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A closer look at the cross of Christ: Tempted in every way like us Hebrews 4:14-16

11 Apr

Hebrews 4:14-16: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. {15} 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 was without sin. {16} 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.”

4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.NIV These verses logically follow from 2:17-3:1, “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. . . . Therefore . . . fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess” (niv).

The intervening section explains how Jesus is greater than Moses and Joshua, two of Israel’s greatest leaders. Jesus is greater than the law Moses gave; he gives a rest greater than Joshua gave in conquering the Promised Land. The writer moved on to show how Jesus is also greater than anyone in the Jewish priesthood, another important part of the Jewish heritage.

The word “therefore” ties in with the description of Jesus in 2:17-3:1 quoted in the previous paragraph. Our merciful and faithful high priest, Jesus, became like us in order to die for us, offering the once-and-for-all sacrifice for sin. Since we have a great high priest would have portrayed a vivid picture to the Jewish Christian readers. The high priest had been their highest religious authority. The priesthood began with Aaron, Moses’ brother (Exodus 28:41). Only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies in the temple, and then only once a year to make atonement for the sins of the whole nation (Leviticus 16).

Jesus is the “great” High Priest, better than all the high priests of Israel. Here is why:

  • The high priests were humans who could offer sacrifices but could do nothing to take away sin. Jesus gave his life and died as the final sacrifice for sin.
  • The high priests could enter the Holy of Holies only once a year to atone for the sins of the nation. Jesus has gone through the heavens and has unrestricted access to God the Father. “Gone through the heavens” is a critical concept in Hebrews. In 7:26, Christ is referred to as exalted above the heavens, and 9:24 states that Christ entered heaven itself. “Gone through the heavens” refers to Christ’s transcending nature as our high priest and to his work for us in the highest of all sanctuaries, heaven itself.
  • The high priests interceded between God and the people, but they were human and sinful themselves. Jesus intercedes between God and people as the sinless Son of God, human yet divine. He had been tempted in every way humans are, so he can mercifully intercede for us and assure us of God’s forgiveness.
  • The high priests were the highest religious authorities for the Jews. Jesus has more authority than the Jewish high priests because he is both God and man.
  • People could not approach God except through a high priest. When Jesus died, the veil that separated the Most Holy Place in the temple was torn in two, indicating that Jesus’ death had opened the way for sinful people to reach a holy God.

Because of all that Christ has done and is doing for us, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. Do not drift away (2:1), but cling to this faith. “The faith we profess” most likely refers to a formulation or confession of faith they had once publicly accepted (see 3:1). The writer explains to the Jewish audience that they should not go back to an inferior system because they can have all that the system promised and longed after—access to and acceptability by God.

“Jesus fulfilled those desires,” says the writer, “hold on to that faith!” Allow Jesus to be your High Priest; only he can protect you from inevitable judgment (described in 4:12-13). Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God mighty to save, but the Son of Man able to feel.

J. C. Ryle

 

This is good news to people who wonder, “How can I approach God?” or “Will God listen to me?” Because Jesus is the High Priest, Christians can approach God and God will hear them when they pray. No sin is too great to keep God from hearing you, no background is too severe to cause your great High Priest to refuse to represent you. No matter what your family background, job history, ethnic roots, or past behavior, Christ is a faithful High Priest who represents all who trust in him.

4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.NKJV Because Jesus, our High Priest (4:14), was made like us, he experienced life completely. He grew tired, became hungry, and faced normal human limitations. Thus Jesus can sympathize with our weaknesses. Not only that, but he also was in all points tempted as we are. Jesus, in his humanity, felt the struggle and reality of temptation. Matthew 4:1-11 describes a specific series of temptations from the devil, but Jesus probably faced temptation throughout his entire earthly life, just as we do (see 1 John 2:16). He experienced the full pressure of temptation—all its power, tricks, and enticements. Temptation often ends for people when they give in to it, but Jesus was different. Being God, Jesus could never have given into sin. Although he was a human being, he was unlike us in that he was without sin. From our limited perspective it is difficult to understand this great mystery. What we can say is that Jesus could have sinned (which makes temptation real), but we know that he didn’t sin (which means he never yielded to temptation).

We can find comfort in knowing that as Jesus faced temptation, he knows how difficult it is to resist. We can be encouraged in knowing that Jesus faced temptation without giving in to sin and that he gives us the power to do so as well. For more on Jesus’ sinlessness, see 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5.

