Since the One who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, Jesus doesn't hesitate to treat them as family, saying,
I'll tell my good friends, my brothers and sisters, all I know about you;
I'll join them in worship and praise to you.
Again, he puts himself in the same family circle when he says,
Even I live by placing my trust in God.
And yet again,
I'm here with the children God gave me.
Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it's logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil's hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.
It's obvious, of course, that he didn't go to all this trouble for angels. It was for people like us, children of Abraham. That's why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people's sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed.
This is why I love doing my devotional reading in The Message. This passage, which is so familiar to me, hits totally different in The Message.
I am taking a break from the gospels and looking at the New Testament readings for a bit. We are in the book of Hebrews. It was written to Jewish Christians and makes connections from Jesus to the Old Testament.
In this passage the author is talking about how Jesus was fully human. As a result of this reality he was able to rescue humanity from death by defeating death.
The last sentence though is what really hit me this morning. “Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people's sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed.”
It’s this idea that Jesus experienced humanity in its fullness. He knows our pain and the trials that we walk through. This idea that the one who saves is also the one who knows us intimately is profound to me.
Jesus has real knowledge of what it is really like to be a person. He didn’t show up as an all powerful superhero like the Greeks, Romans, or Norse gods. No, he was weak, broken, and poor. This Jesus we see died on the cross. He was captured, beaten, and killed. Too often we forget that his death was ignoble. We forget that he was betrayed by one of his closest friends. His life was not easy up to that point. He lived the life of a homeless man with no place to lay his head.
As we continue to journey through Lent we must not miss the reality that Jesus was like one of us. He is acquainted with grief, sorrow, and pain. He stands before God as our compassionate and empathetic high priest.
As I think about Jesus being like this, it strikes me that I have room to grow in my compassion and empathy. These are not natural states for me. As I become more aware of the great grace and mercy shown to me, it is helping me become more gracious and merciful.
How about you? Are you intentionally seeking to model your posture towards others after Jesus? Do you seek to be compassionate, empathetic, gracious, and merciful?