January 09, 2012
For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted,
He is able to succor them that are tempted.
The verse for our consideration may not be limited in time to the temptation in the wilderness. There were many trials and temptations that the Lord Jesus faced in the days of His flesh. Luke 4:13 tells us that the devil departed from Him “for a season.” Whether from the lips of His enemies, from His own family (John 7), or from the lips of His friends and disciples, there were many times that the Lord Jesus was presented alternatives to the will of God.
But confining ourselves to the temptation in the wilderness by Satan, we can see ways in which the Lord Jesus suffered while being tempted. No doubt the very suggestion of sin was a source of suffering to the Lord Jesus Christ. His infinite holiness must have recoiled against even the suggestion to sin by Satan. But there is far more than that involved in His suffering.
Take the suggestion that, in light of His hunger, He should turn the stones into bread. Inherent in this suggestion, is that God was not caring for His Son. “Is your God good?” was the subtle lie behind the suggestion. It had once been so successful in the Garden of Eden, he decided to introduce it again here. How keenly the Lord Jesus must have felt any slur upon the character and goodness of God.
But He suffered as well in another sense. The choice was between satisfying a natural desire, or enduring hunger. He chose to “suffer” hunger. And please do not minimize what it meant to be forty days without food for Him. In His true humanity, He would have felt the pain and gnawing, the thirst and hunger, with ultimate sensitivity. Yet He chose that physical suffering in obedience to the Word of God, and in dependence and devotion to the God of the Word. He suffered!
1. Look at the other two temptations and consider in what way the Lord Jesus suffered and what He suffered in repelling the fiery darts of Satan?
2. What determines the capacity of an individual to suffer physically, morally, and spiritually? How would that enhance the sufferings of Christ?
3. In verse 17 we are told that His human experience encompassed “all things” which we as human beings experience – sin apart. Think of the different spheres of His experience and the temptations, trials, and suffering it would have encompassed.