The Testing of Jesus (Hebrews 2:18)
"Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted" (Hebrews 2:18)
Part 2 of 6
Jesus was tested while on earth. The most memorable example is when He was tempted in the desert by Satan. Matthew records, "then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread" (Matthew 4:1-3). In this case Jesus was hungry, or a better way to put it is that He would have been starving. If there was ever a time when He would be weak in His humanity or tempted by the flesh this would be it. But look at His reply, "Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God' “ (Matthew 4:4). Even in His hunger, He was not tempted to the point of sin and responded with scripture.
In the next instance the Bible records, "Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.”If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' “ (Matthew 4:5-7). Satan became aware that he could not tempt Jesus with fleshly desires so he raised the ante and used scripture to tempt Jesus into proving His lordship. "Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' “ (Matthew 4:7). In other words, Jesus' understanding of the things of God trumped Satan's misuse of scripture. By having an eternal perspective He could not be tempted in this way either.
Lastly the scriptures record that "Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.”All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me" (Matthew 4:8-9). The interesting thing about this is that Satan had the power to offer this to Jesus because the world was his; he obtained it in the garden from Adam. In the same way, by offering it to Jesus in exchange for His worship, Satan was attempting to seize control of Jesus' heavenly kingdom. Of all the things that might peak Jesus' interest, this would be it because this was the very reason He came to earth as a man, to regain control of what was lost in the garden. But Jesus could not be fooled. "Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' “Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him" (Matthew 4:10-11). Jesus knew the Father and knew His plan so He could not be tempted in this way either. Jesus proved His faithfulness in being tempted in this way. Satan got nowhere with Him and left at Jesus' command. Angels attended to Him afterwards as this trial was hard on Him, but He proved that sin, evil and the things of the flesh had no hold on him. He could not be tempted with them.
However, this is not the only way that Jesus was tempted and tried while on earth, He was tested in many ways. At every turn the Pharisees were also there to test him. In reading through the gospels you will see it everywhere, "The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven…" (Matthew 16:1); "Some Pharisees came to him to test him…" (Matthew 19:3); "But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me...?" (Matthew 22; 18). The list goes on and on. In every case they were demanding answers from Him. They were looking for ways to entrap Him. They wanted to catch Him in their snare so they could accuse and kill Him.
He did this for us. He underwent these trials so He would be a faithful High Priest in all things related to God. Isaiah records the reason, "after the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities" (Isaiah 53:11). He knew the result was bringing reconciliation and peace to us on God's behalf. He underwent testing, trials and temptation so that we would not have to. The result is He empathizes with us when we struggle and go through trials. Because of this he is able to run to us and help us in our time of need.
Tomorrow we look at Part 3: Jesus Helps Us When Tempted