"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tempting Jesus

Concerning Jesus, Hebrews 4:15 tells us,

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.

And then there is that whole Satan-tempting-Jesus story in the gospels. Now for those who believe Jesus wasn't God this is no huge deal.  A man is tempted. Big deal. Happens every day.  He resisted all temptation?  Yes, bigger deal and hooray for his ability to do so!

But for we who believe Jesus is God, how do we make sense of it?  If Jesus knew he wouldn't fall for temptation because he is God and God is bigger than temptation then it really wasn't the same kind of struggle with temptation that we have.  So how could he sympathize with our weaknesses? Right?

 If I know I wouldn't be attracted to women because I prefer men, it's not a temptation to parade lovely ladies in front of me.  Sorry...only analogy I could think of. Or maybe I could have used coffee. Yes, if I know coffee wouldn't tempt me because I don't care for it, then offering coffee no matter how aromatic or delicious (to you), it wouldn't be a temptation for me.  Same with hazelnuts or pistachios...you get the idea.

I was reading a book today that said, "Christ in his human awareness voluntarily limited access to his divine knowledge so that he could suffer real temptation; Christ did not know that he could not sin. Christ freely chose by his human will to resist temptation; that is, his divine will did not overwhelm or impose itself upon his human will. ... Jesus lived his life in dependency on the empowering of the Spirit and, therefore, is an example for how we too can live victoriously over sin.  Just as Jesus was 'led by the Spirit' (Luke 4:1), we too as believers are to be 'led by the Spirit' (Rom. 8:14)."  With "moment-by-moment commitment to the will of his Father" Jesus did not yield to sin.

The author gave an analogy of our entering a room where the door closes and unknown to us the door is on a timed lock which means it will not open for two hours.  "You consider leaving once or twice, but in the end you freely choose to stay in the room for the full two hours. After you read a newspaper and some magazine articles, you decide to leave. By this time, the lock has automatically been released by the timer and you freely walk out the door.  Why did you stay in and not try to go out?  Because you freely decided to stay. Would you have been able to leave?  No."

Follow that?  :)

So all that to say, I wonder if when

Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

Jesus was telling Peter that his offer was tempting Jesus and this was Jesus' way to yield to God's will and not man's desires.  No one wants to suffer and be rejected and killed.  Is this why Jesus told Peter he was a "stumbling block" to him?

Your thoughts on any of this are welcome.  I'd even like to know how YOU think of Jesus' temptations and whether or not this author makes any sense to you.  I actually like the part about Jesus being led by the Spirit as an example of how we are to live and be victorious over temptations in life. 

pgs. 141,142 -- That's Just YOUR Interpretation by Paul Copan


Amber said...

I do think that author makes some sense. I think of it in the terms of the fact that Jesus had two wills. He was both fully human and fully divine, so He possessed a human will, and the divine Will. It was the human will that could be tempted. It was the only way this could work - I always remember the phrase, 'that which is not assumed is not healed'. Now, the thought occurs, well, *could* the human will of Jesus have chosen sin? On the one hand, I want to say 'yes', because all humans have the capacity to sin. On the other, if you are God, then you cannot sin. So I think that's one I'm going to have to chuck up to Ineffable Mystery, like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. (Actually, the answer to that is one, but only the gavotte.)

Susanne said...

I love how you summed it up! Thank you!! I enjoyed what you had to say as always. :)