1. THE HUMAN LINEAGE OF CHRIST
a. What form was necessary for Christ to take when He came to earth, and why? Romans 8:3; John 1:14.
“Jesus became a man that He might mediate between man and God. He clothed His divinity with humanity, He associated with the human race, that with His long human arm He might encircle humanity, and with His divine arm grasp the throne of Divinity. And this, that He might restore to man the original mind which he lost in Eden through Satan’s alluring temptation.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E.G. White Comments], vol. 7-A, p. 487.
b. According to the flesh, whose descendant was Christ? What did He inherit from His mother? Genesis 3:15; 22:18; Romans 1:3.
“It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 49.
2. THE HUMAN NATURE OF CHRIST
a. How is the human nature of the Son of God described by the prophet Isaiah? Isaiah 53:2–4.
“In taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed, ‘that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses’ (Matthew 8:17). He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E.G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1131.
b. How does the apostle Paul describe the reality of the human nature that Christ inherited? Hebrews 2:14, 17 (first part).
“Christ did not make believe take human nature; He did verily take it. He did in reality possess human nature.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 247.
“For four thousand years the [human] race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 117.
“Jesus was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh, even as we are. He was hungry and thirsty and weary. He was sustained by food and refreshed by sleep. He shared the lot of man; yet He was the blameless Son of God. He was God in the flesh. His character is to be ours.”—Ibid., p. 311.
“What a sight was this for Heaven to look upon! Christ, who knew not the least taint of sin or defilement, took our nature in its deteriorated condition. This was humiliation greater than finite man can comprehend. God was manifest in the flesh. He humbled Himself. What a subject for thought, for deep, earnest contemplation! So infinitely great that He was the Majesty of heaven, and yet He stooped so low, without losing one atom of His dignity and glory! He stooped to poverty and to the deepest abasement among men. For our sake He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. ‘The foxes have holes,’ He said, ‘and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head’ (Matthew 8:20).”— Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 253.
3. CHRIST COULD HAVE FALLEN
a. How do we know that Christ had to meet all the temptations which we have to face, and for what purpose? Hebrews 2:17, 18; 4:15; 5:1, 2.
“Christ alone had experience in all the sorrows and temptations that befall human beings. Never another of woman born was so fiercely beset by temptation; never another bore so heavy a burden of the world’s sin and pain.”—Education, p. 78.
“The Son of God was assaulted at every step by the powers of darkness. After His baptism He was driven of the Spirit into the wilderness, and suffered temptation for forty days. Letters have been coming in to me, affirming that Christ could not have had the same nature as man, for if He had, He would have fallen under similar temptations. If He did not have man’s nature, He could not be our example. If He was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been. If it were not possible for Him to yield to temptation, He could not be our helper. It was a solemn reality that Christ came to fight the battles as man, in man’s behalf.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 408.
b. What is further evidence of Christ’s human nature and of the possibility that He could have fallen under temptation? What was involved in the outcome? 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 5:7, 8.
“Unless there is a possibility of yielding, temptation is no temptation. Temptation is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action and, knowing that he can do it, resists, by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power. This was the ordeal through which Christ passed. He could not have been tempted in all points as man is tempted, had there been no possibility of His failing. . . .
“The temptations to which Christ was subjected were a terrible reality. As a free agent, He was placed on probation with liberty to yield to Satan’s temptations and work at cross-purposes with God. If this were not so, if it had not been possible for Him to fall, He could not have been tempted in all points as the human family is tempted.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E.G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1082.
“Remember that Christ risked all. For our redemption, heaven itself was imperiled. At the foot of the cross, remembering that for one sinner Christ would have laid down His life, you may estimate the value of a soul.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 196.
4. THE SEVERITY OF CHRIST’S TEMPTATIONS
a. What made the temptation in the wilderness so severe for Christ? Luke 4:2, 12, 13.
“Our Saviour is a brother in our infirmities, ‘in all points tempted like as we are’ (Hebrews 4:15); but as the sinless one His nature recoiled from evil; He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin.”—Steps to Christ, pp. 93, 94.
“Every sin, every discord, every defiling lust that transgression had brought, was torture to His spirit.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 111.
“Many claim that it was impossible for Christ to be overcome by temptation. Then He could not have been placed in Adam’s position; He could not have gained the victory that Adam failed to gain. If we have in any sense a more trying conflict than had Christ, then He would not be able to succor us. But our Saviour took humanity, with all its liabilities. He took the nature of man, with the possibility of yielding to temptation. We have nothing to bear which He has not endured.”— Ibid., p. 117.
“When we give to [Christ’s] human nature a power that it is not possible for man to have in his conflicts with Satan, we destroy the completeness of His humanity.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E.G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 929.
“Our Lord was tempted as man is tempted. He was capable of yielding to temptations, as are human beings. His finite nature was pure and spotless, but the divine nature that led Him to say to Philip, ‘He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” also, was not humanized; neither was humanity deified by the blending or union of the two natures; each retained its essential character and properties.
“But here we must not become in our ideas common and earthly, and in our perverted ideas we must not think that the liability of Christ to yield to Satan’s temptations degraded His humanity and He possessed the same sinful, corrupt propensities as man.
“The divine nature, combined with the human, made Him capable of yielding to Satan’s temptations. Here the test to Christ was far greater than that of Adam and Eve, for Christ took our nature, fallen but not corrupted, and would not be corrupted unless He received the words of Satan in the place of the words of God. To suppose He was not capable of yielding to temptation places Him where He cannot be a perfect example for man, and the force and the power of this part of Christ’s humiliation, which is the most eventful, is no instruction or help to human beings.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, pp. 182, 183.
5. CHRIST’S GROWTH AND TRIUMPH
a. By what experiences common to human beings was Jesus prepared for victory, and with what result? Luke 2:40, 52; Hebrews 5:8, 9.
“The life of Jesus was a life in harmony with God. While He was a child, He thought and spoke as a child; but no trace of sin marred the image of God within Him. Yet He was not exempt from temptation. The inhabitants of Nazareth were proverbial for their wickedness. The low estimate in which they were generally held is shown by Nathanael’s question, ‘Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ (John 1:46). Jesus was placed where His character would be tested.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 71.
b. What is the secret to victory over temptation? What does Christ promise to those who overcome as He overcame? 1 Peter 2:23; James 4:7; Revelation 3:21.
“[Christ] vanquished Satan in the same nature over which in Eden Satan had obtained the victory. The enemy was overcome by Christ in His human nature. The power of the Saviour’s Godhead was hidden. He overcame in human nature, relying upon God for power. This is the privilege of all. In proportion to our faith will be our victory.”—The Youth’s Instructor, April 25, 1901.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What heritage did Christ receive from the line of Adam?
2. What makes it clear that Jesus truly lived as a man while among men?
3. How do we know that Christ had to meet real temptations in the same way as any other human being?
4. When Christ had to personally meet temptation as a Son of Man, what fact made His temptations more severe than ours?
5. How was Christ prepared to overcome, and what may we learn from this?