“People outside the Christian tradition spend their time arguing the divinity of Christ. People inside the Christian tradition spend their time arguing the humanity of Christ.” —Jesus: A Theography by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola
Jesus came to earth fully human. This cannot be overstated, as it is crucial to how we can defeat temptation.
Our First Parents (Adam and Eve) listened to the tempting words of the devil, which caused them to sin against God. By this treachery, they handed over the dominion of earth to satan, and he has used that to keep people bound in deathly fear since that time (see Hebrews 2:14-15). But at the moment of sin—even as God was pronouncing judgment—there was an implicit promise made of the salvation Jesus would bring. God’s promise was that Eve’s offspring would crush satan under His foot.
This is why it was so important that Jesus be totally human in His work on earth, that He share in our humanity in every way (Hebrews 2:14, 17).
The devil has three weapons he uses: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Notice how he used these in his successful temptation of Adam and Eve—
- The fruit was good for food = the lust of the flesh.
- The fruit was pleasant to the eyes = the lust of the eyes.
- The fruit was desirable to make one wise… to be like God = the pride of life.
Because this was successful for him, satan tempted the Second Adam (Jesus) using the exact same strategy—
- Turn these stones to bread = the lust of the flesh.
- I will give you the kingdom of the world and their glory = the lust of the eyes.
- Cast yourself down from here and angels will protect you = the pride of life.”
Jesus didn’t overcome these temptations because He was God. Jesus overcame them as a Man anointed by the Spirit of God! Jesus used the same weapons that are available to us: the Word of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Not only do we have these two weapons, but we also have a victorious Savior who is helping us!
Because Jesus overcame temptation as a Man, He is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:18).
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
Because Jesus overcame the temptations of satan as a man, you can too!
To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 24-25)