“Jesus couldn’t possibly understand what I’m going through right now, after all, He never had to experience what I am!” We’ve all said, or at least thought something along this line before in frustration while going through difficult situations. Often, it’s brought on by physical suffering, feelings of being alone, or thinking we are the only ones who’ve had to wrestle with what we’re going through. In a way, this thought process has been made worse by a reading of Scripture that skips right from the birth of Jesus to His death and resurrection, ignoring the fact that most of the Gospels deal with Jesus’ life, His very human life. In fact, if there’s anyone who can understand what you’re going through better than anyone else, it’s Jesus.
When the Son of God came to earth 2,000 years ago, He was fully God, but He was also fully human. This means that He was a man, who experienced everything there was to being a man, and therefore can completely identify with everything that humans go through. He personally knows what it’s like to suffer, and to experience hardships. He understands, and can empathize with us in ways that no one else can. In fact, let’s take a look at some of the more common, yet incredible ways that Jesus identifies with us in our humanity:
Living from paycheck to paycheck can be a very real struggle for us. Surely, no God understands what it is like to go to sleep hungry and cold. However, Jesus knew what it was like to be poor. After all, He was homeless, so He can identify with those who have to do without. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head (Luke 9:58).”
Sometimes we can be sick and tired of being sick and tired. Jesus knew what it was like to experience weariness. Many times He would go off to pray by Himself. After all, He had to walk everywhere He went. “Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour (John 4:6).”
Unfortunately, Jesus knew all too well what it was like to be betrayed. Not only was He betrayed by religious leaders that were jealous of the crowds that were following Him; sadly, He knew what it was like to be betrayed by those very close to Him. His was betrayed by His own family! “And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind (Mark 3:21).” He was also, betrayed by one of His closest friends. “And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept (Mark 14:72).” In fact, ultimately someone in His inner circle sold Him out for 30 pieces of silver. “And He said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15).”
Have you ever believed/invested in someone who disappointed you? Good. Now you can identify with Jesus. Romans 6
— Ronnie Phillips, Jr. (@PastorRonnieJr) April 13, 2016
Jesus knows what it is like to experience heartache, sadness, and sorrow. There are several instances in the Gospels that speak of Jesus’ He wept over the condition of Jerusalem. “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it (Luke 19:41).” He was deeply saddened by the death of loved ones. “Jesus wept (John 11:35).” He was sorrowed by humanity’s rejection of God. “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not (Isaiah 53:3).”
Sometimes we feel very alone particularly because of our struggles with sin in our lives, and it feels like no one can identify with us, least of all Jesus. But the writer of Hebrews reminds us that nothing could be further from the truth, and that Jesus is uniquely able to identify with us and help us in our temptations. After all, “Because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)”
When we search for meaning in our suffering, it can be hard to find on this side of eternity, because we cannot know all the purposes of a sovereign God. But, we have a Savior that knew exactly what it was like to suffer. He confided His emotional pain to His disciples, saying, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (Matthew 26:38), and then obviously the physical pain of His extremely gruesome death on the cross.
Even when we “feel” God has forsaken us, Jesus can identify. God the Father had to turn His face away from His Son while He became sin on the Cross in our place. “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me (Matthew 27:46)?” However, we need to remember that although it was a reality for Jesus, being forsaken by God is only a “feeling” for His children. The truth is, He has told us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).”
Plain and simple, Jesus understands our humanity and what it is like to live as a human. He got hungry, He got thirsty, He slept, He was taught, He grew, He loved, He was glad, He was angry, He was troubled at times, He prayed, He hurt, He exercised faith, He read the Scriptures, He hurt when He saw another person’s illness, and He cried when he saw death.
What a massive comfort it ought to be to know that the Christian faith introduces a beautiful truth to the world of a God that hurts with us, cares about us, and can truly identify with us from a first-hand experience. We can truly have an understanding God than we can run to in a time of need.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).”
jesus knows just how you feel, just let him take the wheel, the love you need he already gave ?
— . (@buteravo) April 6, 2016
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