Zev Porat

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jesus and Temptation: Hebrews 4:15-16

The night of May 12, 2015 seemed to be an ordinary night in my hometown, but the word "seemed" carries much weight for one family in particular. On this night, when most people were going about their normal routines, a locally well-respected man would not complete his journey home. This man was the football coach when I was in high school. Total he served as the head coach at my hometown high school for about 10 years. More than a coach, however, he was a husband, a father, and a grandfather. Due to an automobile crash, coach Mac passed away on the night of May 12, 2015. A wife was left to deal with the reality that she would never see her husband again, physically. Four children, in an instant, lost the man who raised them, protected them, supported them, loved them, and encouraged them. In addition, four young children will now experience life without the love and affection of a grandfather. Without a doubt, this family was in shock from the reality that now gripped them. Of course, they experienced all the emotions and grief that accompany the unexpected loss of a close family member.

In addition, two weeks later I sat in a hospital room of a woman battling health concerns while her husband was flying home because he had been laid off from work. This is a situation where at one moment a man was working diligently to support his wife and children even when it meant being away from home for extended periods, but at the next moment there is a man who is helpless to be a provider for the family he loves. Unfortunately, bills do not stop; food still needs purchasing and family expenses are ever-present. Certainly, the struggle lies in the reality that even though this man desires to work for his family, he cannot due to circumstances beyond his control.

These two situations may not be reality for every person reading this post but what is reality for all of us is the fact that unexpected situations arise in our lives on a regular basis. Moreover, these situations bring with them a host of emotions ranging from a rage of anger to extreme heartbreak and everything in between. The point here is that life's unexpected situations will bring about emotions and actions and various temptations to sin. Many times believers justify giving into these temptations based upon the weight of the life event at hand. Other times we give into temptations, not because of a traumatic situation, but because we think we do not have any choice but to go along with temptation. However, let us not allow for justification to take place based upon life events or a passive attitude. Let us understand that sin is contrary to the holy nature of God. Temptation is an enticement to accept what is completely against God. Therefore, to give into temptation is to say that temptation is greater than God himself. However, Scripture teaches us that Jesus Christ came to earth to offer salvation to humanity and break the chains of sin and temptation that bind humanity. Moreover, Jesus not only paid the price for humanity, but He did it in a certain way as to empathize with humanity.

Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) reads, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with us in our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet without sin." Therefore, Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) came to the earth He created and subjected Himself to the same temptations that humanity experiences so that we could boldly approach His throne during our time of weakness (Hebrews 4:16). Please do not miss the weight of this principle. Jesus Christ was tempted in every way. Meaning in every way possible you experience temptation—whether in temptation to curse God during a traumatic life situation or the everyday temptations you face on a regular basis—Jesus Christ experienced it before you. However, He experienced temptation and was without sin. Thus, when we experience temptation we can know we are not alone in our experience. We can gain encouragement from knowing Jesus overcame. We can also gain peace from resting on the strength of Jesus Christ to overcome the temptation we are facing. Ultimately we can overcome temptation through Jesus Christ.

James Christopher Powell has served as assistant minister in Northwest Florida for ten years. 
He studies at The Baptist College of Florida where he is working on a Master's degree in Christians Studies.
He married his wife Jennifer in March 2014.

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