Our Sympathetic Lord

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.”

(Hebrews 4:15, NRSV)

The Incarnation, God becoming man, is one of the most profound and significant mysteries. The thought that our all-powerful, omnipotent God would willingly share in our humanity is difficult to comprehend and accept. So much so that throughout history people have attempted to water down this truth. The simple, albeit difficult, truth is that Jesus was fully God and fully human. Implications of this are countless. I will focus on only one, highlighted by Hebrews 4:15.

Jesus was just like us. He faced temptations and struggles, as we do. The only limitation the Bible places on Jesus’s humanity is that He did not sin. Reflect on this for a moment. If we want to know what Jesus felt, consider our own feelings, temptations, and struggles. In fact, His struggles were much more difficult than we can imagine.

How does this knowledge help us? Stress and temptation abound at this wonderful time of year. We desire to do so many good things but are hampered by a lack of time, difficult relationships, well-intentioned activities, and our own shortcomings. The result is that we are in danger of missing out on the celebration of Jesus’s arrival on earth. Remember, Jesus struggled and succeeded. We can succeed as well. Yes, we will fail. Jesus sympathizes with us. He understands. But even failure should also cause us to focus on the Incarnation. Jesus came because we sin. He came to pay for our sins and is presently serving as our mediating High Priest.