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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

June 30, 2017

Rest for our soul

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

The Bible tells us that Jesus can help us because He experienced the things that we experience: "In all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted" (Hebrews 2:17-18).

When God said "Let us make in our image" (Genesis 1:26), that included emotions, because emotions are part of God's nature. Really? What emotions does God experience other than joy? Well, God "was grieved in His heart" when He saw the wickedness of mankind prior to the flood (Genesis 6:6).

And as God in the flesh (Matthew 1:23) Jesus knew the emotions that we experience. He wept when Lazarus died (John 11:35). He overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple (John 2:15-17), an expression of righteous anger. (It wasn't a temper tantrum, either, but controlled anger.)

The prophet Isaiah described Jesus as someone who carried an emotional burden: "He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). Jesus had empathy with the people who heard Him preach the gospel: "Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd" (Matthew 9:35-36).

Jesus knew what it feels like to be betrayed and deserted. He experienced it Himself! And He also knew what it is like when you are staring death in the face. "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death," He told His disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, right before His arrest.

Jesus exhorts us to come to Him with our burdens: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29).

Jesus can understand our situation, because He isn't some adviser sitting in an ivory tower and making pompous pronouncements. He knows what we experience, because He went through the human experience Himself. Therefore "let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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