Jesus Sympathizes With You

The physical pain Jesus suffered is beyond my comprehension as are the negative emotions he navigated through all without sinning. He is the example of how to endure difficulties without compromising our faith.

1 Peter 2:21-23. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;

The last days before his crucifixion were filled with activities, some of which stirred intense emotion. Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he observed the weeping of Mary and the others with her which caused him to be “deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” Then, the shortest verse in the Bible says – “Jesus wept.” We are not told specifically why he wept, but the context seems to indicate compassion for those mourning. He did not cry for Lazarus as he knew he would rise. When we experience similar emotions, we do not need to go it alone because our Lord is with us to help and he understands.

Hebrews 4:15. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus was constantly tempted by the religious leaders who judged and criticized him. The feelings that arise in us when we are wrongly judged and disparaged can be controlled, especially if we ask our Lord for help. He knows how it feels.

Shortly before the last supper, Jesus uttered the following:

John 12:27-28. “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

Jesus understood the Old Testament prophecies about the horrific torture and death that awaited him, and he was deeply troubled. Many of us facing a surgical procedure or intimidating treatment like chemotherapy or radiation may experience similar feelings. Jesus feels your apprehension and will encourage and comfort as you seek his help. He is a compassionate high priest.

After Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, just days before captivity, “He saw the city and wept over it.” Then, he foretold its soon coming destruction. We too may experience similar feelings when we know the imminent doom of someone or something we love. During this same time period, he went into the temple and drove out those selling things as he quoted the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, “and My house shall be a house of prayer but you have made it a robber’s den.” We can only imagine the disgust and anger he felt at the desecration of his Father’s house, yet he did not lose his mind and retaliate in a sinful way. Today, in our world we are bombarded with similar unholiness and disregard for our God and truth. Like Jesus, we want to stay above the nonsense and keep focused on our God and our Lord.

The greatest display of his intense emotion was in the Garden of Gethsemane when he prayed three times for God to change things so he would not have to suffer and die.

Luke 22:44. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.

Hebrews 5:7. In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.

God heard Jesus’ prayers and sent an angel to strengthen him. In our less intense difficulties, we too can pray and find help from our sympathetic Lord Jesus and from God our Father. Shortly after his prayers, Judas arrived in the garden with a cohort of soldiers to take Jesus. Judas had prearranged to designate Jesus by kissing him. Jesus’ response to Judas is heart piercing–“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48). How painful and saddening to be betrayed by someone you loved and trusted! Hours later, the man Jesus invested the most time training, Peter, repeatedly denied knowing him. Jesus and Peter looked at each other after his last denial. Betrayal is one of the most, if not the greatest of all, agonizing emotions humans undergo. If you are assaulted in such a way, remember Jesus feels your pain and can help.

Hanging on the cross, Jesus uttered the beginning words David wrote in Psalm 22–“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”

Psalm 22:1. My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

In this psalm, David communicates his feelings and confession of faith in Yahweh. Also included in the psalm are prophetic utterances regarding the sufferings Jesus was experiencing on the cross. “My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws” (vs. 15); “They pierced my hands and my feet” (vs. 16); “They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” (vs. 18). Realizing he was experiencing the fulfillment of the prophecy, Jesus may have quoted the first verse or maybe he expressed how he felt in the moment. Obviously, neither David or Jesus doubted God’s loving concern for them; however, both were suffering and longed for deliverance. No one has or will suffer like Jesus did, but we may have times of suffering and feel the same way. In those challenging moments, seek the aid of the one who knows how you feel and has the ability to help.

Hebrews 2:17-18. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

Hebrews 12:2-3. fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

We have an understanding and sympathetic high priest who will help in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:14-16. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

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