also found it difficult to not engage in sin ought not to cause our faith in him to waver, not at all. Rather, it ought to increase our faith in him! We have a Savior who was sinless in spite of sin’s enticement and allurement. He was not without sin because he could not be tempted — he was without sin because he overcame the desire to participate in sin! He wanted to please his Father much more than he wanted to please himself. That was the key.
Whoever says that it is easy to live as a Christian must be living in a different world from the one in which I am living. Just as Satan was actively trying to get Jesus to give in to temptation, so is he constantly attempting to mislead us into thinking that we don’t really need to try to please God all of the time. Surely we can all identify with the concern expressed by the spiritually-minded Paul in Romans 7:18 and 19. There the apostle says, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” Although Paul certainly struggled with temptation and sin, he was reassured by the knowledge that even though God does allow us to be tempted, he never allows us to be tempted beyond our ability to overcome the temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
When Jesus was tempted, his knowledge of God’s Word was a great help. He relied upon the Scriptures for strength in times of weakness. We are reminded of the notable words of David in Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Jesus had hidden God’s Word in his heart; then when Satan attacked him, Jesus had the weapons of the Scriptures with which to battle the enemy. He not only knew what the Word said, he had complete trust in that Word. Jesus was also a Man of prayer. We should gain confidence in prayer from the words of Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Yes, I’m glad that Jesus was not immune to the appeal of sin. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 7:25 that Jesus ever lives to make intercession for those who draw near unto God through him. What a tremendous blessing this is! Just think, as we pray to God through Christ, that same Christ who knows just what it is to be tempted is pleading to the Father in our behalf, remembering that Satan has the ability to make sin very attractive to man. How could we ask for more?
But wait ? there is more. Such verses as 2 Timothy 4:1 and 8, Matthew 16:27, Acts 10:42, 2 Corinthians 5:10, and Matthew 25:31-34 reveal that this same Jesus who was tempted and who now intercedes for us is going to be the judge who will hear our case and declare our eternal destiny. As our judge, Jesus will offer to us the consolation that he has been in our shoes, he has experienced human life with its problems and trials. Because he will be my judge, I am very glad that Jesus was tempted.
Thanks to The Voice of Truth International, Vol 7, p. 4-5.
by Byron Nichols