When I was a small young boy, not yet old enough to go to school, I was away with my parents and family for our holidays at Lake Illawarra, just south of Sydney, Australia. Near the holiday house was the lake, which was separated from the ocean by a sandhill. One day, we decided to go from the lake over to the sea. I was anxious to get there first and ran ahead of my family. I had just started to run up the sandhill when I stopped in my tracks. Discovering that the sand under the Australian sun was scorching hot, and my bare feet were burning, I cried out. My father heard my cries and saw my situation. He called out for me to run down the hill to him. He picked me up and carried me the rest of the way. I never forgot that experience of standing there, my feet burning. More about this later.
In the book of Hebrews, there is a beautiful word about Jesus. It declares, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18, NKJV). I love these words: “HE IS ABLE.” There are two significant thoughts that come from this scripture.
The phrase ‘He is able’ tells us that Jesus understands what we are going through because He Himself has suffered, being tempted, which always is a time of testing. Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV) gives more insight into what Jesus experienced, declaring, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Notice the words “In all points.”Jesus was tempted in all the areas that man can be tempted.
Usually, when we think of Jesus and temptations, we think of the 40 days in the wilderness, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the temptation to avoid the cross. Yet, think for a moment, it says He was tempted in all points as we are. Let me share a thought along these lines. A thought, that is not spelled out specifically in scripture, but one I present as a possibility. Indeed, some manuscripts don’t even include this story. However, there is little doubt the incident occurred (Spirit Filled Life Bible – John 8:1-12).
WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY
Jesus was in the temple when the Pharisees and scribes brought a woman to Him who had been caught in the very act of adultery. They did this to test Jesus. In response, Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground, with his finger, as though he did not hear the accusations against her. Why did he do that? Consider this possibility. Jesus was both the Son of God (divine) and the Son of Man (human). He was a real human being, and thus, He could be tempted. Sometimes people accept that Jesus was human but think of Him as a nonsexual person (whatever that might be). Jesus was fully human. It may come as a shock to some people to suggest that if Jesus was tempted in all points, and like us, He could be tempted in the area of sexual desires.
For a man, the visual aspect of sexual attraction is strong. With women, it is less so. Could it be that by staring at the ground and thus not looking at the people around Him, including the woman, Jesus was avoiding temptation? Remember, the woman was caught in the very act of adultery. It is reasonably certain that she was not dressed in a fur coat. It is more likely that she was wearing little or even nothing at all.
I am making this point to recognize that Jesus was a real man, a real human being. As such, He was subject to all the same temptations that we face today, even sexual temptations.
So, Jesus understands. We have a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses, whatever they may be. Jesus understands what you or I may be going through right now. However, He does not only understand He is also able to help.
HE COMES TO OUR AID
Again, the Word tells us that “He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18, NKJV). Jesus doesn’t stand to the side and observe; rather, He is right there with us. He wants to and will help and aid us if we seek Him. Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV) challenges us, stating, “Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
What a promise! What a challenge! We need to remember, Jesus not only understands and sympathizes with us in our times of temptation, but He, through the power of the Holy Spirit and the promises of the Word, is there to aid us in our times of need.
THIRTY YEARS LATER
Approximately thirty years after that incident on the burning sand as a young boy, I was away on holidays with my wife Dorothy and our daughter Beth, who was only a little girl at the time. We were up at McMasters Beach, north of Sydney, Australia, where we had a holiday cottage overlooking the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean. One morning, while at the beach, after taking some pictures, I headed back to put the camera in the car. As I came to the car, I heard a scream from behind me. Turning around, I saw that my daughter Beth had followed me across the beach, coming to the place where the sand mixed with fine soil and was extremely hot. Seeing her, what I had experienced as a child, immediately came back to my mind. I knew what she was experiencing. I understood exactly how she felt because I had been in the same situation years ago. However, I didn’t stand there looking on. Instead, I ran to her immediately, picked her up, and carried her back to the ocean where she could dip her feet in the soothing waters of the ocean tide.
That’s how it is with Jesus. He remembers. He sees us in a time of temptation, and He remembers how it was when He walked the dusty roads of Galilee 20 centuries ago.
More than that, He is able to come to our aid and help us in our time of trial and temptation. Yes, He is able to do that for us if we will turn to Him for help.
Meditate on those two verses of scripture:
“For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” – Hebrews 2:18, (NKJV)
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15&16 (NKJV)
Let us do just that, for He is Able!”