I was 21. I had just turned my heart to God. I had some problems, was sleeping in my mom’s small apartment’s living room and had to move out. And so I did. I rented a tiny apartment, which is a miracle since I had no job. My friends all thought I was crazy to become a Christian, and I literally had no one and not much to call my own. I was broken. And I was afraid. But God was there.
I’m only sharing this very personal story so that if you are going through something where you feel the same way, you may know that you are not alone. But even better than knowing a fellow human being felt the same is to know that God also felt the same. When he came to earth in flesh and walked among us, he felt every bit of our sorrow and pain.
After doing wonders and miracles, caring for the poor, the sick, and the broken, it was time for Jesus to go through death, bearing our sins and shame, and to come back to life, victorious over death, and offering us a way to get right with God, a way to salvation. Let’s follow him in the garden to see how much of our pain he truly understands:
Jesus’ soul was crushed
When in the garden, Jesus asked his closest disciples, Peter, John and James, to go with him and pray. Just before getting on his knees to plead with his Father, Jesus opened his heart to his disciples, revealing how deeply distressed he really felt. He said to them: “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.”
Jesus felt abandoned
After praying, Jesus came to see his disciples on whom he counted to support him at the darkest hour of his life, but he found them asleep. How unsettling it must be to find those on whom you count the most on earth sleeping when you know you are about to die. “And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not watch with me one hour?’” He was hurt to see that in the time of his deepest needs; those closest to him were not truly there for him.
Jesus was betrayed
Jesus walked with twelve men for a period of about three years. He handpicked each of them, and deeply loved every single one of them. They were like his brothers, his coworkers, his friends, colleagues, all at once. They spent all of their time together. He loved them, believed in them, invested in them, and knew the deepest secrets of their hearts. Not only is it confusing when your friends don’t support you when life gets rough, but it’s even worse when one of them participates in bringing on you the worst of life. That is exactly what Judas did when he went on and betrayed Jesus in exchange for a bag of coins. “Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.‘”
Jesus was humiliated
Jesus did good to those whom he met, and he defended them. He took a serious stance against the religious leader who were abusing the people putting them under the load of religion and not under God. He over turned tables in the temple when he realized that this was placed there to abuse the weakest. He spoke to the one woman no Jew would ever want to be seen with. He touched the man that society was so disgusted with, the leper. He saved the life of a woman who was about to get stoned. And those are just a few examples. He loved deeply and did good to those he met. And what was his reward? He was humiliated and shamed. “Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him…” They did much worst, and then crucified him unjustly, in public, for all to see.
Jesus was killed
The crowd was so enraged with him that they decided they wanted him dead. Now it’s important to note that the crowd was with him all along during his ministry, the crowd was even shouting “Hosanna son of David!” the week before, yet, as Jesus entered Jerusalem. This crowd who chose to have Jesus crucified. They went as far as preferring to let a notorious murderer go free rather than to let Jesus go free. Now that’s just another betrayal to add to the list.
That is not all that Jesus went through. If you want to know more, I invite you to read the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Why does it matter to us
Why? Because mankind is broken. Sometimes life has joyful events for us, most of the times it has at least hard work in store for us. Sometimes it has hardship and despair. If that is your case my brother, my sister, take heart. We need to hang on, and we need to trust God. We need not be afraid and tell him exactly how we feel because he knows already. And he knows what it feels like.
He understands. He says: “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Praying and talking to God does not mean he will do what we ask right here and right now, but what he promises to give us at that very moment is this: “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.”
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