In taking on our humanity, Jesus sympathizes with our weakness (Heb. 4:15). But wouldn’t Christ also need to assume our sinful nature for Him to be tempted as we are? Today, Michael Reeves brings clarity to this question.
NATHAN W. BINGHAM: We’re recording live from Ligonier’s 2022 National Conference and I’m joined by the president and professor of theology at Union Theological Seminary in Oxford, England, Dr. Michael Reeves. Dr. Reeves, in addition to taking on our human nature, wouldn't Jesus also have had to assume our sin nature in order to fully sympathize with our weakness?
DR. MICHAEL REEVES: It's a very good question in that we see in the end of Hebrews 4 and the beginning of Hebrews 5, that it's critically important for our healthy Christian living to see Christ is a merciful high priest who can sympathize with our weakness, and so he's made like us. This is the argument in the second half of Hebrews 2 as well. So it's absolutely right, he sympathizes with us in our weakness, but while he becomes like us in our humanity, it doesn't mean that he has to take on a sinful nature and let me say why. To talk about a sinful nature is to talk about our internal desire for sin, so I have a sinful nature because there is a desire in me to do sinful things, but a temptation I face is different to the desire I have to do something.
So Jesus had no sinful desires. There was no longing to murder or lie, or to glorify himself to receive glory from men. Now that doesn't mean he can't sympathize with us, because we see he's tempted just as we are. He's tempted with power, with food; he's tempted to commit suicide, interesting temptations to be placed with. He's also faced with suffering. He's hungry. He sees the death of a friend. He experiences the most excruciating physical pain on the cross. So because he is truly human, he can sympathize with us as we are tempted, as we suffer, as we are bereaved, as we struggle. He can sympathize with us in our weaknesses, but that doesn't mean that at any point we can wonder, will there be a desire in him to do something evil now? He can sympathize, but he sympathizes with us with a loving purity, never tainted by any viciousness, cruelty, abusiveness, or sin.
What Is Christ-Centered Preaching?September 21, 2023
How Can I Talk to My Unbelieving Parents about the Gospel?September 14, 2023
What Should We Do If We Sense That We’re Becoming Calloused to a Particular Sin?September 07, 2023
Should Young People Study Theology?August 31, 2023
Is There Something Wrong with Me If I Don’t Feel God’s Presence in My Suffering?August 24, 2023