Temptations

Think of something that tempts you. It might be food, cheating, lashing out in anger, lying, engaging in substance abuse, pursuing an inappropriate relationship … temptations are all around us. As we mature, we learn coping strategies for not giving in every time. Most of the time. But then there are other situations where the temptation gets the best of us, and we are lost.

I have come to realize, after years of marriage and divorce counseling, that temptations are often the root cause of a broken marriage. Adultery, overspending, angry words, the need to dominate … relationships can easily be sunk when one partner can’t resist a temptation and gives in to it.

In our passage from Hebrews, we find a word of encouragment for those times when we are tempted to do something unhealthy, ungodly, or unholy. And oh, does it please the devil when we give in to temptation! He lives for those moments when our weakness overcomes us and he wins. But the writer assures us that by becoming flesh and blood, Jesus also encountered temptations. The good news for us is, he overcame every one and with his power we can, too.

Hebrews 2 (Common English Bible)

1Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he also shared the same things in the same way. He did this to destroy the one who holds the power over death—the devil—by dying. 15 He set free those who were held in slavery their entire lives by their fear of death.16 Of course, he isn’t trying to help angels, but rather he’s helping Abraham’s descendants. 

Did you get that? Jesus shared in all of the same things that we deal with on a daily basis. He was tempted by all the same things we struggle with, but he overcame every one. In so doing, Jesus destroyed the devil’s power over flesh and blood. Praise God! We have a savior who GETS US.

17 Therefore, he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way. This was so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, in order to wipe away the sins of the people. 18 He’s able to help those who are being tempted, since he himself experienced suffering when he was tempted.

What is tempting you right now? Go to the One who overcame it all for your sake. He has experienced what you are experiencing in your suffering, and he is ready and able to hear your prayers and give you strength.

Dawn Patrol by Tim Beacham

According to the Order

The book of Hebrews is an exercise in teaching Jewish Christians about the priestly function of Christ. It takes great care to focus on the aspect of Jesus being the greatest of all priests. The writer contends that Jesus is better than any of the rest because of his relationship to the Father.

Jewish Christians understood priestliness. They understood the rarity of the “order of Melchizedek” that combined the office of priest AND king. The writer states that Jesus is the best of all of those orders put together…he is better than Melchizedek and far superior to Aaron.

Interestingly, he then points to Christ’s humanity as a point of superiority:

Hebrews 5 (Common English Bible)

In the same way Christ also didn’t promote himself to become high priest. Instead, it was the one who said to him,

You are my Son.
        Today I have become your Father,

as he also says in another place,

You are a priest forever,
        according to the order of Melchizedek.

During his days on earth, Christ offered prayers and requests with loud cries and tears as his sacrifices to the one who was able to save him from death. He was heard because of his godly devotion. 

Imagine being a first-century Jewish convert to the Way and learning that it is through loud cries, tears, and suffering that Jesus takes his throne of honor at the right hand of God.

Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.

Can we take heart in this? Jesus learned obedience from what he suffered and God elevated him to the high priesthood. So too may we become part of a “royal priesthood” through our suffering and obedience. Eternal salvation comes to all who obey the Son.

After he had been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for everyone who obeys him. 10 He was appointed by God to be a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Jesus is indeed better than all the rest. In today’s marketplace of beliefs, Jesus stands alone as the one who can truly deliver you. He is our priest forever. Thanks be to God!

Jesus Stands Alone by Kathy Schumacher