For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
When we hear that Jesus never sinned, we might be quick to give credit to Jesus’ divine nature for his victory over temptation and sin. When we consider how Jesus did not sin, even once, we might conclude that it’s simply because he’s the Son of God. This might lead us to believe that Jesus’ fight against temptation was automatic. It wasn’t as painful and exhausting as ours.
But was his fight against temptation easier than ours? When the Hebrews writer says that Jesus “has been tempted in every way as we are,” did those temptations just bounce off of him, because of his divine holiness? Was Jesus’ fight against temptation mainly a theatrical performance to encourage his believers?
As we read Scripture we see that Jesus had a mission to fulfill. And part of that mission was to be the greater representative for the human race as our second Adam (Rom. 5:19). And so for Jesus to take on the role as our human representative, he needed to live as a human. This means Jesus didn’t just dip into his divine nature whenever he felt like it. But instead being both God and man, with both a divine nature and a human nature, Jesus did not rely on his deity to fulfill his human requirements. According to Philippians 2:6-8, he willingly chose to live within the bounds and limitations of his humanity. Meaning, he didn’t cling to his divine rights and privileges whenever he wanted. In his book The Man Christ Jesus, Bruce Ware rightfully explains, “Although Christ was fully God he deliberately did not appeal, as it were, to his divine nature in fighting temptations that came to him.”
So then, how did Jesus never give in to temptation from the first minute of his life to his last minutes on the cross? Jesus resisted and defeated temptation every single time by utilizing the same resources given to you and I—God’s word, prayer, fellowship, and strength from the Holy Spirit.
This should encourage us that Jesus lived his life as one of us! And the same resources Jesus used to overcome temptation and sin, we have access to. This should also make us realize how important God’s word, prayer, fellowship, and depending on the Holy Spirit is in our daily battles against temptation and sin. As a man, and as a human, Jesus needed these God given resources to obey his Father’s will. For that reason, let’s not underestimate the power of these resources, gifts, and means of grace, but let’s pursue it even more.