Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:17-18)
The Temptation Of Jesus
When Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem, His birth was as common as any other baby born that day. There was nothing unusual about how He was born as Mary gave birth like all mothers before her. As Mary’s time drew near, she experienced labor pains, and when it was time to deliver, the process of birth took the natural course. What made the birth of Jesus unusual was the conception of the divine seed in a virgin’s womb. Joseph was undoubtedly amazed by the whole process as Mary wrapped the little baby boy and placed Him in the warm comfort of the manger. To their surprise, a group of shepherds came by to see the baby as proclaimed by the heavenly hosts. The record does not tell how long it took to find lodging, but in a short time, Joseph and Mary secured a house to live in. A few years passed as the little baby Jesus learned to talk with baby giggles, laugh, eat His vegetables (except brussels sprouts), and learned to walk. As a two-year-old child, Jesus played with toys and explored the world with the wonder of a growing mind.
One day, some men from the East visited Joseph and Mary leaving gifts for the young child. Warned by an angel that Herod the king sought to kill Jesus, Joseph packed his family and made the arduous journey to Egypt. The wonders of the Egyptian landscape filled the mind of the little boy as Jesus saw giant pyramids, colossal statues of Egyptian gods, and temples filling the land. Sometime later, Joseph again packed his family to return to their native land. Instead of returning to Bethlehem, Joseph went north to Galilee to Nazareth, where he worked as a carpenter. Jesus would see the birth of His step-brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas along with His sisters. The family would enjoy the hard work of the carpenter’s life in the town of Nazareth. Each year they would travel to the Temple following instructions of the Law of Moses. At the age of twelve, He excelled Himself when He debated the Temple’s teachers and listened carefully to their teachings. At the age of thirty, Jesus would leave home to begin the ministry He was sent to accomplish. Less than three years later, He would be dead. After three days, He arose. The sinless Son of God had fulfilled the eternal plan of redeeming humanity from the scourge of sin. What made the death of Jesus and His resurrection powerful was that Jesus was tempted but never sinned. He never once committed sin – without exception.
The gospels mention the temptation of Jesus when the Lord was driven to the wilderness and, after forty days of fasting, tempted by Satan. Often the idea of the temptation of Jesus centers upon this tri-fold event where the tempter charms the Son of God with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Repeatedly, Jesus rebukes the devil by appealing to scripture. Failing to tempt Jesus, Satan leaves for a short time but then continues the onslaught of wicked temptation on the heart of Jesus. The temptation of Jesus did not begin with Jesus in the wilderness. His trial and suffering the appeal of temptation started when Jesus came to the age of knowing right and wrong. When Jesus was sixteen years of age, He was tempted. At the age of twenty-five, Jesus was tempted. The reality is that Jesus suffered the temptation of sin long before the wilderness journey. Satan knew who Mary’s son was, and he was trying everything in his power to subdue the Son of God. He failed for thirty years. Jesus was victorious for thirty years without exception.
There were constant temptations throughout the ministry of Jesus until finally, Jesus was crucified and died. When the Lord said, “It is finished,” He meant many things, including the satisfaction that His life was complete, and He had kept the will of the Father without sin. Jesus was made like His brethren. If Jesus were not a man like all men, He could not be a merciful and faithful High Priest to aid those who are tempted. It would seem doubtful to live for more than thirty years without sin, but Jesus did that very thing. He never gave in. His life was devoted to refusing the tentacles of sin. Jesus left a pattern of righteousness for all who suffer the pains of sin. There are no excuses. Each person’s object and goal is to sin less in life, knowing the impossibility of being sinless. Jesus accomplished what no man can do so that He could leave an example for all those burdened with the darkness of sin. Temptation can be overcome. Jesus proved that.