If I am supposed to have more confidence in the Christ, who acts in the role of high priest for me (whatever that means), and who supposedly has bona fide empathy with my temptations, then I’d better be clear on what they are.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
Secretly, I’m pretty sure I don’t really believe Jesus experienced all of my temptations and I’m guessing I’m not alone in that deep, dark truth.
Do I really believe that Jesus was tempted by anything like a Dunkin’ Donut or Creme Brulee? Did he worry about the number of calories consumed in a day or the sense of body betrayal when my favorite clothes no longer fit? Was Jesus ever tempted to give up and become a beached whale on the couch because nothing seemed to work?
Was Jesus tempted to run away from all of his responsibilities? Did he consider suicide? Was he tempted to get drunk and stay drunk because life was too overwhelming? And what about all the plights and dangers of love relationships, broken relationships, or marriages built on lies and convenience?
Or what about getting old? Did he look in the mirror and pull up on the crows’ feet around his eyes or stretch the skin around his mouth and consider plastic surgery? Did he stare at old people being helped out of cars with walkers and wheelchairs and contemplate such a future for himself?
I know I’m being ridiculous and yet, am I the only one who chafes, even just a little, at the idea that Jesus, Human for 33 years, could sympathize or empathize with the details of my life’s temptations?
The answer is right there of course. It’s not in the detailed temptations at all, but in the one big temptation that encapsulates them all: being in charge. The temptation is to do it “all myself” and to solve all my problems alone. It’s “kicking against the goads” [Acts 26:14]. It’s following the Eve and Adam story line.
How am I tempted? I am tempted to be a god and manipulate my environment and I am regularly disappointed in the results. And so, yes, it is this person who is asked to come to the Throne of Grace and ask for mercy and help. And the courage to surrender.