In Heb 2:18, the trials and temptations of Jesus had a two-fold purpose:
- To provide a perfect example of endurance to us who are charged with imitating Christ, 16:33, 1 Cor 7:28, 2 Tim 1:4, Heb 13:12, 13, 1 Peter 2:21, Eph 5:1
- To demonstrate that Jesus was truly human and thus really does understand us from first hand experience. This helps us trust Him and learn from Him. Matt 11:29, Heb 4:14-16.
- The idea in Heb 2:18 and its word πειρασθείς (peirastheis) from the root word πειράζω (peirazó) is a "trial" in order to demonstrate something's integrity. Jesus endured far greater tests of character than any human ever did or ever will, but never sinned, Heb 4:15.
Thus, Jesus is ideally suited to being our Savior and Redeemer. Barnes comes to a similar conclusion:
Being tempted - Or, being "tried." The Greek word used here is more
general in its meaning than the English word "tempted." It means to
"put to the proof;" to try the nature or character of; and this may be
(1) by subjecting a person to "afflictions" or "sufferings" that his
true character may be tried - that it may be seen whether he has
sincere piety and love to God; or.
(2) by allowing one to fall into "temptation," properly so called -
where some strong inducement to evil is presented to the mind, and
where it becomes thus a "trial" of virtue.
The Saviour was subjected to both these in as severe a form as was
ever presented to people. His sufferings surpassed all others; and the
temptations of Satan (see Matthew 4) were presented in the most
alluring form in which he could exhibit them. Being "proved" or
"tried" in both these respects, he showed that he had a strength of
virtue which could bear all that could ever occur to seduce him from
attachment to God; and at the same time to make him a perfect model
for those who should be tried in the same manner.
He is able to succour ... - This does not mean that he would not have
had "power" to assist others if he had not gone through these
sufferings, but that he is now qualified to sympathize with them from
the fact that he has endured like trials.
"He knows what sore temptations mean,
For he has felt the same."