Thursday, October 05, 2006

Does Jesus Really Understand?

We read in Hebrews 4:14-16 "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us then appproach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

What a wonderful passage. Understanding that Jesus we tempted in every way just as we are, yet was without sin. So that means Jesus was tempted to give into to material possessions, to lie, cheat, steal, murder, be prideful, curse, even lust. He was tempted in every way just as we are yet was without sin. He was and still is the only one who is perfect. Knowing that he has experienced every kind of temptation helps me to know that I can go to Jeus and He understands my temptation. Right. But does he realy understand?

In ministry ministers get losts of questions from Christians, seekers, and skeptics. How would you answer this question: Does Jesus really understand?: Was Jesus married? Does he know the difficulty in being married? Does he really understand marriage? Does Jesus have any children? Does Jesus really understand the difficulty and frustration in raising children? Did Jesus have to wake up at all hours dealing with screaming kids? Did Jesus have to take care of a sick child? Does God even understand? He had the easy job of letting Mary and Joseph do all the hard work. Does Jesus really understand how hard it is to be a parent? Does Jesus really undestand divorce? Does he really know what it is like to have divorced parents? Does he understand the stress and hardship with divorce? Does Jesus know what it is like to be a single dad or mom? Does Jesus really understand what it is like to be in a financial bind or face financial difficulties? Did Jesus have debt? Did Jesus have to pay bills? Did Jesus have to worry about college tuition for kids? Does Jesus really understand stand my stress at work? Does the Bible mention Him working for another person or having to deal with a bad boss or ungodly workers? Does he know what it is like to be passed up on the promotion or the raise? Does Jesus really understand what I am going through or what you are going through? Did he experience it? Really? Sure he was tempted in every way but does he really understand?

Maybe you have had these questions. Or maybe your friends have had these questions? Maybe as Christians you try to avoid these questions becuase you are afraid of the answer. Or maybe we should ask and maybe should question.

As ministers and as a christian how would you answer these questions concerning Does Jesus really understand? As you know we get lots of questions about Jesus and life. How would you respond?
What do you think?
Share your thoughts.


Blogger Falantedios said...

What throws me for a loop when I read that passage from Hebrews is that the Hebrew writer might not necessarily be talking about the fact that Jesus never sinned. He might be clarifying the nature of Jesus' temptation. What if he is saying, "Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are, except that he never had the temptations that come FROM sinning?" We who HAVE sinned know that much of our temptation comes from the fact that we've DONE THIS BEFORE. Jesus never had to break a sinful habit.

Does this challenge whether or not Jesus understands our situations? I don't think so. I think it challenges and offers a corrective to our overly individualized idea that "No one can understand me unless they've experienced exactly what I've experienced." That's just madness. If that is true, then communication is impossible, let's all just lock ourselves in our homes and eat worms.

Jesus did not have to incarnate to understand our humanity. What are we saying about the wisdom of God when we suggest that that is true? The Psalmist wrote long before the 1st century that God knows our frailty. Let us remember what the Hebrew writer actually says Jesus does: sympathize with our weaknesses.

The few times I've been challenged with this sort of question, I try to seek greater understanding of the dilemma in the mind of my questioner. Why are they asking? Are they afraid that Jesus doesn't understand? Are they angry at God? Are they using this question (intentionally or not) as a smoke-screen for sin? Or do they just misunderstand the importance of Jesus' relationship with God, his relationship with his disciples, his relationship with the church today?

I don't have any easy answers, but neither does God. Nothing God has made gets simpler with greater scrutiny. Only man-made things get simpler under the microscope.

in HIS love,

P.S. - Check out my new blog, 'Merton on Non-Violence'

10:51 AM  
Blogger Ancient Wanderer said...

"but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." James 1.14-15

James (seems) to teach that ultimately sin is at the end of a process. Being tempted is not sinning. Having felt the desire is not sinning. Acting on that desire... is sin or has sin on the way. Was Jesus TEMPTED in EVERYWAY sure He was. He just acted on His temptations in a godly way every time.

As for Jesus never being married- "'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'. This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church." Ephesians 5.31-32 He knows more about being "espoused" than any of us ever will.

A fasinating study on this is Matthew 4.1-11. Sometimes this "Temptation of Christ" gets lost in the mix; but, there are some really good points here. For example: "'All this I will give you,' he said,'if you will bow down and worship me.'" verse 9 This is not a simple offer. Satan was telling Jesus "bow your knee to me" and I will leave this earth alone. No suffering. No Cross. No death. Satan is offering to leave those created in the image of God ALONE FOREVER only if ..... that is tempting.

ps: I'll take my kids AND yours over that whining Cephas any day :)

1:42 PM  
Blogger Velcro said...

It's painful to think about a perfect Christ being tempted in every way. I think we don't talk about this, because it seems to take away from His deity. Yet it's freeing to know that Christ was tempted and He overcame.

