“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. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grade to help in times of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16
“Jesus Christ has made Himself the vital center of the Christian life. Jesus is not only the heart of Christianity, He is the center of humanity and reveals to us what it means to be human.” - Brennan Manning, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus
Isn’t it incredible to think that the God of the universe knows what it’s like to be fully human? A few months ago we celebrated Christmas, and while good food and gifts are fun, I’m caught this morning realizing how little I understand the truth of the Christmas story.
The God who made the heavens and the earth put on flesh and came to live on earth for thirty-three years. He didn’t skip a step: he relied on his mother for nourishment as an infant; he learned to crawl, stumble, walk; he worked with his dad, learned with his peers, surely experienced the highs and lows of being a kid; he even went through puberty! As he became an adult and started his ministry, he encountered all sorts of people, experienced great connection and rejection, and felt every single emotion we feel. He was just a “normal guy” for thirty years.
Can you imagine? Knowing you are God, having the ability to fix any experience in your favor, and choosing not to? Choosing to suffer? To question? To be forced to work out conflict in the normal, very human way? It makes me appreciate Jesus even more just thinking about it.
We know that life is a mix of beautiful and hard things, but what gives me courage is that Jesus understands. He really, truly understands us because he was us.
Hebrews tells us that he became like us so he could understand, empathize, and help us through very situation of our lives (2:17-18). I love how Brennan Manning puts it in the quote above that “[Jesus] is the center of humanity and reveals to us what it means to be human.”
Jesus understands us and leads us in the better way to know the Father, understand ourselves, and love others. It’s a privilege knowing how and why he came to earth, and as we move past Christmas into the new year and the next season of the Christian calendar (Epiphany), I pray that we keep this truth in mind: God is with us and is teaching us to be more like himself in everything we go and grow through.