This is a favorite scripture for me and as I pray I bring to the Lord’s remembrance (actually it is for my benefit!) this admonition to “come boldly to His throne to obtain mercy and grace and help in my time of need,” which is every cotton-pickin’ day!
Several years ago, verse 15 caught my attention. Jesus was in ALL POINTS TEMPTED LIKE WE ARE? For REAL? Well, I decided to make a list of all the “temptations” and trials I had experienced and then see if this was true. (Yes, I believe the Word is the infallible Word of God, but how can this be that He has been tempted by every way you and I and everyone else has been tempted. After I made my list, I got sidetracked onto something else and never really “chased this rabbit.” But just recently, as I watched the movie The Young Messiah, I was once again struck by Jesus humanity and how even from the very beginning the enemy was a constant ominous shadow over the life of Christ and this scripture once again beckoned me to dig into the life of Christ from this vantage point. If we truly understand Jesus human struggle, then, He will feel all the more accessible because we will wrap our heads and hearts around the fact HE truly UNDERSTANDS the “feelings of our infirmities.” This is why we find grace, mercy, and help.
Jesus’ life is proof we CAN live godly lives through the power of the Holy Spirit and by daily choices to follow God’s Word. In Max Lucado’s book, God Came Near, he writes how Jesus struggled with burps, bumps, bruises, body odor, and He bled real blood when cut. He had a snotty nose, got an upset stomach and spilled his milk. This expresses his physical humanity in terms that make Jesus a real person. But, what will make Him approachable are His emotional, psychological, and spiritual experiences. Was Jesus bullied? Was He ever really sick with fever? What made Him feel vulnerable? Was He plagued with unwholesome thoughts?
I think this one scene from The Young Messiah is a great portrayal of the spiritual battle Jesus faced from an early age:
The Young Messiah
The scripture says Jesus was tempted in all points. What are the points we should look for as we examine His short life? According to Dr. Allen Atkins, it can be found in I John 2:15-17:
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Dr. Atkins said, “all sin (temptations to sin) can be placed under one of these headings: Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes or the pride of life.” (rough paraphrase from my sermon notes)
But according to James, trials can lead us to temptations and to the need to make choices to succumb to our own desires (lusts) or choose God’s way. (James 1:12-15) Job is a great example of this truth.
Was Jesus’ life really pressed with trials and temptations like you and I? Was He not somehow protected from the world by the angels “lest He strike His foot on a stone?” (Psalm 91:12, Luke 4:11) This is an important question for us to answer. We cannot just read it and really feel the truth of this if we don’t look honestly at His life and examine His experiences under the magnifying glass of this Word.
I must admit, taking on this “rabbit chase” is a bit daunting. Can I risk seeing Christ in His humanity–warts and all? Will my life have to make new adjustments based on all I see in His life? Will it change how I respond to situations with others? Jesus is Savior and I just spent more than a month digging into the sacrifice of His life for me and its impact on those who witnessed the final sacrifice needed for sin. Will His life reveal a challenge common to man I have been oblivious to? Will I be forced to give up comforts or pleasure? As I ask myself these questions, the still small voice reminded me Mary and Joseph were the ones to share the journey with Jesus and it began even before He was born, with Mary being labeled as a “fallen woman,” Joseph was likely viewed as delusional, and thus Jesus was labeled a “son without a father.” (Matthew 1:19) Harsh labels. Harsh words hurled at a child. Some labels never die. But the labels were lies. The enemy used Nazarenes to shout the lies into the ears of Jesus’ family and Jesus as a small boy. This attack was a “pride of life” attack. Who are you? Who are your parents? Where do you come from? “What side of the tracks were you born on?” Your appearance, stature, disability, deformity, or any other name calling opportunity: A constant reminder and a constant attack against the image of God come to earth. A constant attack of the image of God in us.
Do you know anyone in this position? Are you in a similar circumstance? Jesus understands and feels your pain! His being touched by our infirmities began at conception! His very NAME was attacked. His name IS who He is! Jesus, Son of God and Jesus bar Joseph, son of man. Immanuel, God with us. Your name is who you are, not the label hate has attached to you.
Take heart dear ones, you too are created in the image of God and you are precious in His sight. Jesus understands the sting of the words you hear. Jeremiah 1:5 reminds us: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a ……..” God created you with a purpose! He knows the plans He has for you, plans to give you hope and a future and not harm you! (Jeremiah 29:11) You too have a beautiful name.
My own sweet Grandmother and Mamma wore this label. Two more godly women you could not meet. Christ understood their pain, shame, and suffering in a cruel Bible belt society where we are often quick to point out others faults and flaws to deflect facing our own. Thank you Jesus for healing their hearts with your understanding. Thank you for the impact they were in my life!
Treading in who HE is,
What a beautiful name — Hillsong
(The Young Messiah is a fictional depiction of a year in the life of Jesus as a seven year old based on known history of the culture and historical records of the times in which He lived. It does a beautiful job of depicting HIs humanity and His struggle in coming to understand He is God’s Son and the difficulties faced by His family to protect HIm and guide HIm in HIs journey.)