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Author Topic: Jesus Was In All Points Tempted Like As We Are?  (Read 2873 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: November 29, 2008, 04:29:55 PM »

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." - Heb. 4:15

What exactly does this passage mean, apart from the obvious fact that our Lord Jesus Christ did not sin? How far did these "temptations" go that Jesus had? For instance, was Jesus tempted to steal? Was Jesus tempted to lust? Did Jesus struggle with jealousy? Or does this passage mean something else entirely? St. John Chrysostom says of this passage:

"For in the case of men it is impossible that one should know the affliction of the afflicted who has not had experience, and gone through the actual sensations. Our High Priest endured all things. Therefore He endured first and then ascended, that He might be able to sympathize with us." (Homily 7 on Hebrews)

What does "actual sensations" here mean? Does this signify that the temptations were indeed real, even as we also experience them (yet without actually going to the point of sinning)? What then of temptations like even more disagreeable, did Jesus experience those as well? After all, it says that he was tempted "in all points".
« Last Edit: November 29, 2008, 04:30:43 PM by Asteriktos » Logged

"No man gives the same exegesis twice: for he is not the same man, and it is not the same text." - St. Heraclitus
Theophilos78
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2008, 05:42:40 PM »

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." - Heb. 4:15

What exactly does this passage mean, apart from the obvious fact that our Lord Jesus Christ did not sin? How far did these "temptations" go that Jesus had? For instance, was Jesus tempted to steal? Was Jesus tempted to lust? Did Jesus struggle with jealousy? Or does this passage mean something else entirely? St. John Chrysostom says of this passage:

"For in the case of men it is impossible that one should know the affliction of the afflicted who has not had experience, and gone through the actual sensations. Our High Priest endured all things. Therefore He endured first and then ascended, that He might be able to sympathize with us." (Homily 7 on Hebrews)

What does "actual sensations" here mean? Does this signify that the temptations were indeed real, even as we also experience them (yet without actually going to the point of sinning)? What then of temptations like even more disagreeable, did Jesus experience those as well? After all, it says that he was tempted "in all points".

I do not think that the author had a list of all kinds of temptations in mind while writing this verse. His aim was to emphasise the similarity between Jesus and humanity with regard to temptations as well as the contrast with regard to sin. Since it is not likely that a human to be tempted in ALL things during his lifetime, it is not plausible to assume that Jesus was specifically tempted in every way. My personal interpretation is that the occurrence of the phrase "in all things" in this verse functions to underline Jesus' superiority: He had no sin (singular negative) although He was tempted in all things (plural positive).  Many humans, on the other hand, have lots of sins despite their few temptations.




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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2008, 06:08:05 PM »

The passage is confirming Our Lord's consubstantiality with in that He was not difficient in His ability to be tempted.  Yet being like us, He was able to resist temptation in His humanity and not sin.  Consider the Greek; πεπειρασμενον δε κατα παντα καθ ομοιοτητα χωρις αμαρτιας -can be translated:  but one having been tested in all [things] according to [our] likeness, separate from sin.

We must also consider the two aspects of temptation, that of the tempter and that of the temptee.  You may try to tempt me with a delicious steak during fasting time, but if I do not in turn reciprocate (out of my zeal for getting closer to God through fasting) by desiring that steak, am I still not tempted without having sinned.
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Symeon
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2008, 01:32:47 AM »

St. John of Damascus teaches us that the temptations that the incarnate Word was subject to were entirely external, since his humanity was altogether deified and not subject to Original Sin, and not at all like the internal temptations that Original Sin brings about in us.

Quote
All, then, He assumed that He might sanctify all. He was tried and overcame in order that He might prepare victory for us and give to nature power to overcome its antagonist, in order that nature which was overcome of old might overcome its former conqueror by the very weapons wherewith it had itself been overcome.
The wicked one, then, made his assault from without, not by thoughts prompted inwardly, just as it was with Adam. For it was not by inward thoughts, but by the serpent that Adam was assailed. But the Lord repulsed the assault and dispelled it like vapour, in order that the passions which assailed him and were overcome might be easily subdued by us, and that the new Adam should save the old.
Of a truth our natural passions were in harmony with nature and above nature in Christ. For they were stirred in Him after a natural manner when He permitted the flesh to suffer what was proper to it: but they were above nature because that which was natural did not in the Lord assume command over the will. For no compulsion is contemplated in Him but all is voluntary. For it was with His will that He hungered and thirsted and feared and died.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf209.iii.iv.iii.xx.html
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NorthernPines
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2008, 12:19:21 PM »

What does "actual sensations" here mean? Does this signify that the temptations were indeed real, even as we also experience them (yet without actually going to the point of sinning)? What then of temptations like even more disagreeable, did Jesus experience those as well? After all, it says that he was tempted "in all points".

