This was a genuine question in that I wanted to explore this feature of Jesus' life more deeply. However, it has also become a focal point of contention.
In response to, "Jesus was tempted, but God cannot be tempted. How then, do we reconcile James 1:13 and Heb. 4:15?" the following was offered.
Therefore, He could not be tempted in the sense of any possibility for sinning.
When Jesus was in the form of God, he had no flesh.
He was beyond temptation.
Even when Jesus was 100% a man He remained 100% God.
All of which basically eliminate Jesus overcoming anything! Apart from the mystical 'two-natured' theory (an unbiblical construct), Jesus is presented as beyond temptation, immune from temptation and being therefore unable to sin. If he could not sin, temptation is completely pointless and rendered a charade.
None of these statements have biblical testimony for support. No verses were offered - there are not any! They are then merely a philosophical approach which is rejected by scripture.
What does scripture offer to counter these ideas?
As mentioned prominently in the other two answers here;
But take courage; I (Jesus) have overcome the world! John 16:33
Well did he or didn't he? Scripture says he did. Jesus said he did! But if the possibility of failure was allegedly not even on the table, overcoming wasn't even necessary - or even possible!
How could Jesus 'overcome' that which had ZERO chance of defeating him?
These unbiblical ideas show contempt for what Jesus did in the 'days of his flesh'.
He in the days of his flesh, having offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One being able to save him from death, and having been heard because of reverent submission. Heb 5:7
This is a stark reminder of the constant possibility of failure. One sin would have destroyed the whole divine plan. Being the Lamb of God - slain for the whole world required him to be perfect - without blemish or sin.
we have one (Jesus) who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin. Heb 4:15
Yet not My will, but Yours be done. Luke 22:42
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. John 6:38
If Jesus had his own will which differed from God's then he cannot be God. How can God have two opposing wills? If Jesus had another will, then he could have followed it to sin, otherwise the will was pointless. Was he a puppet of God? No, having his own will meant he had to choose to obey for 33 years! (all the days of his flesh)
What then did Jesus overcome?
You, little children, are from God and have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 1John 4:4
...having been made like us in every way, his brothers and sisters... Heb 2:17
Jesus overcame by the power, the love, the grace, the mercy of God in him through the holy spirit - just as his brothers and sisters do. He did so by the greater power of God in him than the power of Satan around him.
- Either he is like us or he is not
- Either he can be tempted like us or he cannot
- Either he has God dwelling within him like us or he has his own power
Jesus overcame the world - the evil one who rules the world, the self-centred way of the world that would always put the self-will first. He overcame self. Every temptation appealed to promote the self - his needs his desires, his way. The devil used this ploy because pride always promotes self.
But Jesus trusted, loved, obeyed God (learned by suffering Heb 5:8, 2:10) and always put God's will first. No wonder his directive for us was;
do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. . . . 33But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you. Matt 6
I overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne. Rev 3:21
Only by proving his willingness to submit to God, instead of evil, to obey God's every word, could he be ruler over the cosmos under God. He could not rule without first being ruled. He was ruled with love and he trusted that love above all distractions, just as he asks us to - 'seek first the Kingdom'.