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.NKJV Through his death on the cross, our great High Priest, Jesus, opened access to God. Now people can approach God directly because of Jesus’ sacrifice for sins. Because Jesus gave his life to do this for us, let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace. This verse is an open invitation to regard God as a great ally and true friend. Yes, God occupies a throne, a seat of power and authority, but it is a throne of grace, not a throne of greed or domination. The term “throne of grace” describes the constant care and love offered to God’s undeserving children.

God’s grace is a characteristic of his reign. “Grace” means undeserved favor. Our ability to approach God does not come from any merit of our own but depends entirely on him. Faith enables us so to rejoice in the Lord that our infirmities become platforms for the display of his grace.

C. H. Spurgeon

 

Believers can “come boldly” and confidently to this throne, for the king is our Father, who loves us as his children. At God’s throne, we will not receive anger or be ignored; instead, we will obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. God is not only concerned with converting people and collecting disciples; he also cares and nurtures those children who are his own. He listens to our needs. No request is insignificant, and no problem is too small for the one who sits on the throne of grace. God will never reject a Christian’s plea or ignore one who brings requests before God. When we come to God, we are promised “mercy,” God’s loving-kindness and forgiveness. When we come to God, we will receive “grace,” God’s undeserved favor, that will help in time of need. No matter what the problem, no matter what sin caused the need, God promises to help us at just the right time—his time. This doesn’t mean that God promises to solve every need the moment we come to him. Nor does it mean that God will erase the natural consequences of any sin that was committed. It does mean, however, that God listens, cares, and will answer in his perfect way, in his perfect timing.

 BOLDLY
Prayer is our approach to God, and we are to come “boldly.” Some Christians approach God meekly with heads hung low, afraid to ask him to meet their needs. Others pray flippantly, giving little thought to what they say. Come with reverence because he is your King. But also come with bold assurance because he is your Father, Friend, and Counselor.

Our Great High Priest (4:14-16)

The Holy Spirit continues to appeal to Jews who have heard the gospel and turned from Judaism but have not yet trusted Christ. He has been saying, in effect, “You know your dissatisfaction with Judaism and with your own lives. You know the superiority of Jesus to prophets, angels, and Moses, and the dangers of not trusting Christ and of your need for Him. What is keeping you from making the final decision?” Hebrews 4:1-13 was an urgent appeal not to delay in accepting God’s salvation, His perfect rest, in Jesus Christ.

Until now the appeal has largely been negative: if you do not believe, you will be doomed—forever apart from God and His rest. God’s Word has been shown in its all-seeing and judgmental role, as a two-edged sword (4:12).

The danger of hell is certainly real, and any preacher—especially when trying to reach the unsaved—is not true to the gospel if he avoids this truth. Because it is true, and because it is so terribly important, it must be preached and taught. Avoiding it is not only being unfaithful to God’s Word but also being unfaithful to the needs of the unsaved. To cry “Fire!” in a crowded building where there is no fire is not only against the law but extremely cruel and dangerous. But not to cry “Fire!” when a building is in flames is even more cruel and dangerous. Done in the right spirit and way, warning unbelievers of the dangers of hell is one of the greatest kindnesses we can show them.

The Positive Message

The message now turns to the positive side of the gospel. Salvation does more than keep us out of hell, immeasurably more. Many people have a caricature of fundamentalism, or evangelicalism, as having no message but “fire and brimstone, hell and damnation.”

Salvation not only saves from spiritual death, it brings spiritual life. It should be sought not only because of what will happen to us if we do not accept it, but because of what will happen to us if we do. What happens to us when we accept it is based on who Jesus is. If there were no other reason in the universe to be saved, who Jesus is would be reason enough.

Coming into a living relationship with Him is the greatest experience a person can have. To walk in the fellowship of the living Christ would be a glorious thing even if there were no hell to escape. So we have reason to receive Jesus Christ and enter into God’s rest not only because of fear of His judgment but because of His beauty, not only because of His wrath but also because of His grace, not only because He is a judge but because He is also a merciful and faithful High Priest.

Three things make Jesus our great High Priest—His perfect priesthood, His perfect Person, and His perfect provision. Because He is perfect in these aspects, He is God’s only true High Priest. All others, no matter how faithful, were but symbols of His priesthood.

