In Heb 4.15 it says “we have a high priest who has been tempted in every way just as we are”.
As I read this I wonder what the temptations that Jesus faced were. Yes, the devil tempted him in the desert with power, wealth and position- all with out pain. But what about sexual temptations which we are all so familiar with each day and every moment. Did Jesus face these? If so how did he overcome these? I realize that all of us are not tempted in all areas with the same intensity. The devil must have tried every opportunity possible to make Jesus fall and discredit him worthy of being the sacrifice.
The New Testament portrays Him as a strong healthy man, an adult with enough testosterone to make Him alive and attractive. Did he feel desires welling up in his mind and in his body? Did he feel aroused in the company of women? - There were enough of them around him. Did he feel attracted to the opposite sex like any other man? Were there moments of longings for a touch, an embrace, a kiss and sexual intimacy?
Tempted like any man? I believe yes. Jesus was fully alive to all the feelings that we are endowed with. Jesus was not ashamed to share all the God given feelings and desires. It was not in having them but in using that He showed what a real man is made of.
Yet with out SIN… At this statement we part paths with him. How was it possible?
I believe that Jesus had a sense of His calling even at an early stage in his life. He understood from the scriptures the meaning and purpose of sex within the context of marriage. He did not come to settle down and have a family. He came exclusively to die a sacrificial death. To accomplish that purpose he had to put aside the wonderful gift God ordained – the institution of marriage and sex. But sexual desires are there as part of our human make up. How did he cope with this drive?
I am called to consider Him and fix my eyes on Him -His person. I am sure that Jesus listened to the stories of His ancestors and saw the effect of sexual sin- the effects of going out side the God ordained boundary. He looked at Abraham, Lot, Jacob and Judah. He looked at strong men like Samson and wise ones like Solomon. He saw the effect of the sexual passion in Amnon.
He also heard the story of Joseph, his courage to say ‘No’. An awareness of God and respect for the other made it possible for Joseph to walk away from a trying situation. Where men failed, a slave triumphed. Looking and meditating on the lives of real people Jesus made choices. To say “No” to instincts meant saying “Yes” to God and His ways. Sex is not the ultimate entertainment. He showed that Man can live with out sex and can be fully alive. It is not a must for fulfillment. It is possible to keep this body as the temple of the living God and find greater joy in other activities. He found the proper place for His body in God’s plan.
As Jesus grew up He was aware of the local gossip about His birth - the names others called Him or referred by. We are familiar with these in our own situations- the nicknames, the whispers, the side glance and sarcastic comments. I wonder whether He rushed to His mother for clarity about His birth. Was His birth illegal? Was He an unwanted child of promiscuous sex? He looked at his mother and heard the stories of the angels, the shepherds and the wise men. He heard about the courage of His foster father Joseph and his loyalty. May be Elisabeth shared some secrets with him. Yes He knew all about the people of His town and their life styles. He did not allow either the labels to become His identity nor to label others in retaliation. He did not waste time in getting approval from others. He stood tall with His convictions and His call. He chose to love all. He saw the sufferings and pain of women- the loss of value and dignity, the shame and exploitation of the most beautiful creation in God’s world. He witnessed how men and law treated them. He decided to treat them differently because He had a higher view of them.
I also believe that Jesus was taught by either of His parents in sexual matters. There is a fantastic picture of a real son talking about his father in Prov4.3 “When I was a boy, still tender, he taught me”. He taught me many things especially about sex and describes it in chapters 4, 5 and 6. Solomon talking about David I presume. David taught his son about the trappings of sex and its temptations. Jesus was taught this from the scriptures as he grew up. He saw the truth of the verse ‘Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched’ (we may talk about wearing shoes or rubber to disprove the truth) He took seriously the advice about not lusting in the heart. Pro 6.25
At this point I wonder how many fathers-evangelical, spirit filled and theologically right-got the courage and commitment to talk to their sons when they are tender about sex and God’s view of it. How important it is to install the right and wrong sexware before they download it from somewhere else! Yes, about the body changes, the desires, the drives and the temptations! We prefer to leave it to school and magazines to do this vital teaching. As I look back I realize that I had no input from my home in this area of my life and I grew up totally confused and misinformed. There was so much of fear and unhealthy curiosity.
Yes, Jesus a man full of life knew the boundaries and He knew how to discipline Himself. Hebrew 12.4 talks about the ‘struggle against sin’ and the fact that none of us really resisted it to our limit. In today’s context it’s all about avoiding pregnancy and infection rather than a higher reason. Jesus hid God’s word in His heart and found strength to face the temptation. It was a joyful submission to His father’s will - not a grumbling one. He knew the fleeting moments of pleasure from the history of His forefathers. He also knew the sense of inner rightness and peace that a disciplined life brought. Heb- 12.11.
In spite of knowing and being taught, Solomon failed absolutely and repeatedly. But we have some one greater than Solomon. Jesus alone could embrace His sexuality and remain perfect with out sin. In fact He went a step further and said that sexual sin starts in the mind. It is more than physical and it needs to be tackled at this level. So much grace is available to us to overcome this addiction with sex.
No one is capable of living this pure life. Let us not act as if we do. We are dust and corrupt. This is why Jesus came and lived it on our behalf. Keeping you and me in mind, He said ‘no’ to this temptation and became my redeemer. There was nothing in Jesus that the devil could use against Him. (John 14.30) I can only live in His righteousness. What I cannot do He did for me and I embrace His purity as mine. All my sexual sins and fantasies find it’s cleansing in His blood. It’s a call to start again afresh in His grace. It is not a calling to feel superior like the Pharisee or to become judgmental and withhold love. It is a call to see our need of Him even in this area more than ever before. It’s a call to have the mind of Christ as I look at the opposite sex. It’s a challenge to see my body and the other’s body as the temple of the living God. It’s a call to see others through His eyes and feel with His heart and love like He loved. So let us behold this Man. He is a model for us. Come boldly and receive grace upon grace. Let us talk to Him about our heart matters as we recline close to Him in the security of His unconditional love.