In my nearly thirty years of working in youth and family ministry, I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked questions like:
- “How can Jesus know how I feel? He was perfect. He never had to do this.”
- “How could Jesus possibly understand what it feels like to not be able to have a child or to get a divorce? He was a man and never married.”
- “How could Jesus possibly understand what it means to grow up in an abusive and/or broken home? His parents loved and protected Him.”
- “How could Jesus possibly understand what it means to be hungry or unable to pay your bills? He multiplied fish and bread and stayed wherever He wanted.”
- “How could Jesus possibly understand addiction? He was perfect and sinless and never made the mistake of looking in all the wrong places for happiness and fulfillment.”
It's true—Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life here on earth, but His sinless perfection was who he was. These things were part of His character—not his surroundings. In other words, Jesus remained true to Himself no matter what was going on around him. And no matter how you look at it, there was plenty going on.
So while Jesus was perfect and sinless, He still became angry, frustrated, sad, lonely, and yes, even scared. Jesus faced temptations galore, He was harassed, hounded, made fun of, persecuted, and had threats made against his life. Jesus also experienced hunger, family dysfunction, 'friend drama' and betrayal.
On the up-side, Jesus had a loving father and mother, friends who were as loyal as they could be, and at times, He was the most popular guy in town.
Don't take my word for it though. Grab your Bible and read the truth for yourself:
- John 11:17-44 Jesus was sad
- Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus was angry
- Matthew 15:1-10 Jesus was frustrated
- Matthew 26:36-42 Jesus was scared and lonely
- Luke 4:1-2 Jesus was hungry
- Luke 4:3-13 Jesus was tempted in numerous ways
- Matthew 12:9-14 Jesus was threatened
- Matthew 27:30 Jesus was spit on and beaten, and abused
- Mark 9:33-36 Jesus experienced 'friend drama'
- Mark 2:20-21 Jesus had his share of family dysfunction
- Matthew 24:14-16 Jesus was betrayed
- Matthew 26:69-75 Jesus' friends let him down
- Luke 2:41-48 Jesus had loving parents
- Matthew 21:6-11 Jesus was popular
It is true Jesus didn't experience some of the things we experience in our lives, but before you start nodding your head and saying 'That's right, so there's no way….' think about the fact that Jesus is God in the flesh. The fact that He is perfect makes Him all-knowing and all-seeing. He can't help but understand everything we are going through.
The last point I want to make is this: Even though Jesus didn't personally experience everything we might experience (divorce, infertility, addiction, financial disasters, etc.) Jesus experienced many things we never experience—the least of which is NOT His sacrificial death on the cross for you and me.
So the next time you wonder or ask if Jesus understands or cares about what you are going through, remember that the intensity and depth of His love and care was such that He willingly died a brutal death on a cross so that you can spend eternity with Him.
If that isn't understanding, I don't know what is.
~ By Darla Noble