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 (Heb. 4:15).
Secular storyteller and popular professor, Brené Brown, says, “Empathy is the great antidote to shame.” When we experience human empathy, we begin to heal through another’s understanding of our difficulty.
Divine empathy, from One we instinctively think would only judge us, offers soul-deep empathy as grace to heal our deepest shame. That’s why the writer of Hebrews tells us Jesus can empathize with our weaknesses because he was tempted in every way we are – yet he did not sin.
Jesus experienced all the pressures upon his soul that this world can throw. Although none of these external threats to his holiness penetrated his spiritual armor, he now knows how threatened we are by them and what it takes to resist them.
Because Jesus understands what we go through, he’s able to empathize. He’s been there. So, when he hears our cries for help, he really understands prayers about loneliness, suffering, cruelty, and abandonment. Not only does he hear, he responds as he has learned first-hand to strengthen, support, heal, and forgive.
Jesus knows our worst nightmares because he walked through this dark world. So, he knows how to guide us, intercede for us, and to provide the light for our plight. We go to Jesus because we know that, when no one else really understands, our God does!
Jesus, thank you for becoming one of us, so that you know what it means to be tempted. Thank you for assuring me that when no one else understands, I can know that you do. Because you empathize, I can endure.