Read Hebrews 4:14-16
14 So then,since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven,Jesus the Son of God,let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses,for he faced all of the same testings we do,yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy,and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (NLT)
At first glance,this is a straightforward encouragement: Jesus has been through all we go through so we can find a sympathetic and strong helper in our own times of trial. But surely Jesus has not experienced all we experience. The challenges of marriage or parenting; pornographic temptations; the weakness of old age; the particular challenges of being a female.
The writer’s point may be more general. Of course Jesus can’t have experienced all that we do. But he has faced the same general temptations and tests that we do. He has been tempted to go his own way independently of God. He has been tempted to succumb to criticism and misunderstanding. He has been tempted to take the easy way out. He has been tempted to satisfy the insatiable demands of others.
He does not need to have faced the very same situations we encounter to understand us. All our challenges to be untrue to God stem from the common denominator of our feeling we ought to run things and that God doesn’t know what he is doing. Jesus was tempted to embrace this and resisted the temptation.
He did not live on earth as some stainless-steel superman incapable of being challenged. He did not live in the spiritual equivalent of some ivory castle. In emphasising his unique divinity,we dare not take lightly his common humanity.