Good post Preacherman.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I want to thank you preacherman for asking the tough questions and making us think. I have had some of these questions especially when my son was so ill and I had to watch him suffer. I believe when Christians ask these questions it stregthens their faith, at least it did for me.
Thanks again.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I have these questions recently. I am glad to know that others have the same questions. I lost my job and felt like Jesus really didn't undertand.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

As I read the questions, I was reminded of the fact that we are the bride of Christ and we are the children of God. He knows covenant and knows about us whining and complaining. He knows that when we choose not to talk to Him or when we get upset and angry with Him. He knows all of these things because He knows us. No, Jesus wasn't ever married or had kids or had a job (he was a carpenter and had parents), but He was around those who went through those things. Don't you think that He listened to people talk about what they were going through? I know that I am forever telling Jesus what I am going through at work, with my family, with friends, etc. He is the perfect councilor. He knows because the Father knows. I can just imagine the people that talked to Him about their situations and Him listening to them. Why do you think that people go to pastors and other Christians who are strong in their faith? They see Jesus in them. They desire that compassion. At the same time, He was hearing the Father's heart concerning their situations. Jesus was moved with compassion on those who needed Him. His love extends past anything that we go through and covers us. I have been through too much stuff not to know that through it all, when I would keep my eyes focused on Him, things always seemed to work out. (even if the outcome was not what I thought it should be) He knows loss because He has seen His children walk away from Him.
Great post!!!

8:58 PM  
Blogger Darin L. Hamm said...

For me I would say it depends. I try very hard to avoid giving answers. We learn more when we answer our own questions.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is frustrating sometime knowing that Jesus didn't experience everything that we do...And tells us how to live,ie: divorce. But as a divorced Christian man I put my trust in Him, having the faith that he does know what is best for me.
Thanks for this great post.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Nice post,
I guess you can flip that question and say "Do we really understand?"

Do we understand what it was like to leave a heanvenly court and God?

What was it like to be divine and put on flesh?

What was it like to die when you knew you didn't have to?

There is a line in a song I have been thinking a lot about lately. It is from a group based in Gainesville, FL that I got to know while doing graduate work there. They are called "Six Days from Sunday" ( Anyway, the line says "There must have been more than nails, that held you to the cross. Cause I know you would come down, if you wanted to."

What was it like to die on a cross all the while knowing you could step right off of it and prove all of the mockers wrong?

What was it like to die for people who were cursing you?

What was it like to have one of your followers doubt even though you spent three years with him making it very clear what was going to happen?

What was it like to be able to look at a person and see their heart struggle with sin?

What was it like, Jesus, to see people as you made them to be and then see them squander it all on worthlessness?

I think Jesus understands far more than we can imagine.

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I think that even though he didn't "experience" everthing, He was still God so the divine nature of Christ still understands and for that I am so very thankful.

7:51 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Thank you for your comments. I agree that he didn't have to experience to truely undestand. It like a murder saying well Jesus doesn't understand becuse he never killed anybody. Crazy. Great comments.

Thanks for you comments as well. I love the idea that Christ is married to us. Wow. Thanks for bringing that point out.

The prophet,
Thanks for your comments as always. Your thoughts are so right on.

Thanks for expressing your thoughts, they are always welcomed. Faith is what gets us through those questions that we have in life. Oh, for a faith that will not shrink or cause me to sink.

I think we have question like this in life from time to time. It is okay for us to question.

Thank you for your comments.
I alway look forward to what you say. I am so glad that he is that perfect councelor and that he knows because his Father knows. Jesus divine nature, I believe since Jesus is God, and God knows all then of course Jesus is going to know all as well.

How true that we should say, "Do we really understand?" God tells us that His ways are not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts. Job I believe understood that in the end. I can't understand Jesus giving heaven, coming down, dying the most painful death for us...I can't grasp that kind of love that God has for us.
Thank you Matt for your comments. I enjoy your adding to the discussion.

Great advice. I know as a young minister I need to heed it.
Thanks and great comments as well.

I agree.
His divine nature understand what we are going through, when we rise and we go to sleep. I am glad that God does understand.

Great discussion everyone!

How would you answers these questions to a Skeptic or seeker?

3:24 PM  
Blogger L.E.Meredith said...

Preacherman I waited intentionally to see how others would respond. I believe some turned the subject fron does Jesus understand into did Jesus ever sin. even at that Jesus does understand sin he knew the one who created the law therefore creating sin. no law no sin. but yes Jesus does understand every problem you described, every problem you described is an emotional one and as can be found in the bible Jesus did experince every emotion just as we do. no he did not have the same problems we have today but human emotions are limited, we have no feelings today that were not available then. I truly believe Jesus like God is all knowing and all loving.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Falantedios said...

I really want to say a HUGE 'thank you' to Matt. Thank you for flipping the question on me. I'm frustratingly well-known among my friends for flipping questions, but I'd never considered flipping this one, although it is EXACTLY what God does to Job in the end of the book. Job spends his time telling God and his friends that they don't understand. When God comes, he doesn't respond to Job's challenges. He flips the question: do YOU understand?

Your questions will haunt me, and they will challenge me to be a better servant.

in HIS love,

1:02 AM  
Blogger "George" said...

I've always believed that Jesus understands, but it's only this weekend that I've learned that He'll understand even more when I talk to Him about it and be real with Him.

8:30 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Great thoughts as always.

I am also glad that Matt flipped the question. What a great point. I always appreciate you adding to the discussion.

Thank you for dropping by and adding your thoughts. I also have come to understand that God does wantus to share everything with Him in prayer. It is so important to be real and honest with God about our fears, frustrations, problems, and tempations. I am so glad that he is a God who cares for us.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Catrina said...

The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:24 "He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed."

It's also stated in Isaiah 53:4, "Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down."

I believe while Jesus was hanging on the cross, He experienced all of our sorrows, pain, sickness and everything we will ever endure; and in this, He has healed us from these adversities. It's up to us to tap into our faith in order to free ourselves from suffering.
The Word says that God is "all knowing". So of course He understands our plight, even when nobody else does. What an awesome friend we have in Him.

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