Day 26: Sympathizes with Our Weakness
“For we do not have a great high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness…”
(Hebrews 4:15 a).
Yet another facet of Jesus’ humanity is found here where we learn that He sympathizes with our weakness. This aspect seems even more intimate than the previous fellowship. It is one thing to share an experience with someone, but it is another thing to have that shared experience elicit a caring response. Haven’t we had experiences of sharing some difficulty with someone who sort of waves it off dismissively with, “Oh, I’ve had that. No big deal.” or “I’ve had worse.” What we want to hear is someone who says, “Oh, you poor dear! I’ve gone through that and I know how difficult it is. Let me help or encourage you!”
Some of the translations say touched with instead of sympathize. Draper says, “The expression being ‘touched with’ means ‘to suffer with’…If we are touched with it, we feel it.” Our God feels what we feel. This is not true of so many gods people worship. The Deists believed god was a big clockmaker who wound it up and left it running. The Stoics thought god was apathetic. The Muslims’ deity is capricious, impersonal, and easily annoyed. Even the Jews (whose God declared countless times how much He loved them) emphasized His holiness to the exclusion of that love, and made Him so distant they could not draw near. To them He became a far cry from the God David wrote about in the Psalms.
MacArthur tells us, “Omniscience knows everything; perfect sympathy feels everything. Christ did not need to learn any information when He came to earth. He was omniscient, all-knowing. But He chose to participate in men’s feelings personally so He could be sympathetic, all-feeling.” What is particularly stirring about this is that Jesus didn’t just sympathize with the plights we suffer which are outside our control. He sympathizes with our weaknesses. We tend to despise our weakness, and often expect Him to, as well. Instead, we find He sympathizes with us in those places we’d like to hide. He knows we are dust, and He cares for us at times we may be despising our own weakness. What we would rebuke and turn from, He deals gently with (see 5:2).
But, notice, He does deal with it. He may sympathize with our weakness, but He doesn’t leave us there. He gently gives us what we need in that moment: strength, or correction, or encouragement. What a Savior!
• Is there a particular weakness you despise in yourself? How do you imagine God sees it? How does that opinion fit with this Scripture?
• How does Jesus’ sympathy affect His role as High Priest? What does it model for you in your priestly roles?
Lord, too often my own thoughts are more like the accuser of the brethren when I consider my own weaknesses. Thank You for sympathizing and dealing gently with me in my weaknesses! It fills my heart with adoration for You, and Your mercy and goodness toward me.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries
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