Daily Archives: December 3, 2009

Sympathy

Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. [15] For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. [16] Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Sympathy. The need for it is not always a matter of self pity and self centeredness and lack of faith. There are far too many Christians, many of them Christian leaders, who teach that Christianity is absent of the need for understanding from others. Loneliness, it is said, is a sin. Adam, sinless and walking with God, looked for a companion like himself and in this sinless state God made the pronouncement that something was not good. What wasn’t good was that the man was alone.

Not good. Not because he couldn’t reproduce. But because he needed someone like himself with whom he could communicate, explore the world God had put them in, enjoy God together. It was not good that Adam was alone.

Sympathy, understanding, empathy. These are qualities that we all need to have communicated to us by others; other humans who have experienced the pain and loneliness that are a part of life. Some will think that this is saying that God is insufficient. But it is God who made us for human companionship. He is the One who said “this aloneness is not good”.

It is such a reality to us that if we only had a God who had never been human we could not go to Him and know that He felt everything that we feel. God was here. He was here in the flesh as a real human being with pain, and suffering and disappointments and frustrations. He was tempted. He was pulled by nothing inside Him to commit sin. He was tempted sexually. He was tempted to cheat the contractor He worked for. He was tempted to over drink. He was tempted just like we are in every respect – mentally, emotionally, physically, spirituality – without ever sinning. He was here. He knows what it is like. He is here now for those who need Him.

Your need for understanding and sympathy and empathy and help is not wrong (although it can be developed into something that is wrong). It is human. When you pray in the face of temptation and think that this time you are not going to be able to withstand the pressure. When you get discouraged that once again the claws of the evil one have dug in to draw you away from God. When the fatigue of having to fight one more spiritual battle seems to be winning the day – remember – you have a great high priest, THE Great High Priest, who was tempted in every way – just like you. The temptations were relentless, continuous, constant and powerful. He knows what you are going through. And He never gave in to it. He is there for you. He has died for you. He has gone into heaven and pleads His merits on your behalf. You have One who intercedes for you. You can go to Him with confidence – not because you are so bold or deserving, but because He is so loving and powerful and faithful to His commitment to you. You can go to Him and find help.