His Perfect Priesthood

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (4:14)

Throughout the book of Hebrews the high priesthood of Jesus Christ is exalted. In chapter 1 He is seen as the One who has made “purification of sins” (v. 3). In chapter 2 He is “a merciful and faithful high priest” (v. 17) and in chapter 3 He is “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession” (v. 1). Chapters 7-9 focus almost exclusively on Jesus’ high priesthood. Here (4:14) he is called a great high priest.

The priests of ancient Israel were appointed by God to be mediators between Himself and His people. Only the high priest could offer the highest sacrifice under the Old Covenant, and that he did only once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). All the sins of the people were brought symbolically to the Holy of Holies, where blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat as a sacrifice to atone for them. As no other human instrument could, he represented God before the people and the people before God.

As we learn from Leviticus 16, before the high priest could even enter the Holy of Holies, much less offer a sacrifice there, he had to make an offering for himself, since he, just as all those whom he represented, was a sinner. Not only that, but his time in the Holy of Holies was limited. He was allowed to stay in the presence of the Shekinah glory of God only while he was making the sacrifice.

To enter the Holy of Holies, the priest had to pass through three areas in the Tabernacle or the Temple. He took the blood and went through the door into the outer court, through another door into the Holy Place, and then through the veil into the Holy of Holies. He did not sit down or delay. As soon as the sacrifice was made, he left and did not return for another year.

Every year, year after year, another Yom Kippur was necessary. Between these yearly sacrifices—every day, day after day—thousands of other sacrifices were made, of produce and of animals. The process was never ended, never completed, because the priesthood was not perfect and the sacrifices were not perfect.

Jesus, our great High Priest, after He had made the one-time, perfect sacrifice on the cross, also passed through three areas. When He passed through the heavens, he went through the first heaven (the atmosphere), the second heaven (outer space), and into the third heaven (God’s abode; 2 Cor. 12:2-4). Jesus went to where God Himself, not simply His glory, dwells. This is the holiest of all holies. But Jesus did not have to leave. His sacrifice was made once for all time. The sacrifice was perfect and the High Priest was perfect, and He sat down for all eternity at the Father’s right hand (Heb. 1:3). “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:4-5). He had made the perfect atonement for sin, the purpose for which He had come to earth. And the work was completed when He entered heaven and presented Himself in the Holy Place (Heb. 9:12).

Our great High Priest did not pass through the Tabernacle or the Temple. He passed through the heavens. When He got there He sat down, and God said, “I’m satisfied. My Son, Jesus Christ, accomplished the atonement for all sins for all time for all those who come to Him by faith and accept what He did for them.” The appeal of 4:14, therefore, is for yet uncommitted Jews to accept Jesus Christ as their true High Priest. They should demonstrate that their confession is true possession by holding fast to Him as their Savior. This emphasizes the human side of the believer’s security. True believers hold fast, as God holds them fast.

His Perfect Person

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (4:15)\

     At the end of verse 14 our great High Priest is again identified as Jesus, the Son of God. Here together are His human name, Jesus, and His divine title, Son of God. These two parts of His nature are also reflected in verse 15.

JESUS’ HUMANITY

Most people seem to think of God as being far removed from human life and concerns. Jesus was the very Son of God, yet His divinity did not prevent Him from experiencing our feelings, our emotions, our temptations, our pain. God became man, He became Jesus, to share triumphantly the temptation and the
testing and the suffering of men, in order that He might be a sympathetic and understanding High Priest.

When we are troubled or hurt or despondent or strongly tempted, we want to share our feelings and needs with someone who understands. Jesus can sympathize with our weaknesses. The phrase “No one understands like Jesus” in the well-known hymn is not only beautiful and encouraging but absolutely
true. Our great High Priest not only is perfectly merciful and faithful but also perfectly understanding. He has an unequaled capacity for sympathizing with us in every danger, in every trial, in every situation that comes our way, because He has been through it all Himself. At the tomb of Lazarus Jesus’ body shook in grief. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just before His arrest, He sweat drops of
blood. He experienced every kind of temptation and testing, every kind of vicissitude, every kind of circumstance that any person will ever face. And He is at the right hand of the Father right now interceding for us.

