August 27th, 2006

A Pocket Full of Murder

The Temptations of Christ, Part I

It's been a long time -- too long -- since I blogged about anything theological. After sitting through several thought-provoking, heart-challenging messages at the Christian family camp we just attended, it's really come home to me that I've been giving the Lord short shrift in a lot of ways, my online activities especially. So in future, by the Lord's grace, I hope to get back to talking a little more often about the things that really matter -- or perhaps I should rather say, the One who really matters.

After listening to three messages on the subject, I've been thinking about the temptations of Christ (see Matthew 4:1-11 or Luke 4:1-13). More specifically, about the whole controversial topic of precisely what it meant for the Lord Jesus to be "tempted", particularly in light of the book of Hebrews:
For this reason he had to be made like [us] in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:17-18)

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. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Some people argue that in order for Christ to experience or be able to empathize with human temptation in any meaningful sense, He had to have the potential to sin, even if He did not actually do so. But the more I think about it, the more I disagree… and tomorrow, I'll try to explain why.