He Knows ….. Jesus Knows
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our
weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as
we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace
with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us
in our time of need, "
(Hebrews 4: 15
There's an old adage that says: "To know how a person really feels, you must walk a mile in their shoes." Well, our Lord Jesus has walked that mile.... and even more. He knows how we feel as we go through life because he's been there in our shoes. We see this so clearly as we recall the events of his Passion during the Lenten Season.
His eyes were robbed of sleep. His friends had stolen away. In so many ways he was alone. Judge after judge heard his case. Injustice had run away with the truth. Pain seized his back and head, his hands and chest. Yet as enemies surrounded, the One so hated thought first of love. His persecutors heard a prayer for forgiveness. His mother received reactions of strength is to consider our own struggles and the reactions that follow.
I think we would all have to admit that it's sometimes much different for us, isn't it? To go through a sleepless night and to face challenges in a new day is often a recipe for short-tempered frustration and meltdown. When companions profess friendship for many months but then are nowhere to be found when times get tough, we are tempted to accuse and hold grudges. At a hint of unfairness, we think of vengeance. When pained in illness or injury, we embrace complaint. To consider Jesus as he approached the cross is often times to witness the very opposite of who we are. Jesus was strong - we are weak. Jesus followed his Father's will - we disobey the simplest commands. Jesus faced challenge and trusted - we view pressures as good reasons to doubt.
For us, in many instances hurt or rejection or disappointment provides a trigger for doubt and disobedience. Trauma can turn professed confidence into blatant denial. The Apostle Peter walked that frightening road on the night Jesus was arrested. He faced a challenge.... and he fell. His denial of Jesus and his disowning him deserved divine desertion, and our own failings deserve no less. The glance of Jesus at Peter rightly penetrates our heart too. When it does, terror can strike, and bitter tears fall.
Yet as he did with Peter, so Jesus also does with us. He quickly returns with love: He sympathizes. He hurts with us. He has faced the same temptations we do. He too was tired. He also was abandoned. He faced injustice. He felt the worst physical pain. But he doesn't just understand those situations - he knows the temptations that come in those situations. Jesus knows the strong pull of the temptation to despair, to retaliate, and to complain.
Yes, he knows.... Jesus knows. His sympathy and understanding also recognize how weak we are. He knows that we still have a sinful flesh, and he knows how easily we can be tricked by the devil. He also knows that in this respect he is not the same as we are. He is not weak. He has not sinned. While his temptation enables him to sympathize with us, his powerful refusal to yield to that temptation qualifies him to be our divine help. He knows that we need mercy. He knows that we will sin even though we don't want to sin. And best of all, he promises to help us in our time of need! In what form does that help come? God's mercy comes in the form of forgiveness for our disobedience. The holy and precious blood of Jesus cleanses our souls from all sin. God's mercy comes to us in the form of credit to us for the victories of obedience that Jesus won. In Jesus, we were tired but continued serving with joy. In Jesus, we were abandoned yet continued honoring our Father with confidence. In Jesus, we have faced temptation but have never fallen. Such help is ours because Jesus knows. He knows temptation. He knows our weaknesses. He knows what we need. And he always delivers that. Praise the Lord.
Blessed by the love of Jesus,