Rock Eating, Building Leaping, Devil Worshiper (Sympathizing With the Temptations of Christ) Part 2

continued from . . .
The Danger of Turning Back
So here are these 2nd Exodus Hebrew people and they are really suffering for Christ.  They are ready to turn back so God sends them a message through one of His inspired writers of Scripture, 
Hebrews 4:14–16 (ESV)

14 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. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The great danger of temptation is that ultimately it is about you turning back.  Temptation, in whatever form it takes is not only about leading you to sin, but ultimately it will lead you to quit - if you give it leadership in your life.  This was always Israel’s issue, they wanted to turn back.  They constantly doubted God and wanted to go back to their old lifestyle.
Do you find this same struggle within you?  Have you felt that strong urge, since you have been saved, to go back to where you were when you were in bondage?  I have.  But the good news is that we have in Jesus someone who understands and sympathizes with our temptations and He will strengthen us through them if we go to Him.  He will lead us through them if we just keep following Him because He too was tempted in the wilderness.
Are Jesus’ Temptations Really Like Mine?
Now here is where we may struggle.  Look at Jesus‘ temptations.  Turn a stone into bread.  Fly off of the pinnacle of the temple.  Worship the devil so that we may rule the world.  Now when I initially look at this, being honest, I say, “this is not my problem.”  I don’t want to go broadcasting my temptations to you, but I can assure you of this, I have no aspirations to be a rock eating, building leaping, devil worshiper.  I’m good in these areas.  Now if you want to talk about other things, this is our issue.  I don’t know about you, but I want to see Jesus surf the internet and keep it clean.  I want to see what video games he would play and which ones he would refuse.  I want to see which movies he would choose.  I want to see Jesus at a buffet.  I want to see Jesus late for an appointment in traffic.  I want to see Jesus with a screaming kid.  I want to see Jesus behind on his bills and out of work.  I want to see Jesus with a nagging wife or for the ladies a lazy husband.  Those are the scenarios in which I want to see What Would Jesus Do - because when it comes to turning stones in to bread, leaping off buildings, or worshipping the devil, I’m good here!  How about you?
So this leaves us at a precarious place.  We do wonder, can Jesus really help me stay faithful in my marriage?  Can Jesus really help me with my drug addiction?  Can Jesus really help me not lose my mind in raising a teenager?  Can Jesus help me not lose my mind as a teenager?  If Jesus never really felt what I feel, how can we use the word sympathize to describe His leadership over my life in the wilderness?
Three answers here:
  1. A good explanation I read in a commentary was that a drug addict doesn’t have to experience addiction to every drug to understand another person’s drug addiction, even though it may not be the same pills.  An alcoholic doesn’t have to actually take heroin to understand the struggle that a heroin addict might face.  So Jesus’ sympathy with our sin does not require that He actually sit down with the catalog of sin and experience each one of them individually.
  2. Jesus’ sympathy of our temptations is not based on his experiencing every one, His sympathy is based on His nature.  You and I go through temptation with limited knowledge.  We don’t quite know what we are getting into when we get into it.  Jesus’ knowledge is perfect.  I would then argue that Jesus experienced temptation at a depth of being that you and I could never sympathize with.  When Jesus was tempted He felt it perfectly, which is something you and I are incapable of doing.  Process that thought for awhile and you will grow to appreciate Jesus’ sympathies for us.
  3. The three temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness may hit closer to home than you think.  You and I may already be stone eating, building leaping, devil worshipers without even realizing it.  Let’s explore this thought.
To be continued . . .


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