When I have a problem, it is easier for me to talk to someone who has been in my shoes. Those who can identify with me seem to have more compassion and I seem to listen more attentively to their advice. Did you know that Jesus identifies with you in your problems and pain? Isaiah 53:3 tells us Jesus was, “Despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.” Sometimes we forget (or may not know) that Jesus understands what we go through in life.
Jesus was despised, rejected, and experienced sorrow and grief. Jesus knows what loneliness feels like. He spent the night before His crucifixion in the Garden of Gethsemane. Can you imagine the stress involved in knowing you would die a horrible death the next day? Scripture tells us His sweat had drops of blood in it (Luke 22:43-44). Even the disciples who were supposed to pray with Him that night fell asleep. Didn’t they care He was about to die? One of His own disciples, Judas, had even betrayed Him for a few dollars. All of His disciples left His side while He hung on the cross. Talk about a time of despair and hopelessness.
Next to crucifixion, the time Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane was the hardest time of His life. But Jesus overcame all of this despair and hopelessness. Remember this statement: before Calvary existed, Gethsemane existed. Jesus endured horrendous pain and suffering on the road to tremendous victory and resurrection.
We all go through times of despair, rejection, ridicule, sorrow and grief. But before we arrived at Anguish Avenue and Despair Drive Jesus had already been there. Sometime you may feel like you’ve been abandoned by everyone. It may even feel like your friends and family have all left in your time of need. Remember Jesus went through Gethsemane to reach Calvary. His disciples left Him. Even God the Father turned His face from Jesus while He took on all the sins of the world. Jesus not only understands but He’s been there too.
One of my favorite scriptures is Hebrews 4:15. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet he did not sin.” He has been where we are before we ever arrived there. We can go to Him (v. 16) boldly and obtain mercy and grace in our greatest time of need.
Calvary is the hill outside Jerusalem on which Jesus was crucified. While it may seem like a place of torture and sorrow it ultimately was a place of victory and salvation. Jesus did not die on Calvary so God would love us. He died because God loved us. Are you going through a Garden of Gethsemane? God loves you! There is a Calvary insight for you. Stop trying to fix your problems on your own. Men try to fix problems with duct tape. Jesus did it with nails. Give your life to Jesus – you won’t be disappointed. Jesus understands what you are going though because He’s been there too.
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Stephen Harrison is associate pastor of Family Church at White Hall.
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