Musings, Theology

Jesus can Sympathize

Maintaining the balance between one's understanding of the humanity and deity of Christ is more than just a math equation (100% man + 100% God=Jesus).  It involves understanding the preexistance of the Second Person of the Trinity, the process by which He "took on" humanity and so many other issues.

But one issues that often causes people consternation are the statement in Hebrews 2:18 and 4:15
"For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we re, yet without sin."

Many rationalize that for Jesus to fully understand our temptation he had to be able to sin.  But perhaps that misses the point.  A real conflict does not require the ability to lose.

From Dane Ortlund

If Christ never sinned, can he really sympathize fully with me in all my temptations?

Nineteenth-century NT scholar B. F Westcott, commenting on Heb. 2:18, writes:

Sympathy with the sinner in his trial does not depend on the experience of sin but on the experience of the strength of the temptation to sin which only the sinless can know in its full intensity. He who falls yields before the last strain.

–Brooke Foss Westcott, The Epistle to the Hebrews (1892), 59

Author: Steve

I love to study the Bible and I love to engage with others in learning. I had been privileged to do this on a regular basis through church ministry and through part-time teaching at a local Bible colleges. Helping individuals learn to feed themselves through their own study of God’s Word is joy-giving to me. Influencing groups to do life and church from a biblically grounded, theologically faithful perspective is my passion.

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