"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses."
Often times, particularly during tough times, we struggle with the thoughts that people do not understand what we are going through. I cannot count how many times I have heard people say, "But you don't understand what I am going through!" The good thing for us who are Christians
is that we don't necessarily have to understand or identify with what each person is going through in order to help or to be consoled.
Why? Because Jesus does.
This is so good, so rich and so life changing! In God's infinite wisdom and design he has organized things to exalt his Son. Within this context we have Christ's sympathy and compassion exalted. There is nothing that anyone has gone through, are currently going through, or will go through that Jesus cannot relate to, sympathize with or encourage his children in. Jesus is so gloriously and marvelously sufficient!
When I read a passage like the one above I am driven to the gospels to analyze the context of some of the days within the context of Christ's earthly ministry. I am left with an open mouth and enriched praise when I consider that Jesus was under no obligation to become a man and deal with the junk that comes as a result of our sin in this fallen world. He did this because he loves his Father. Jesus is loving his Father as he is loving his sheep.
Consider this small sampling of what Jesus went through:
His family thought he was crazy (Matthew 12:46
; Mk. 3.21; Jn. 7.5)
One of his closest confidants sold him to be killed for pocket change (Matthew 26:46
He stood face to face with the devil and endured all of his demonic tricks (Luke 4:1
He endured suffering for righteousness' sake (John 15:20
He received criticism of his ministry (John 5:1
; Matt. 12)
He endured complete and utter separation from God so that you would never, ever, ever have to! Matthew 27:46
2 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. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 2:17 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.
It seems to me that Jesus is qualified to sympathize, to understand, to provide encouragement, and to be depended on. Jesus is to be valued by his followers.
Is not the incarnation of the Son of God and his corresponding trials while here not comforting to the wounded heart? Is not Jesus not more esteemed when we are debased? Jesus is a better Savior than we think him to be.
Hebrews 4 says that our high priest is able to sympathize with us. To ignore his consolation is to devalue his incarnation. Run to Jesus with your wounded heart and encourage others to do the same; for he is exalted in his children's weakness.
Erik Raymond is pastor at emmaus bible church, a church plant in Omaha. He and his wife Christie have six children. Erik blogs at ordinarypastor.com.