We’ve all said it, or at least thought it: “Jesus couldn’t possibly understand what I’m going through right now. After all, He never had to experience what I am dealing with!” Often, this thought is brought on by physical suffering, feelings of being alone, or thinking you are the only one who has had to wrestle with a particular temptation, trial, or conflict. In a way, this thought process has been made worse by a common reading of Scripture that skips right from the birth of Jesus to His death and resurrection, ignoring the fact that most of the Gospels deal with Jesus’s life—His very human life.
When the Son of God came to earth two thousand years ago, He was fully God, but He was also fully human. With this reality came all the experiences of what it means to be human—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The truth is, if there’s anybody who can understand what you’re going through, it’s Jesus. Let’s take a look at some examples:
Jesus Knew What It Was Like to Experience Poverty
Living from paycheck to paycheck can be a very real struggle for anyone. Surely God can’t understand what it is like to go to sleep hungry and cold, can He? Well, Jesus, the Son of God, knew exactly what it was like to be poor. After all, He was homeless, so He can identify with those who have to do without. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Luke 9:58).
Jesus Knew What It Was Like to Experience Exhaustion
It’s okay to admit it: some days, maybe even most days, we’re T-I-R-E-D tired. Jesus knew all too well what it was like to experience weariness. Jesus walked everywhere He went. On top of that, He had to deal with His disciples arguing about who was the greatest while often completely missing whatever lesson He was trying to teach them in that moment. Not to mention having religious leaders plotting His death while He did nothing but good, such as healing people, raising folks from the dead, and feeding the hungry. He knows what it is like to be physically and emotionally exhausted.
Jesus Knew What It Was Like to Be Betrayed
Unfortunately, Jesus was well acquainted with the pain of betrayal. Not only was He betrayed by religious leaders who were jealous of the crowds that were following Him, but He was also betrayed by those very close to Him. For example, His own family! “When his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of his mind’” (Mark 3:21). One of His closest friends, Peter, also betrayed Jesus by denying that he even knew Him. And ultimately one of the Twelve sold Him out for thirty pieces of silver.
Jesus Knew What It Was Like to Suffer from Grief
Jesus knew what it was like to experience heartache, sadness, and sorrow. A couple of instances in the Gospels show Jesus weeping, first over the condition of Jerusalem: “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it” (Luke 19:41), and second due to His grief at the death of a beloved friend: “Jesus wept” ( John 11:35). He was also sorrowed by humanity’s rejection of God: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…” (Isaiah 53:3).
Jesus Knew What It Was Like to Be Tempted
Maybe you can accept that Jesus knew grief and exhaustion, but when it comes to fighting temptation, surely Jesus cannot relate. But the writer of Hebrews reminds us that nothing could be further from the truth. Although Jesus never committed a sin, He was still tempted. Therefore, “because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (2:18).
Jesus Knew What It Was Like to Experience Suffering
When we search for meaning in our suffering, it can be hard to find on this side of eternity because we cannot know all the purposes of a sovereign God. But we have a savior who knew exactly what it was like to suffer. He confided His emotional pain to His disciples, saying, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (Matthew 26:38). And He obviously endured the physical pain of His extremely gruesome death on the cross.
Jesus Knew What It Was Like to Feel Forsaken by God
Even when we feel as though God has forsaken us, Jesus can identify. God the Father had to turn His face away from His Son while He became sin on the cross in our place. “‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46). However, we need to remember that although it was a reality for Jesus at that time, being forsaken by God is only a feeling for His children. The truth is, He has told us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Plain and simple, Jesus knows what it’s like to live as a human. He got hungry. He got thirsty. He slept. He had to learn things. He grew. He loved. He was glad. He was angry. He was troubled at times. He prayed. He exercised faith. He read the Scriptures. He hurt when He saw another person’s illness. He cried when He saw death. As the old hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” says, “Jesus knows our every weakness.”
What a massive comfort to know that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Yes, Jesus knows.
Excerpted from 9 COMMON LIES CHRISTIANS BELIEVE AND WHY GOD’S TRUTH IS INFINITELY BETTER. Copyright © 2019 by Shane Pruitt. Published by Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Available everywhere books are sold.
Shane Pruitt is director of Evangelism for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. He is also an author, communicator and blogger. Find is most recent videos and articles at www.shanepruitt.com.