Jesus Gets You
This week I thought that we would change things up a bit for the Daily Devos, and spend some time reflecting on a verse or two each day from The Revised Common Lectionary.
The Revised Common Lectionary is a compilation of readings from the Bible for use in Christian worship, and making use of the rhythms of the liturgical year with its "pattern of observances of festivals and seasons."
Today the verse I'd like to think about with you is from the Epistle reading for today:
Because he [Jesus] himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. - Hebrews 2:18When I was a kid, this verse always puzzled me. I would think to myself, "If Jesus was fully human, and fully divine... how could he possibly be tempted to do something wrong?"
Over time, I've come to understand this verse a bit differently.
The author of Hebrews wasn't merely saying that Jesus was tempted to sin, not by a long shot. What the author was trying to convey was that in a broader sense, Jesus was subjected to the struggles and trials of life, just like us.
In other words, Jesus knows intimately what it is like to be us. The Gospel witnesses share how Jesus got tired, grew angry, became frustrated... Jesus also had questions for God, and was often misunderstood by the people he was trying to lead. Eventually he was even persecuted, beaten, falsely convicted and executed.
Jesus felt pain, both physical and emotional. He even experienced the loss of God on the cross when he cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Jesus' struggles mean that in every way He understands us. And all of this should give us a tremendous sense of confidence, which ought to lead to joy, hope and peace. Henri Nouwen summed it up like this:
The mystery of life is that Jesus came to suffer with us so that we could be joyful. He didn't come so we wouldn't suffer but so that we could taste that eternal life, that lasting joy that is of God, that is already in this world, already now, already precisely here.May you be comforted today in the knowledge that there is nothing you are going through that Jesus has not experienced in some way. Jesus fully and completely gets you.
Live in this knowledge and may it lead you to joy. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.