God Thought 12/6/23

'No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. '
1 Corinthians 10:13  

'For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. '
Hebrews 4:15

Most of us have likely had the experience of a person who, for whatever reason, was not able to sympathize very well with us. As amazing as some of our close friends are when it comes to sympathizing with our weaknesses and temptations, they will never hold a candle to how deeply and perfectly Jesus is able to sympathize with us.

Pause on that for a moment, if you would. We have a high priest, an intercessor who sits at the right hand of our heavenly Father. What we do not have is One who has separated Himself from the anguish of our humanness. What separated Jesus from the Israelite high priests is that He walked in the same shoes as the people He ministered to but did so as the sinless Son of God.

Imagine what this means for you and me who are confronted with an endless cycle of hard-to-resist temptations that are as relentless as they are irresistible. Imagine what this means as you consider your beloved friend and high priest. It means that Jesus, the spotless lamb who came to atone for the sins of the world, “gets you.” One of the things we look for in a friend is someone who “gets us.” They know us for who we are so there’s no need for any posturing. We can be vulnerable because we have a friend in our corner who suspends judgment and just listens. We don’t have to feel shame because we have someone who sees us and accepts us even at our absolute lowest.

Of course, there are limitations to this because none of our friends can sympathize with us without sin. So imagine, for a moment, someone like Jesus knowing exactly what you went through because He went through it too but didn’t give in to the temptation like you and I do. Because He never gave in to the temptation, He has a particular, one-of-a-kind heart for you that is untainted by the sin your human friends are susceptible to. It means His love for you is unprocessed. It means His compassion for you is full. It means His joy for you is boundless. It means His forgiveness for you is all-encompassing. As much as others can sympathize with your weaknesses, they can’t offer you what Jesus our high priest can offer. This is the kind of high priestly friendship you need.

Now consider this: the sympathetic and empathetic heart of Jesus. In every respect, He has gone through what you have gone through. In all the ways you have failed when it comes to temptation, He has been faithful. His faithfulness is the very thing that covers your shame-filled failures, paper-thin faith, and Mount Everest-like fears.

In all your inabilities and instabilities, He is able and willing to stand close.

In all your insecurities and vulnerabilities, He is able and willing to stay close.

Like a shepherd who will carry you forever.

So rejoice, for we do not have a God who will do anything other than this.
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