Chapter 50 Our Lord's Power To Succour

In that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted (Hebrews 2:18).

There was, in many ways, a necessity for our Lord’s humiliation. It was necessary on our part, that an atonement being made by Him on our behalf, we might be made acceptable to God. It was necessary, too, on God’s part, in order that His justice might be satisfied and His law magnified. It was necessary, too, on the behalf of the Lord Himself, so that, through the process of humiliation He might be qualified to take up and discharge a mediatorial office on our behalf, for without the presentation of His own blood in the heavens, and the sprinkling of the mercy seat with that blood, and the exercise of His intercessory prayers, we could never receive the benefits of His atoning sacrifice.

The Temptations of Our Lord

Great and manifold were these temptations.

    1. From man. In his infancy our Lord grew up “in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). Yet from the beginning of His Messianic ministry He became the object of universal contempt and abhorrence (Isaiah 49:7). He endured every kind of contradiction from sinners of all sorts, and from all ranks and conditions of men. They found fault with His words. They misrepresented His actions. They reviled Him as an imposter. They said He was confederate with the devil. And at last, they apprehended, condemned, and crucified Him. What a catalog of trials!

    2. From devils. These assaulted Him with all their fiery darts at their disposal, urging Him to distrust, presumption, and even idolatry. They attacked Him, after their wilderness temptations with fresh and tremendous vigor in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here was marshalled all the forces of darkness against Him. Then they made their last supreme effort when He hung on the cross. But He triumphed over them (Colossians 2:15)—though they did succeed in bruising His heel and in bringing Him to the chambers of death.

    3. From God. When our Lord stood as a Surety for sinners, God exacted of Him the utmost farthing of our debt. It was the Father who put the bitter cup in His hands—the Father who laid on Him the awful load of our transgressions and “bruised Him,” so that the fragrance of His offering might ascend up with sweet acceptance before Him (Isaiah 53:10).

The Ability to Succour His People

All His people, like Himself, live in a hostile world and suffer like manner of trials if not in the same degree. But the Lord Jesus is able to succour them and has an all-sufficiency to do that!

    1. He has a sufficiency of strength. All power is committed to Him and all the fullness of God dwells in Him. He can bind the strong man armed and take from him captives from his wretched bondage. There is nothing impossible to our Lord. The weaker we are the more His strength is perfected on our behalf.

    2. A sufficiency of wisdom, for He is “the wisdom of God.” With this wisdom He can deliver the godly out of all temptations, defeat all the plots and schemes of their adversaries, and take Satan himself in his own devices. He sees every weapon formed against His people and knows the day and the hour when the enemy chooses to use them against His people. He thus knows the best time and manner in which to come to their aid and to proportion it to their necessities and so secure their victory and himself obtain the glory.

    3. A sufficiency of compassion. He wept in the days of His flesh on account of the afflictions of His friends, nor does He forget to pity them now that He is in heaven. The very apple of His eye is wounded whenever any of His people are touched with hurt. “In all their afflictions He was afflicted.” So now, being “touched with the feeling of our infirmities,” He is sympathetic in all the trials of His people.

The Connection Between His Temptations and His Succour

As God, He is of necessity possessed of every Divine attribute and perfection, but as Man He learned much from His experience.

    1. He learned our need of succour. He Himself, under His own grievous sufferings, prayed to God with strong crying and tears, and was heard. Thus He was strengthened from above (Hebrews 5:7). He therefore knows how much we need assistance in our trials, and how certainly we poor, weak ones must fail, if we are not supported by His almighty power.

    2. He acquired the right to succour us. We were bought by Him at the inestimable price of His own precious blood. It was agreed in the covenant of redemption that if He would make His soul an offering for sin then He should see His seed and the pleasure of the Lord would prosper in His hands. Having paid the price, therefore, He has a right to His purchased possession, and the right to convey to us whatever may be needful for the salvation of our souls.

And how perfectly He learned these things. As in the case of Saul of Tarsus when persecuting the church, the Lord said, “Why persecutest thou Me?” that is, the hurt to His disciples was a hurt to the Lord Himself. Why? His having been tempted in all points like as we are, qualified Him and disposed Him to feel for all who would be hurt. Indeed, there was a necessity to be made like unto His brethren in order that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, which office He could not have executed if He had not, by His own sufferings, been able to sympathize with us (Hebrews 2:17).

With joy we meditate the grace
Of our High Priest above:
His heart is filled with tenderness—
His very Name is Love!

Touched with a sympathy within,
He knows our feeble frame—
He knows what sorest trials mean,
For He has felt the same.

He, in the days of feeble flesh,
Poured out His cries and tears,
And now, ascended, feels afresh
What every member bears.

Then boldly let our faith address
The throne of grace and power:
We shall obtain delivering grace
In every needed hour.

—Isaac Watts