“Therefore, He had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:17-18
I needed to be reminded of this daily, and perhaps it might be a good reminder for you as well.
Jesus wasn’t made to become like us for His benefit but rather for ours. He did not need to take on flesh so that He could understand our struggles and weaknesses. He did not need to experience first-hand that day to day difficulties and trials that we go through in order for Him to say, “Oh, now I get it.” He has perfect understanding. He knows the power of sin and the slavery it brings. He knows the destruction that sin’s wake leaves. It is because He understands this that He came. His coming displayed His mercy and faithfulness to a sin-separated humanity who could not satisfy the wrath of a just and holy God. Jesus took on flesh and became like us, so that He might become the perfect, sinless sacrifice who, by laying down His life, might make all who trust in Him for the forgiveness of sin, fully alive and righteous before God.
The writer of Romans, the apostle Paul, sums it up well regarding our condition and desperate need of a Savior when he said, “For while we were still weak (helpless and without hope), at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows His love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8
Although His coming wasn’t for His benefit but ours, He did suffer what we suffer daily. He experienced the fight and the struggle of temptation, yet without giving in to sin. That’s the difference that made an eternal difference, and qualified Him as the acceptable sacrifice for our sin.
When we struggle with temptation, we don’t have a God who doesn’t understand what we’re going through. He’s not a distant or disconnected God. He knows. As a matter of fact, the writer of Hebrews says this: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15
The very fact that there is a God who understands and does not abandon us in our daily fight and struggle against the temptations we face, numerous and vast as they are, is beyond comforting. The God of all heaven knows. He gets it. He knows your struggle with self-worth. He knows your battle with loneliness, depression, anxiety, shame, anger, bitterness, lust, self-righteousness, greed, materialism, apathy . . . and you can list more, here: _________________. But just as encouraging is knowing He provides us with all we need to not give in, and choose as Jesus did. We can live like Christ, but not on our own strength. Even Jesus, when tempted in the wilderness, was strengthened by the words of Scripture and the presence of the Holy Spirit (you can check that out in the gospel account of Luke 4). In the same way, the promise God has given to all who place their faith in Christ is the indwelling of His Spirit, who leads us into all truth; strengthens us in our weakness; comforts us in affliction; provides a way of escape when tempted; convicts us of sin when we fall; and renews with rescuing and restoring grace.
I pray you are encouraged today knowing that God understands where you are in your struggles, and He is more than able to help.