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I must confess that I have often doubted that Jesus could somehow relate to us.
I mean–with my “descent into Hell” as I’ve described–how could he relate to THAT?
…Of course, he did descend into Hell, didn’t he? So he certainly knows what Hell is like!
But more to the point, Jesus did not sin, so how could he relate to the sinner?
All this has been on my mind for some time. A few days ago, I was reading the Bible and saw the passage where–on the night of his betrayal–Jesus took his disciples to the garden so that he could pray.
Can you imagine what he must have been feeling, knowing his imminent fate, with all of the immense suffering that would entail?
“Then saith he unto them, my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.”Matthew 26:38 (King James Version)
“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death…”
Consider that. Therefore, it’s tough to think that Jesus did not feel what it was like to be a human being.
The next passage lets us know that he had the same fear of imminent torture and death that we would have, and the same desire to avoid it if at all possible…
“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”Matthew 26:39 (KJV)
Yet, through all of this anguish, Jesus still realized that if necessary, “Thy will be done.” This applies to us too.
After praying, Jesus walked back to his disciples, found them asleep, and asked them why they couldn’t stay awake with him for one hour. But it’s what he said after that that caught my attention as I was reading the passage…
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”Matthew 26:41 (KJV)
…Except I was reading a different translation–one that I like quite a bit, The New Jerusalem Bible, Standard Edition. (Note: I’m providing this link for your convenience–I make no money from it. I really like this translation–it is easy to read, yet purportedly accurate. It also contains the “apocrypha” books, which I find quite enlightening. They are included in Catholic versions of the Bible).
So reading the above passage in the NJB version, it says…
“…the spirit is willing enough, but human nature is weak.”
It’s really the same thing, isn’t it? (“the flesh” and “human nature”)
But there’s something about the term “human nature” that hit me–Jesus came to the earth, born of a woman, in human form. He experienced life as we do! He was subject to the same temptations as we are, though it was his mission and destiny to overcome these temptations for our sake.
Jesus was and is the son of God, yet when he was on this earth, he referred to himself as the son of man!
He was–and is–relatable.
When we watch a good movie, it usually features a hero who we can relate to, and yet who overcomes. This is what Jesus did for us.
I don’t pretend to know the depths of his mission and purpose. But I do know that he is the only mediator between ourselves and God. It is hard to relate to God, in a way, because He did not go through what we go through. He did not suffer like we suffer. Jesus did.
Jesus understands us and can advocate on our behalf, perhaps like a good attorney! (But one with a heart 🙂 )
The biggest mistake of my life (as I’ve chronicled on this blog) was allowing another man–not Jesus–to be my advocate between myself and my Father. This is the same mistake almost everybody makes.
No one can–or should attempt to–take Jesus’ place as our advocate. Great suffering will ensue.
“Why have You forsaken me?”
In the final moments of Jesus’ life here on earth, after agonizing on the cross for hours in undoubtedly excruciating pain, he cried out to his Father…
“…Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”Matthew 27:46 (KJV)
In other words, Jesus felt ALONE–just like we all have. I believe that this was necessary so that he would understand EXACTLY what it is like to be us. I now believe that–while he lived on this earth–Jesus fully understood what it was like to be one of us.
What did Jesus instruct his disciples to DO once he left this earth?
This is known as the “Great Commission”… (Matthew 28:19-20)
#1: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations (i.e.: Love and help others).
#2: Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. I don’t fully understand baptism–except that I know it has at much more to do with cleansing our spirit as it does cleaning our bodies.
#3. Teaching them to observe ALL things (no “cherry picking” of scriptures) whatsoever I have commanded you.
#4. And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
This last part (#4) should bring us the most comfort of all. Jesus–our advocate–has promised to be with us until the end of the world. Just as his Father seemed to have pulled away from his son while he was on the cross–yet He never truly left him.
Jesus will never pull away from those who believe in him (believe in the Father who sent the son), even if we do not always feel his presence.
Patrick Rooney is the Founder of OldSchoolUs.com. He communicates clearly and fearlessly during perilous times about natural health, success, and freedom. To reach Patrick, email him at [email protected].
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