Does Jesus really understand me?
“We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Have you ever read this and wondered? All of God’s Word is true, so this verse is true too. But does your cynical side ever get the best of you and you think that maybe Jesus doesn’t understand what it’s like to go through the things that you go through? Do you ever think that Jesus could not possibly have faced the temptations or challenges that you face?
Let’s consider for a moment the miracle of the incarnation and its implications. Jesus is fully God. He always was, and he always will be. Jesus then came into flesh. God veiled himself in the real-life body of a human being. His conception was a miraculous conception. He was not conceived with the same sinful nature that we have by birth, but he was still subject to the same standards of perfection that you and I are. And make no mistake about it: Satan would unleash his forces on this God-man.
When Jesus Christ took on flesh, he proved how much he values your humanity. Think about it. Jesus didn’t come to this earth as a well-developed, 30-year-old man. He wrapped himself up in the womb of his mother. God became a child with all the needs of every child. He chose to be cared for as a helpless babe. God chose that he needed to be nursed. God chose that he needed to be changed. This God-man chose to communicate in the same way every child communicates: He cried when he was hungry. God chose to grow up and learn from his father and mother. He chose to play. He chose to work. He chose to do it all because to be our Savior, he had to be human just like us but without sin.
As a human being, he did not get to pick and choose what he liked and didn’t like about being human. He did not simply get to change the essence of his humanity. He was a man—a human being in every sense of the word. He knew what it meant to be hungry, thirsty, tired, and weak. He knew what it meant to live in a sinful world where sinful people do horrible things. He knew what it meant to be betrayed, disowned, and lonely. He knew what it meant to hurt, to bleed, to die.
Thankfully, you have a Savior who became truly human and gave his perfect life for you so that just as you are connected to him in your baptism in his death, you are now connected to him in his life. Our incarnate Christ remains truly human, and through him, your glorious body will one day be like his glorious body. Next month’s article will dig deeper into the implications of Christ’s resurrection for us.
He knows what it’s like to walk in your shoes. He understands you. And because he does, he can empathize with all your weaknesses.
Author: Gregory C. Lyon
Volume 109, Number 10
Issue: October 2022