Jesus not only had all the feelings of love, concern, disappointment, grief, and frustration that we have, but He had much greater love, infinitely more sensitive concerns, infinitely higher standards of righteousness, and perfect awareness of the evil and dangers of sin. Contrary, therefore, to what we are inclined to think, His divinity made His temptations and trials immeasurably harder for Him to
endure than ours are for us.

Let me give an illustration to help explain how this can be true. We experience pain when we are injured, sometimes extreme pain. But if it becomes too severe, we will develop a temporary numbness, or we may even faint or go into shock. I remember that when I was thrown out of the car and skidded on my back on the highway, I felt pain for awhile and then felt nothing. Our bodies have ways of turning off pain when it becomes too much to endure. People vary a great deal in their pain threshholds, but we all have a breaking point. In other words, the amount of pain we can endure is not limitless. We can conclude, therefore, that there is a degree of pain we will never experience, because our bodies will turn off our sensitivity in one way or another—perhaps even by death—before we reach that point.

A similar principle operates in temptation. There is a degree of temptation that we may never experience simply because, no matter what our spirituality, we will succumb before we reach it. But Jesus Christ had no such limitation. Since He was sinless, He took the full extent of all that Satan could throw at Him. He had no shock system, no weakness limit, to turn off temptation at a certain point.
Since He never succumbed, He experienced every temptation to the maximum. And He experienced it as a man, as a human being. In every way He was tempted as we are, and more. The only difference was that He never sinned. Therefore, when we come to Jesus Christ we can remember that He knows everything we know, and a great deal that we do not know, about temptation, and testing, and
pain. We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses.

This truth was especially amazing and unbelievable to Jews. They knew that God was holy, righteous, sinless, perfect, omnipotent. They knew His divine attributes and nature and could not comprehend His experiencing pain, much less temptation. Not only this, but under the Old Covenant God’s dealings with His people were more indirect, more distant. Except for special and rare instances,
even faithful believers did not experience His closeness and intimacy in the way that all believers now can. Jews believed that God was incapable of sharing the feelings of men. He was too distant, too far removed in nature from man, to be able to identify with our feelings and temptations and problems.

If comprehending God’s sympathy was hard for Jews, it was even harder for most Gentiles of that day. The Stoics, whose philosophy dominated much Greek and Roman culture in New Testament times, believed that God’s primary attribute was apathy. Some believed that He was without feeling or emotions of any sort. The Epicureans claimed that the gods live intermundia, between the physical and spiritual worlds. They did not participate in either world, and so could hardly be expected to understand the feelings, problems, and needs of mortals. They were completely detached from mankind.

The idea that God could and would identify with men in their trials and temptations was revolutionary to Jew and Gentile alike. But the writer of Hebrews is saying that we have a God not only “who is there” but one “who has been here.”

Weaknesses does not refer directly to sin, but to feebleness or infirmity. It refers to all the natural limitations of humanity, which, however, include liability to sin. Jesus knew firsthand the drive of human nature toward sin. His humanity was His battleground. It is here that Jesus faced and fought sin. He was victorious, but not without the most intense temptation, grief, and anguish.

In all of this struggle, however, Jesus was without sin (choôris hamartia). He was completely apart from, separated from, sin. These two Greek words express the absolute absence of sin. Though He was mercilessly tempted to sin, not the slightest taint of it ever entered His mind or was expressed in His words or actions.

Some may wonder how Jesus can completely identify with us if He did not actually sin as we do. It was Jesus’ facing sin with His perfect righteousness and truth, however, that qualifies Him. Merely experiencing something does not give us understanding of it. A person can have many successful operations without understanding the least bit about surgery. On the other hand, a doctor may
perform thousands of complicated and successful operations without ever having had the surgery himself. It is his knowledge of the disease or disorder and his surgical skill in treating it that qualifies him, not his having had the disease. He has great experience with the disease—much greater experience with it than any of his patients—having confronted it in all of its manifestations. Jesus never
sinned, but He understands sin better than any man. He has seen it more clearly and fought it more diligently than any of us could ever be able to do.

Sinlessness alone can properly estimate sin. Jesus Christ did not sin, could not sin, had no capacity to sin. Yet His temptations were all the more terrible because He would not fall and endured them to the extreme. His sinlessness increased His sensitivity to sin. “For consider Him who has endured such
hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin” (Heb. 12:3-4). If you want to talk to someone who knows what sin is about, talk to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ knows sin, and He knows and
understands our weakness. Whatever Satan brings our way, there is victory in Jesus Christ. He understands; He has been here.  We have a sympathetic High Priest, whose priesthood is perfect and whose Person is perfect.

