We have a great high priest, who has gone into heaven, and he is Jesus the Son of God. That is why we must hold on to what we have said about him. Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help. Â Â Hebrews 4:14-16 (CEV)
For a long time I was convinced that Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, could not possibly understand my life, my pain, my difficulties. And then I took the time to really read the gospels. I took the time to see Jesus, consider what His facial expressions might have been, connected the dots on various scenes and thought about what might have been in some of the white spaces between some of the words. John says at the end of his gospel that not everything could be recorded because the all of it was too vast (John 21:25). I hope if you feel overwhelmed by life’s circumstances or alone in a struggle that you will take time today to look at the One who maybe does truly â€œgetâ€ you and cares about what you are going through.
Family and relationships. The gospels note that Jesus spent time away praying, on a mountain during the night, or away from the crowds that followed Him. I wonder if it wasn’t relationships that was a major factor in His time alone with His Father. The twelve guys closest to Him bickered a lot about who was the most important and missed the point of His teachings and actions despite all the time He spent daily with them. They kept trying to make Jesus’ mission fit their agenda instead of getting on board with Him. Rather narcissistic. And family? They thought He was crazy (Mark 3:21)! Jesus said that it was not those related by blood that were His family but those who â€œdo the will of my Fatherâ€ (Matthew 12:46-50). So if I struggle with people who criticize me more than love me, Jesus knows what that is like. If I wonder if there is anyone out there who is â€œfor me,â€ Jesus knows who are my true friends and who are not.
Pain and sickness. If pain is part of life and suffering comes through sickness and depression, Jesus knows. He cried out Psalm 22:1 from the cross, â€œWhy have you left me, God?!!â€ and if I continue to read that psalm, many of the verses describe His experience from the time He was arrested until He drew His last breath here on this earth. Beside His own experience, He saw the suffering and isolation of the lepers, the struggle of those struck with illness that left them paralyzed and poor as they sought cures. He didn’t ignore them but was moved with compassion and reached out to them.
Death and loss. Jesus wept when He was told of His cousin, John’s death (Matthew 14:12-13). He wept at the tomb of His friend Lazarus (John 11:35). He who said He was the resurrection and life, knew that our death here was not the end, and was still moved to tears as we grieve for the separation of those we love. Jesus knows that it is hard to walk on without someone that I count on. He described the gift that He would send after He left as the Counselor (John 14:15-27). This would be One that I could count on to help me and encourage me to walk on.
Need and loneliness. Jesus said that birds had nests and foxes had their holes but that He did not have a comfortable, warm home (Matthew 8:20). When the worse day of His earthly life came, the twelve people who had been with Him every day prior to that ran off and left Him to face humiliation, torture and death alone. Yes, Jesus is acquainted with my sorrows and needs.
Paul said that some may see the Cross as â€œfoolishnessâ€ but it is actually the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). And so it is. The closer that I associate myself with Jesus and His life, especially the Cross, the closer I will know His comfort, His truth, and His wisdom. I overcome the troubles in my life by the Blood of Jesus the Lamb, the words of my testimony as we walk along this life and learn that my life is not defeated by death but is, in fact, victorious (Revelation 12:11).
â€“ written by Frances J. Crosby and William Doane, sung by the Hastings College Choir (Hastings, NE)
Jesus, keep me near the Cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all — a healing stream —
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
Chorus: In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning Star
Shed its beams around me.
Near the cross! I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.