There are certain emotions in your body that not even your best friend can sympathize with, but you will find the right film or the right book, and it will understand you. – Björk
It’s impossible for a wealthy king to know the life of a poor man. The king might say, “I feel sorry for that person,” but he cannot comprehend what it feels like to lack food for his children. Indeed, the only way to feel such anguish is for the king to leave his wealth and enter the slum – live among the poor.
This is exactly what Jesus did. He came to live among us. As a result, He understands.
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. - (Hebrews 4:15)
The word empathize is a compound word meaning “with” and “passion,” or with suffering. Jesus can feel temptation along with us. How? He experienced it in every way while here on earth. Of course, Jesus didn’t sin, but He understands the pull toward sin. He understands temptation.
I’ve heard many people ask, “Really? Was Jesus tempted to shoot someone, or embezzle from a bank, or defraud an insurance company?” No. Neither guns nor banks nor insurance companies were around yet.
But modern methods of sinning are simply new manifestations of the same old sins: greed, lust, anger, murder, lying, and deception. Jesus was tempted by all of these sins.
Others argue that Jesus wasn’t tempted the same way we are tempted. I agree. In fact, I think Jesus was tempted more. Think about it: Satan stops tempting us as soon as we say yes. But Jesus never said yes to Satan. Can you imagine the big guns Satan brought in his effort to corrupt the Son of God?
So when we struggle with temptation and feel pulled toward sin, Jesus wants to listen. He not only understands how we feel, but He feels it with us. We can talk to Him and experience His empathy toward us.
Jesus, knowing You faced the same temptations brings me comfort and closes all distance I feel from You in my struggle. Thank You for Your Spirit who indwells me and equips me for battle. What a safe place You are! May I learn to rest in You. Amen.
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