 His Perfect Provision

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (4:16)

The One who understands us perfectly will also provide for us perfectly. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13). Jesus Christ knows our temptations and will lead us out of them.

Come to God’s Throne of Grace

Again, the Holy Spirit appeals to those who are yet undecided about accepting Christ as their Savior and are led to that burial in water in order to have sins forgiven. They should not only keep from going back into Judaism, but they should hold on to their confession of Christ and, finally—and necessarily—go on to draw near with confidence to the throne of grace.

Most ancient rulers were unapproachable by the common people. Some would not even allow their highest-ranking officials to come before them without permission. Queen Esther risked her life in approaching King Ahasuerus without invitation, even though she was his wife (Esther 5:1-2). Yet any penitent person, no matter how sinful and undeserving, may approach God’s throne at any time for forgiveness and salvation—confident that he will be received with mercy and grace.

By Christ’s sacrifice of Himself, God’s throne of judgment is turned into a throne of grace for those who trust in Him. As the Jewish high priests once a year for centuries had sprinkled blood on the mercy seat for the people’s sins, Jesus shed His blood once and for all time for the sins of everyone who believes in Him. That is His perfect provision.

The Bible speaks much of God’s justice. But how terrible for us if He were only just, and not also gracious. Sinful man deserves death, the sentence of justice; but he needs salvation, the gift of grace. It is to the very throne of this grace that any person can now come with confidence and assurance. It is the throne of grace because grace is dispensed there.

How can anyone reject such a High Priest, such a Savior—who not only permits us to come before His throne for grace and help, but pleads with us to come in confidence? His Spirit says, “Come boldly all the way to God’s throne that has been turned into a throne of grace because of Jesus. Come all the way up, receive grace and mercy when you need it—before it is too late and your heart is hard and God’s ‘today’ is over.” The time of need is now.

What a High Priest we have. He sympathizes and He saves. What more could He do? 

  1. Christ is the Great High Priest (Part I): The Sympathetic High Priest, 4:14-16

(4:14-16) Introduction: Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is the Supreme High Priest. This glorious truth begins a new discussion on the greatness and supremacy of Jesus Christ. He is the great High Priest, by far the greatest High Priest who has ever stood between God and man. The implication is unbelievable: as the great High Priest, He is able to sympathize—to actually feel every experience that we experience—no matter how painful. Jesus Christ not only feels for us, He feels right along with us. He is our great and sympathetic High Priest—the One who meets our every need and carries us through all the sufferings of this life. (Note: this passage and the next passage deal with the same subject, the great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. They are split into two parts because of their length. However, a person may wish to combine them and make them one message or lesson and study.)

  1. The identification of the great High Priest (v.14).
  2. The significance for man (v.15-16).

(4:14) Jesus Christ, Deity—High Priest: the identity of the great High Priest. Note the word great. It is being used to set Jesus Christ apart from all other High Priests. Aaron, who was the first High Priest, was considered by the Jews to be the greatest of the High Priests. But this passage is declaring that Jesus Christ was the greatest High Priest. Two reasons are given.

  1. Jesus Christ has “passed into the heavens.” He is before the very throne of God; He is in the very presence of God Himself. An earthly High Priest ministered or passed into the most holy place of the earthly temple. But Christ passed or ascended into heaven and ministers in heaven. He ministers in the very presence of God Himself. Therefore, He is greater by far than any earthly High Priest including Aaron.
  2. Jesus Christ is “Jesus the Son of God.” His earthly name Jesus speaks of His human nature and sympathy for man. Jesus was a man just like all other High Priests. He suffered all the trials and temptations that other men and High Priests suffer; therefore, He can sympathize with all those who come to Him as their High Priest.

But note: Jesus Christ was also “the Son of God.” This was His heavenly name. He was divine, the very Son of God Himself who came to earth to deliver and save men from sin, death, and condemnation. He came to save us to the uttermost—to carry us before the very throne of God. He came to make it possible for us to live in the very presence of God Himself. How can He do this? Because He is the Son of God. As the Son of God He has the power to save us to the uttermost—to make us acceptable to God. No other priest can do this. Therefore, Jesus Christ is greater than all other priests. Jesus Christ alone is the great High Priest.

