Same But Different - Hope 103.2

Same But Different

By David ReayWednesday 14 Jun 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Hebrews 4:14-15

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, 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 empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. (NIV)

This is both a comforting and puzzling text. First, the puzzle. We cannot believe Jesus literally experienced each and every temptation we face. He could not have been tempted to be unfaithful to his wife. Or dabble in internet pornography. Or treat his children harshly. Or battle cancer. Or cheat on his expense account.

But these specific temptations are merely offshoots of more basic temptations. We can presume Jesus faced the temptations of lust, envy, ungodly anger, greed, despair. He did not walk this earth in some holy bubble whereby he was immune from the normal human struggles we all face.

And this brings us to the comfort of this passage. We are not relating to a dim distant deity existing in serene isolation in some far corner of the cosmos. We are dealing with a God who suffered and struggled. Though he has not experienced the specific struggles that we encounter, we know that Jesus knows the basic shape of struggling with the notion of being untrue to God. And Jesus also knows how to resist temptation and so is able to empower us.

When we come to him in our weakness, he does not despise us, or look down on us with pursed lips of disapproval. He understands us in a way that no-one else does. Being tempted is no sin. It is yet one more opportunity for us to throw ourselves helplessly into the strong arms of grace.

David Reay