Let me speak solemnly of Him, because what I have most learned from Jesus is that his way – his first earthly life – was the way of sorrows and grief. But, unless you should become depressed, let me speak triumphantly of him, because his life has no end. Would it do good to your heart for me to describe all the many ways in which Jesus suffered hardship, so that he could become a perfectly empathetic High Priest for your soul? I’ll try… for your heart’s sake. No one has suffered like he suffered. [Heb. 2:10; 5:8]
He was born into abject conditions and became a refugee until toddler age. Upon return to his homeland (and before, I am sure), he was labeled a bastard. No doubt he watched as people slandered Mary as a fornicator. Later, he was considered unlearned and “less than” because of his class and station. At one point, his earthly family thought him crazy and made public scenes which proved their opinion. Not only his family but also the people of his same ethnicity rejected him, though his lineage proves his royal right to ascension. Furthermore, millions rejected him before his arrival to earth; millions more have rejected him since. He knows rejection.
We can safely imagine that in his formative years fellow children made fun of him. It is safe to imagine, because “He was tempted in all points that we are – yet without sin.” If it was not his contempories’ teasing, then it was their chilling silence. Christ most assuredly knew that several hundred (if not thousand) children his age had been “cut off” by King Herod’s infanticide decree. His loneliness would not end there, however, considering he never married. Yes, that is partly due to his mission as the Son of God, but do not forget he is also the Son of Man. Concerning family, he said, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers? Whoever shall do the will of my Father in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Misunderstood, doubted–sure. Those of his adult days accused him of working under the power of Satan instead of the Holy Spirit. Some do that today, even though now as then he heals either directly or indirectly and speaks only the truth he hears from the Father. They also thought him someone of loose morals, despite his consistent display of compassion for all and lack of prejudice; and, despite his kindness to the greatest of outcasts. He knew what it was to tell the truth about the world, mankind, and himself only to be called a liar and a false prophet and a blasphemer. Who else can say he has been directly tempted by Satan? Yet, despite the worst the Devil could offer by way of tailor-made slights of tongue and twists of logic and slander against the Father, Jesus proved loyal and unswerving for the sake of our redemption and the glory of God, the Father.
Then, there are the things he suffered willingly. He went without food many times–40 days and nights at one point. But, mainly he had no time to eat, because the crowds would not disperse or even leave him a moment’s silence in the house. By the way, he had no house; he stayed with friends. He often spent early morning hours in prayer. There was that time he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was so gripped by the terror and sorrow of separation from the Father that he sweated large drops of blood (scientifically possible in extreme cases). He subjected himself to the mandates of the same law that no one else on earth could keep. And, he was victorious… but others piously accused him of breaking it, because they sought for an occasion to destroy him.
At the last, he endured a kangaroo court with its false witnesses… but not before being betrayed by someone that should have been one of his very best friends. Those who were his best earthly friends fled for their own safety but with no thought of his. One even denied him in front of others 3 times and with swearing.
If anyone’s sense of justice would scream out, it should have been Jesus.’ But, he did not open his mouth; he kept his quiet like a lamb brought to the slaughter. He was beaten while being mocked and was sentenced contrary to Jewish Law. The Roman governor pronounced him guiltless and then proceeded to punish him just to please the people. Then, Pilate handed him over to be crucified at their whim…. really,… just because that is what they wanted. So, he was publicly hung up by nails nearly in the nude, if not completely. The attending soldiers gambled for his clothes–the very shirt from his back. And, all he spoke was of his thirst, that John should take care of his earthly mother; and he kept pleading over and over again that the Father would “forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”
When he rose again, many of his disciples still would not believe. But, he did not hate them or yell at them. He gave them what they needed for spiritual strength. Jesus Himself is full of grace, especially in overcoming doubts and fears and sorrow and sin and death. He told them that it was necessary for the Messiah, the Lamb of God, to suffer and take away the sins of the world, according to Bible prophesy (the revealed plan of God from eternity past).
And that is just it. Jesus not only suffered the events of his earthly life, though one should think that were enough. On the cross, God laid on Jesus the sinfulness of us all from the beginning of humanity to the time when humanity’s age as we know it shall end. And, he suffered its full weight and horror in mind and soul and body and spirit. Have you been misused? He felt it, not only for you but also taking the blame of the one who misused you. Has any suffered injustice, he knew it within himself–both sides. Has anyone endured harm, hardship, death? He endured the exact same, the EXACT same; because God laid on him the iniquity of us all. He gave his back to the strikers and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hairs. He was despised and rejected and afflicted by men. He was a man of sorrows and [well] acquainted with grief. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our lawless deeds. And, through his stripes we are healed (Is. 53).
He knows your pain both empathetically and experientially. It was necessary for him to suffer; so that in learning that obedience in suffering, he could be THE perfect High Priest to forgive all the suffering and wrong that you have caused others, even though it may have been the results of your pain. He knows. He listens. He cares. He loves. He forgives. He lives forever to make intercession and defense for all who entrust their sinful soul to him. You must humbly ask for his forgiveness, so that you may know His love.
There was one woman of Jesus’ day. She, in particular, knew the loving and merciful hand of the Man of Sorrows. She understood that he understands. She understood his life must include an unusual death; and so, she brought the most precious ointment she had. She used it on his feet after washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair. Jesus’ response rings out from the Millennia past. He said, “Because of her great love she has done this. He that is forgiven little; the same loves little” (Luke 7:47 and parallels).
If you do not know the love and comfort of the Man of Sorrows, it is because you think you have nothing or very little of which to be forgiven… or that Jesus is no one from which you should seek forgiveness. Change your mind about that. Trust the Lamb of God to take away your sin. And, bow at His feet.