The point is this: let us hold fast our confession. Jesus Christ alone can save us. He alone has passed into heaven. If we wish to go into heaven, we must confess Christ and hold fast to our confession. We have to be genuine; we have to hold fast if we are to enter heaven and live with God.

 (4:15-16) Jesus Christ, High Priest: the significance of Jesus’ High Priesthood for man is fivefold.

  1. We have a High Priest who feels with us. The word “touched” (sunpathesai) means to sympathize, feel, and suffer with. It means to sympathize and feel with a person to the point that the hurt and pain are actually felt within one’s own heart. The idea is that Jesus Christ actually suffers when we suffer.

Name the trial or pain, temptation, or suffering—name the infirmity or weakness—name any and all human experiences—Jesus Christ actually sympathizes and feels with us. He actually suffers and hurts right along with us. We could ask for no greater Savior; we could crave no greater Intercessor; we could long for no greater High Priest to stand before God for us. Jesus Christ is our great High Priest. He is our representative before God. He is the One who carries on the glorious ministry and intercession for us, and He “is touched with the feelings of our infirmities”—with all of our human weaknesses and frailties.

  1. We have a High Priest who was tempted in all things just like we are, yet He was without sin. We must remember this glorious truth and never forget it, for it is the very basis of man’s salvation. No man will ever be saved unless Jesus Christ did live a sinless life. Why? Because some man has to live a sinless life and secure the ideal and perfect righteousness that covers sinful men. Apart from Christ there is no ideal righteousness that can stand before God and be acceptable to God. And only perfection, only the ideal, can stand before God. Therefore if Christ has not secured the ideal and perfect righteousness for us, then there is no righteousness to cover us—no righteousness in which we can believe and place ourselves—no righteousness to make us acceptable to God.

But this is the glorious gospel, and it is the point of this verse: Jesus Christ was sinless. He was tempted in all things just like we are, but He never sinned. He went through every experience and every trial and temptation that we go through. And He bore them all, never sinning. William Barclay points out that Christ even bore more than what we ever have to bear—much more:

“He is like us in all things—except that He emerged from it all completely sinless….The fact that Jesus was without sin necessarily means that He knew depths and tensions and assaults of temptation which we never know and never can know. So far from His battle being easier it was immeasurably harder. Why? For this reason—we fall to temptation long before the tempter has put out the whole of his power. We are easily vanquished; we never know temptation at its fiercest and its most terrible, because we fall long before that stage is reached. But Jesus was tempted as we are—and far beyond what we are. For in His case the tempter put everything he possessed into the assault, and Jesus withstood it. Think of it in terms of pain. There is a degree of pain which the human frame can stand—and then when that degree is reached a person faints and loses consciousness; he has reached his limit. There are agonies of pain he does not know, because there came collapse. It is so with temptation. We collapse before temptation; but Jesus went to our stage of temptation and far beyond it and still did not collapse. It is true to say that He was tempted in all things as we are; but it is also true to say that never was man tempted as He was” (The Letter to the Hebrews, p.38)

  1. We can call upon God—boldly. But note two things.
  2. God is sitting upon a throne, the seat of authority, power, honor, glory, respect, and reverence. Therefore, we are to approach Him in respect and reverence.
  3. God is sitting upon the “throne of grace.” Grace means that God is love, and He longs to shower His love and blessings upon man. But how could God, who sits upon the majestic and glorious throne of the universe, be so gracious to man? How could God care for man, care for a creature who is such a small part of so vast a universe? Care for a creature who has cursed, denied, ignored, and rebelled against the Sovereign Lord of the universe? Because of Christ Jesus. Christ is there in the throne room of God, and He is seated there as the Savior of the world, as the Ideal and Perfect Man who sacrificed His life for the sins of the world. He is there pleading our case before God. And the one thing God does is listen to His Son. Whatever Jesus asks, the Father does. Jesus Christ is our Representative, our Intercessor, our great High Priest before God’s throne. He has turned the throne of God from a throne of judgment into a throne of grace. Therefore, “let us come boldly before the throne of grace.” We have the right, so let us do it. Let us approach God through Jesus Christ, and God will do whatever we ask through Christ. God’s throne is now a throne of grace; it is now opened up for any person to approach, no matter how bad and terrible a life he has lived. God will receive him through Christ Jesus.
  4. We can now obtain the mercy of God. We need God to have mercy upon us because we have sinned against Him.

