Because Jesus Was Tempted …

Posted on April 6, 2020


By David Ettinger

Jesus’ Temptations
The fact that Jesus was tempted fascinates me. Though He became a man, He never surrendered His deity (but He did set aside certain attributes of deity). Technically, Jesus could have tweaked His humanity any way He pleased, specifically, creating a human blueprint that would not include temptation. And yet, not only did Jesus choose to allow temptation to enter His life, but He was “tempted in every way, just as we are” (Hebrews 4:15).

That Jesus would do this is an amazing commentary on His love for humanity, and for you. Because Jesus was tempted …

You Are Free From Slavery
Hebrews 2:14-15 says: “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

The phrase “he too shared in their humanity” is among the most extraordinary in the Bible. The older you get, the more acquainted you become with the degenerating effects of aging. As a Christian, you should cherish the truth that one day you will inherit an immortal body. Jesus, however, is immortal and lives in heavenly splendor. Yet, for three decades He chose to become human, with all the bitterness, heartache, and hardship this entails.

And indeed, Jesus experienced the ultimate physical hardship, death. However, His death was like no other as He climbed upon the cross at Calvary and took with Him the sins of the world. In so doing, He defeated death; He saved you from the eternal consequences of death – separation from Him – and offered you life with Him and God the Father in eternal glory.

Until Christ’s resurrection, humanity was unsure about what awaited following death (illustrated often in the Old Testament), and therefore was enslaved by its fear of the unknown. However, when Jesus rose from the dead, He conquered the fear of the unknown, and hence you are no longer a slave to fear. Because Jesus was tempted, you are free from fear.

Furthermore, because Jesus was tempted …

You Have A God Who Understands You
Hebrews 2:18 reads: “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Make no mistake about it: just because Jesus was still God when He came to Earth, He was also fully human. As such, He suffered in every way you did. He experienced the same pain you experience. He hungered, worried, strove, and anguished as you do. And when He died, He felt the brunt of the Roman whip and the piercing of the cruel nails.

Because He allowed Himself to suffer so greatly, Jesus knows precisely what it is to be human. He knows what you are going through. He knows all about your temptations. He lived them. When you undergo severe temptation in your fight to remain holy before a holy God, Jesus knows what you are undergoing. There is nothing you are experiencing that the Lord Jesus cannot empathize with. Because Jesus suffered and was tempted, He can understand and empathize with you in your suffering and temptation.

Furthermore, because Jesus was tempted …

He Gave You A Magnificent Example
Hebrews 4:15 reads: “… but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.”

What gives Jesus His “credentials”? Why is it that only Jesus could have died for the sins of humanity? The answer is, “he did not sin.” In the Old Testament, sacrifices for sin could only be offered through animals “without defect or blemish” (Leviticus 22:21). Only perfect sacrifices could be offered to a perfect God. The same holds true for Jesus; because He lived the perfect (sinless) life, He was the only acceptable sacrifice for the human race. But more than this, He gave to His followers an example of perfection to attain to.

In Matthew 5:48, Jesus says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” In the Old Testament, God tells the Israelites, “be holy, because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). In Hebrews 12:4, the author writes, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” However, being perfect and holy are impossible, and reaching the point where you are willing to die for Christ requires tremendous spiritual maturity. Yet, you are to strive for these. You will fail often, but if you pursue perfection and holiness, i.e., “sinlessness,” your life will be dramatically transformed. The reason for this is that Jesus is perfect and holy, and by striving to be the same, you emulate the One who is the embodiment of these. Because Jesus was tempted, He set for you an example for the ages of how to endeavor for perfection and holiness.

Jesus Strives With You!
How are you doing in your battle against temptation? You are no different; every Christian is engaged in the battle. But take heart, Jesus knows your struggles. Whenever you feel as if you can’t overcome, look to Jesus and consider His temptations. He never once succumbed and, through the Holy Spirit, He has given you the means to overcome your temptations. In your striving against temptation, Jesus strives with you.

And all because Jesus was tempted.