(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
A family friend has recently spent ten days in the hospital, in part because of the stresses and strains over the last three months brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Social contact has been effectively cut off! Entertainment has been localized to the home and yard (no restaurants, theaters, playgrounds, play dates etc.)! Income has been reduced by 60%! The kids are not responding to being home schooled! The list could go on.
Others have it worse!
- So many have been stricken with the virus (1.8 million to date in the US; 6.07 million worldwide), and far too many have died (almost 105,000 in the US; 368,000 worldwide).
- A number of businesses are on the brink of failure – or have failed.
- We hear of health care workers (especially in Coronavirus hot spots) who have had breakdowns, and some have taken their own lives.
- Because of stay-at-home orders, marital problems, spousal and child abuse have risen dramatically.
…and so much more!
How can Jesus, so far away in heaven, know the mental and emotional strain that we mortals are going through in such a time as this? Hebrews 4:14 through 16 makes a bold claim concerning this very question:
Seeing that 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 was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
In the Gem, Does Jesus Understand? – I, we have learned…
- …that sympathize in verse 15 means, “…more than knowledge of human infirmity. It is feeling it by reason of a common experience with men.” (M.R. Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament).
- …that tempted means, “…to test…that is, endeavor, scrutinize…” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary). To test and scrutinize something, you have to be in the middle of it!
Our Lord Jesus Christ was in the ‘middle of it’ as He walked upon this earth! He feels what we are going through by reason of a common experience with us! (See Hebrews 2:14). What exactly did He experience?
- Stress – Jesus intensively prayed in Gethsemane, anticipating His soon-coming passion! (see a description of His sufferings in Does Jesus Understand? – II). Beyond the physical torture, the holy Son of God was to be made sin before the Father, who would turn away from the Son and pour out eternal judgments upon Him that we deserved! (See Isaiah 53:5, 6; Matthew 27:46; II Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 2:24). We read in Luke 22:44 that “…being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. And His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” It’s called hematedrosis! According to Medical News Today, in the article “Hematadrosis: Can People Sweat Blood?” it says, “…tiny blood vessels that cause bloody sweat are more likely to rupture under intense stress. The stress can be physical, psychological, or both.” Was there ever anyone who has been under more stress than our Lord Jesus?
- Disappointment – Was Jesus ever disappointed with…
✞ ...His disciples? Peter denied Him three times! Yes, Jesus predicted that very thing before it happened (see Matthew 26:34), but I’m sure He still felt disappointment in one of His inner circle. And what of the other two closest to Him? James and John schemed to be next to Jesus in the kingdom! (See Matthew 20:21; Mark 10: 35-37). They were also the ones who wanted to call fire down on the Samaritan village for not receiving Jesus! (See Luke 9:52-55). Then there was the time His followers tried to chase away those who “...brought infants to Him that He might touch them....But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 18:15, 16). ✞ ...the Jews of Jerusalem? In Matthew 23, the Lord had a confrontation with the scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders of Israel. After challenging their hypocrisy, He called them out in verse 33: “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the damnation of hell?” Then He turned His attention to the city in verse 37: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Though He knew the fact of such rejection (see Psalm 118:22; John 1:11), Jesus was certainly disappointed His own people would not receive Him! ✞ ...the majority of the world’s population rejecting Him? It is written in I Timothy 4:10, “...the living God...is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.” This is a statement of unlimited atonement – that Jesus paid for the sins of all people of all times! Of course, not all believe. So it stands to reason that the Lord is disappointed (heart broken!) over those who reject the Way of eternal life already completely paid for and open to them!
- Loneliness – Did Jesus ever feel lonely?
✞ He had four brothers and at least two sisters according to Matthew 13:55 and 56. But they “... did not believe in Him...” (John 7:5) until after the resurrection. in that respect He certainly was alone among His siblings as He grew into man- hood! I wonder if He felt lonely at times in His own home? ✞ And what happened at the end of His ministry? Jesus was surrounded for almost three years by His hand-picked disciples. But when the temple police and Roman soldiers came to arrest Him, the disciples fled in fear, leaving Him alone! (See Mark 14:30). He predicted this would hap- pen in John 16:32: Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I suppose twinges of loneliness could have hap- pened then. Surely loneliness did happen when He was abandoned even by His Heavenly Father! (See Forsaken below). ✞ Jesus was fully God as He walked upon this earth! But He was also fully human! Many times in the gospels it refers or infers to Him being alone. Since, in our featured Scripture, it says He experienced everything we have, that must include loneliness!
- Forsaken – We know that on the cross Jesus felt abandoned and forsaken when even the Father turned away from Him! And the Son cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46 – emphasis added). Why? Because “…He…was made sin for us…”! (II Corinthians 5:21).
- Not knowing the future – Now this seems strange to say Jesus didn’t know the future. After all, being fully God He is omniscient! But being human, He lived upon this earth, having veiled His attributes of deity (see Philippians 2:5-8). However it did happen once when He said…
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory....But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mark 13:26, 32 – emphasis added).
There are other things that could be added to show that Jesus humanly experienced all that touches our lives! But this Scripture of Hebrews 4:14 through 16 especially shows that when we are in trials, and we need to…
...obtain mercy and find grace to help in [our] time of need..., Let us...come boldly to the throne of grace ....For we...have a High Priest who can...sympathize with our weaknesses, [who] was in all points tempted [tested, tried] as we are yet without sin.
Come boldly! For Jesus understands! And He is available, all-powerful, and willing to help!