“Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:17-18)
One of the most awkward things we do in life is meeting new people. When you first meet someone, you don’t have any knowledge about them beyond a cursory visual inspection. First conversations can be strained or stilted, and we will often fall into typical conversational rhythms about the weather, jobs, sports or even the news. There is no established rapport, so it is difficult to know how to steer the conversation.
Eventually, though, you find some sort of common ground, a shared interest or experience, and this thing that you have in common gives you some insight into who this person is and how they think. Some relationships never develop beyond that initial acquaintance, but when you share several things in common with someone there is a greater potential to have a meaningful relationship with that person. I’m sure we can all think of a friendship that is especially close because of how much you share in common.
That is one of the reasons that I am so grateful that God sent Jesus to come to Earth and live as one of us. When I think about trying to establish a relationship with God apart from the Incarnation, it just doesn’t work in my head. What does a finite, ignorant, weak creature like me have in common with an infinite, all-knowing, all-powerful God? I know the Bible teaches that I am in some way made in God’s image, but from my perspective it must be a very poor, distorted reflection. He and I are so unlike, despite all my efforts to be more like Him!
But that’s where the genius of God’s plan for salvation shows. Jesus came to live as one of us. He was “made like his brothers in every respect.” He learned to walk & talk…just like we do. He had family and friends who supported him at one time and disagreed with him the next…just like we do. He experienced joy and sorrow, peace and turmoil, love and disappointment…just like we do. It’s true that all the details of his life do not match the specifics of our own, but that does not mean that he can’t relate to us. When we cry out to the Lord, he knows what we are thinking and feeling not because he is God but because he has been there himself. He has walked that road.
God went out of his way to reveal himself to us throughout the Old Testament. Jesus willingly gave up his position and authority in Heaven to clarify that revelation and intercede on our behalf. The Holy Spirit has come to empower us and serve as our advocate and helper. It seems that God will stop at nothing to reach us. So while we may go through times when God does not feel near, that doesn’t mean that it is true. God is near. He is willing and able to help. So when you are being tested, tempted, and pushed to your very limit, know that Jesus has been where you now stand and is ready to show the way beyond the current circumstance to a place of victory!
Prayer: Father, thank you for sending your Son to walk a mile in our shoes. Thank you for being willing to meet us where we are and show us the way beyond the hurt and temptation. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen!