For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
Superman would make a terrible husband. According to the comic books, he is married to Lois Lane, but this is a mistake—both on her part and on the part of the writers. Superman is simply too perfect. From never wrestling a ladder in order to clean the gutters (he can fly) to never suffering through a cold cup of coffee (he can heat it up with his eyes), Superman is unrelatable. As a husband, it would be nearly impossible for him to understand the mundane difficulties of Lois’ everyday life.
This is a problem because we need people in our lives who can commiserate with us in our struggles. We are far more comforted by those who have experienced our same trials, sorrows, or grief. It is so valuable to us in our sufferings when someone does not merely pity us, but can sympathize and even empathize with us.
This is why our God’s incarnation is such a cause for celebration and awe. He did not remain a lofty, unseen, uncaring deity who glares at us disapprovingly from His celestial throne. Through the incarnation, our God took on human flesh. He set aside the full use of that all-encompassing divine power and glory and was willingly subjected to things like common colds and stubbed toes.
God became our brother. And what makes this fact all the more wondrous is that He did this with the intent to suffer. He woke up every day and faced the relentless assaults of Satan and our sinful world. He was subjected to the devil’s most treacherous scheming, his most ferocious attacks.
As our brother, Jesus understands our weaknesses. He knows how quickly temptation can pop up before us; He can sympathize with how easy it is to fall in line with the unbelieving world that surrounds us. As our brother, Jesus faced all these same temptations in their fullness.
And yet. What a blessing that word is to us—yet. Although in all points He was tempted as we are, yet He was without sin. Where we have given in, He stood firm. Where we failed, He succeeded. Where we sinned, in Him is found only righteousness, holiness, and perfect obedience.
All the goodness of God would mean nothing to us if He were merely “up there” while we are “down here.” Without our God becoming our brother, we would still be in our sin. But our God is not an unrelatable superhero who cannot understand our struggles. He is our brother who was tempted in all points as we are, yet remained righteous. He fulfilled the Law of His Father and on the cross exchanged His righteousness for our sin. He felt its weight upon His shoulders, suffered our death and hell. He did everything that we cannot do to give us what we could never deserve: the forgiveness of our sins and life eternal. Praise God for His incarnation!
Reverend Ben Wiechmann
King of Grace Lutheran Church & School
Golden Valley, MN