Does Jesus Understand? – III Hebrews 4:14-16

(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 

             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 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 
  • ForsakenWe 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!