God will forgive our sins; He will have mercy upon us. But we must come to the throne of grace and ask for mercy. We must acknowledge that mercy comes only through Christ Jesus, the great High Priest. He and He alone knows our need for mercy; He and He alone bore our sins and paid our penalty and condemnation. He and He alone can represent us before God.

  1. We can now find grace to help in time of need. What a glorious promise! Help is now available to carry us through life. No matter what confronts us—trial, trouble, tribulation, temptation—help is available, the very help of God Himself. God will pour out His marvelous grace upon us—all of His strength and blessings. God’s grace will strengthen us to walk right through the trial and trouble. His grace will help us conquer and triumph over all circumstances and situations. But remember why God is able to do this: because Jesus Christ has suffered the same experience. He has been upon earth Himself, suffering through the very same trial. Therefore, He knows how to walk through and conquer the trial and suffering. All we have to do is come boldly before the throne of grace and ask Him.
  2. A temptation is not present if the possibility for a wrong choice is not there.

Though I don’t fully understand why or how, I believe, from Luke 4, when the devil tempted Jesus:

* That he led Jesus to the highest point of the temple.

* That the devil somehow had the power to grant Jesus the power and splendor and control of all the kingdoms of the world.

I don’t know how.. but it would have not been tempting to Jesus unless the devil could have delivered on his promises?

  1. Jesus felt the full power of the Devil’s temptations…temptation at its greatest
  2. He was tempted through the flesh, eyes, and pride of life.
  3. He did not sin, though He felt this full power.

* We might not understand all these verses could say.. .but we must clearly see that the Savior can identify with us, and is therefore sympathetic with us.. and “let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence…

TEMPTATION Used in KJV to refer to testing, trying, and enticing to evil. When the KJV was translated in 1611, “temptation” meant all of these, but the word has narrowed in meaning in modern times. Modern translations use “testing,” “proving,” “trying,” and “tempting.” Four distinct uses of the Hebrew (nsh) and Greek (peirazo) words for trying or tempting are:

God tests the loyalty or disloyalty of persons. “God did tempt (nsh) Abraham” (Gen. 22:1). God “tested” Abraham’s loyalty to God when He told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Hebrews 11:17 says: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac.” In Deuteronomy 8:2 Moses said: “God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove (nsh) thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.” (Compare Ex. 20:20; Judg. 2:22.) Christ also tested the loyalty of persons. Jesus asked Philip a question “to prove (peirazo) him: for he himself knew what he would do (John 6:6).”

Jesus’ enemies tried Him to get something to use against him. “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting (peirazo) desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven” (Matt 16:1). (Compare Matt. 19:3; 22:18, 35; Mark 8:11; 10:2; 12:15; Luke 11:16; 20:23; John 8:6.)

Persons are tempted or enticed to sin. James 1:13 says, “Let no man say when he is tempted (peirazo), I am tempted by God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” Both the Old Testament and New Testament make it clear that God does not entice persons to sin, but both indicate that God allows human beings to be tempted. (Compare 1 Chron. 21:1; Matt. 4:1, 3; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2, 13; 1 Cor. 7:5; 1 Thess. 3:5; Rev. 2:10.) These passages refer to the temptation as coming from the “tempter,” “devil,” or “Satan.” In 1 Corinthians 10:13 Paul said: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” James 1:14 says that “every man is tempted, when he drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” Persons are thus tempted from without by the tempter or from within themselves. Jesus taught His disciples to pray: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt 6:13). Since God does not entice to sin, this is a cry of the soul for help in the midst of temptation.

Persons are not to test God. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16 when He said: “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matt. 4:7). People did put God to the test. (Compare Ex. 17:2, 7; Deut. 6:16; 9:22; Num. 14:22; Acts 5:9; 15:10; 1 Cor. 10:9; Heb. 3:8-9.) When the apostles and elders from the Jerusalem church came to Antioch and questioned the admission of the Gentiles into the church, Peter said that the Holy Spirit had been given to the Gentiles: “Why tempt ye God?” (Acts 15:6-11). (by H. Page Lee and the Holman Bible Dictionary).

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2022 in cross

 

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