Great question. I understand this verse to mean that Jesus was "really" tempted, whatever "really" means. (that probably makes no sense) The words "in all points" I think just implies that Jesus was tempted in every way in a generalized sense. Maybe He was tempted to steal a loaf of bread when He was hungry....that doesn't necessarily mean he was tempted in every single way a person can possibly steal a loaf of bread or every food that has ever existed necessarily. Let's say I fall into the sin of lust (not a impossibility at all), now I'm guilty of the sin, but I may not necessarily lust in every single possible way a person can lust. I guess what I'm saying is no matter how many hairs we split of differentiating sins, (thousands, even millions) they all do in a sense come down to just a few "categories"...and so at least in every category He was tempted, not necessarily He was tempted to be angry and hate in 3 million different ways. At least that's how I understand that verse. In the end, it's one of my favorite verses because it gives me comfort to know that Jesus does know what it's like....and I'd also say that the verse is not just about "sin", but simply "life"....He knows what loss is, what suffering is, etc...

its one of the few verses that have helped me through great times of trial and is one of my favorites in all the Bible!
 




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NorthernPines
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2008, 12:50:14 PM »

St. John of Damascus teaches us that the temptations that the incarnate Word was subject to were entirely external, since his humanity was altogether deified and not subject to Original Sin, and not at all like the internal temptations that Original Sin brings about in us.

Hmmm....I've heard that argued by Catholics before, but I'm not sure if we really see it that way or not. (I'm not judging your statement, as I really do not know and am asking for input from others)

I don't understand, if Jesus' temptations were "external" then how can He really know what it's like to be human? To me, the temptation in the desert, and even the agony in the Garden of Gathsmene would all just be a "show"....acting, ie: hypocritical. (which my Orthodox Study Bible says was the original meaning of hypocrite, to put on a show as an actor would)

Is this really how we see the Incarnation? (I'm EO not OO, in case that makes a different in some fine point of theology I'm not aware of) It kind of sounds Nestorian to me and when Catholics have said these things to me before, that was my reaction then as well, "well that sounds Nestorian"...am I wrong?

If temptation is "external" then isn't temptation for Christ just an act or a show? How can temptation be external to begin with? That doesn't make sense to me. If I have ZERO chance or ability to sin, then it's not really a temptation is it?  It would be like installing a light switch on the wall of an Amish farm house....the light will NEVER work because the farm house has no electricity; yet when company comes I flip the light on to see if it will turn on anyways just to trick other people into thinking it "could" turn on? (ok maybe not that great of an analogy but it's all I could think of...lol!)

Putting this on a personal level, without the belief that Jesus was tempted as we are, not just in sin, but also in the struggles of life in general, I would have lost all faith in Christianity....are you telling me my belief is wrong, and that Jesus really doesn't know what my suffering is all about? What my sin is all about? I thought that was one of the points of the Incarnation to begin with.

Am I wrong? If so, then it seems to me, that Rome would probably be more correct in their understanding of redemption being more a juridical thing, rather than the way I've always understood the Orthodox position...what I mean is, if Christ really wasn't tempted, then there isn't any "point" to the Incarnation other than the cross being a "payment" to some one or some thing....at least that's how I see it.

Again I'm NOT judging your statement as right or wrong, I just truly don't understand. Reading St. John of Damascus' words do help, but I'm still not sure I "get it"...was he saying Jesus did not suffer from ancestral sin? How can that be assuming the East's position on ancestral vs original sin (in the west) is the correct one? In that quote he seems to be taking the West's position on original sin being strictly a spiritual condition within, rather than the East's understanding....so I'm really confused.

I realize that before the Schism both East and West complimented each other and perhaps that's where I'm getting confused.

Anyways, I'm not trying to derail the thread here....sorry.

By external vs internal temptation I'm guessing this is something deep about the "passions" etc....but are the passions the temptations themselves or something amiss within us that just makes it easier for us to be tempted? I see "the passions" as something foreign to our nature, and so Christ didn't necessarily have those, but to say that His temptations were "external" just doesn't sound right to me. When I'm tempted it's NEVER external, but it's something that I struggle with on the inside....and how I read that verse in hebrews always tells me that Jesus did struggle, but yet never sucumbed to temptation as we so easily do. But I could be all wrong, or am just to dense to get all this Theology...which I'll probably regret for even trying to "get"....

any help or clarification would be good.








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NorthernPines
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2008, 12:51:31 PM »

The passage is confirming Our Lord's consubstantiality with in that He was not difficient in His ability to be tempted.  Yet being like us, He was able to resist temptation in His humanity and not sin.  Consider the Greek; πεπειρασμενον δε κατα παντα καθ ομοιοτητα χωρις αμαρτιας -can be translated:  but one having been tested in all [things] according to [our] likeness, separate from sin.

We must also consider the two aspects of temptation, that of the tempter and that of the temptee.  You may try to tempt me with a delicious steak during fasting time, but if I do not in turn reciprocate (out of my zeal for getting closer to God through fasting) by desiring that steak, am I still not tempted without having sinned.

This is also how I understand this verse, but maybe I'm wrong.
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Tags: temptation Scripture St. John Chrysostom Christology 
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