How Does our Holy High Priest Sympathise with Sin?

“Then Jesus… was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

being tempted for forty days by the devil.

And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward,

when they had ended, He was hungry.

Luke 4:1-2

My husband read this passage for his quiet time yesterday, and in his reading of the commentary, came across a remarkable interpretation that hadn’t occurred to him before.

Our High Priest was Tempted

Jesus is our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16), and when He was here on earth He was fully man, while still maintaining a divine nature; He did not inherit a sin nature, for He was still fully God. How, then, can He as the Holy of Holies, truly sympathise with us in our weaknesses, and our temptations, if He is without sin? How can He find sin tempting at all if He has no worldly flesh with which to constrain Him?

The answer lies in Jesus being without food or water for forty days. A miracle in itself that His body survived, this was necessary to produce in Him hunger; an experience similar to our own sinful disposition. For although it is impossible for Jesus to truly be tempted by sin, when His own body was starved and dehydrated,  His physical hunger, exhaustion and, ultimately, His desire for relief, became the closest thing He could possibly experience to having a sin nature.

Have Confidence in Your High Priest

From this, we can be greatly assured and encouraged! Jesus was tempted in every way, yet remained without sin; even in the face of unbelievable trials and hardships. The very fact that God was willing to send His son from glory into flesh, from eternity into the constraints of time, and from majestic power to flimsy human weakness, is supremely wonderful. Let us give thanks to our God who, in Christ, extends mercy to us in our sin, gives grace through forgiveness, and for our great Saviour and Friend who truly sympathises with us in our weaknesses.

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