Read Hebrews 4:14-16
We have, once again, entered into the weeks just prior to Easter. Maybe that is why I am pondering how I might tell someone about Jesus' love, especially if he or she knows little about the Savior and His amazing gift of salvation. What if we begin by doing a little fill in the blank exercise? Remember those from school? Don't worry, the answers will be obvious, and only we will see them? Ready?
1. A time when I really felt lonely was _______.
2. A time when I really felt betrayed was when ______.
3. A time when I really felt sad was ______.
4. A time when I was humiliated was when ______.
If you are like me, you are grateful that the Lord has brought you through these times of difficulty. Truly He is our Helper, the One Who gives us strength as we hope in Him, Isaiah 40:28-31. Let's look back at our fill in the blanks, and answer one more question. What if God would have given us the choice. What if we could have chosen a path where we were sustained by Him or a path that was free from these painful trials. What if God would have allowed us to know the details of our trials in advance, with the option of not enduring some or all of them. Those are difficult questions since some of the painful answers to those four questions still effect our lives today. Some of the painful, lonely, humiliating and sad times we have endured still bring tears to our eyes; so, it might not be cut and dried as to whether we would have undergone these trials if given the choice.
Back to what I can tell others about Jesus. Not only can I tell people what He might write in the above blanks, I know How He would answer the question we posed afterwards.
Hebrews 4:14-16 gives us the remarkable reminder that He can relate to all that we endure. He dealt with loneliness, humiliation, sadness and betrayal and so much more. In 2 Corinthians 8:9, we read the amazing truth that although He was rich, Jesus became poor for us. He gave up perfect love, perfect beauty and wonders we can't even imagine to become man and live among us, John 1:14. There is no experience we have endured that He can't understand because He was not only 100% God, He was also 100% human. Our circumstances might differ than the Lord's, but the emotion we have felt mirrors His own.
For example, our loneliness might be due to a divorce or an inability to fit in. Jesus, although not having undergone the same experiences that we have can relate to us. He endured loneliness when He hung on the cross, having been forsaken by His Father, Matthew 27:46. Jesus Who had from eternity past had perfect fellowship with His Father, because of our sin, experienced a forsaking that we can't even imagine. Jesus has also experienced humiliation, sadness and betrayal, John 11:35; Matthew 26:20-25; Matthew 26:47-50; Matthew 27:15-23; Matthew 27:27-31. His circumstances weren't the same as our own, but what He felt caused Him to be able to understand us. Although the packages of life look different because of their wrapping paper, the contents of what is inside is shared by both us and Jesus.
What's even more wondrous is that Jesus experienced all that He did having known ahead of time what He would endure. Why would He do this? The only answer is love, John 3:16. John 10:17-18 says that He also laid down His life willingly for us. More love. Another wonderful thing about this love is that Jesus knew that many people wouldn't receive it, John 1:10-12; yet, He offered it to all of us, John 3:16.
Back to the one who doesn't know what God is like. We can tell him that He purposely placed Himself in the position to suffer as they have. Jesus understands their hurts because He experienced difficult things both during His life on earth and during His death. All to say "I love you" to both them and us.
The song "If That Isn't Love" says it well:
He left the splendor of heaven Knowing His destiny Was the lonely hill of Golgotha
There to lay down His life for me If that isn't Love The ocean is dry There's no stars in the sky And the sparrow can't fly If that isn't Love Then heaven's a myth There's no feeling like this If that isn't love Even in death He remembered The thief hanging by His side He spoke with love and compassion Then He took him to paradise If that isn't Love The ocean is dry There's no stars in the sky And the sparrow can't fly If that isn't Love