An especially comforting passage of Scripture is found in Hebrews 4:15-16.
It reads, "We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
The Christian should take comfort in the fact that Jesus not only loves us and wants us to be with Him, but also went to the trouble of experiencing firsthand what it is like to be in our shoes. He lived as a human being on this earth, and experienced all the joys and sorrows, victories and hardships common to the human race. There was no safety net, no weekend furlough, nothing to prevent Him from doing anything you or I might do. Yet, through it all, facing every type of temptation we face, He did not sin.
Why did He come and live here? If He wanted to pay the price for our sins, could He not have appeared as a full-grown man one day and gotten it overwith? Why do all that? Why live an entire life before paying that price for us?
I will not pretend to know the answers to these questions, but there is something here that makes a difference to me.
I work as a middle school principal. I used to be a middle school assistant principal. And, prior to that, a middle school teacher.
Now that I supervise middle school teachers and assistant principals, it means a lot to me, and I hope to them, that I have personally spent time in their shoes, doing their jobs, living their lives. I know what it feels like to be where they are. While this enables me to judge their work more accurately than someone who has never been there, it also gives me a much deeper sense of sympathy for their struggles, a sympathy impossible for an outsider to feel. By the same token, the administrator I report to has also worked previously as a teacher and a principal, enabling him to better respond to me and my needs and concerns.
What it all boils down to is credibility. I am able to speak to my teachers and A.P.'s about their work with far more credibility than someone with no experience ever could. If they should refuse to listen to my words, it would be for their own reasons, not for a lack of credibility on my part.
How do you feel about your boss, or whoever you report to? Does your boss's understanding of your position make a difference in your motivation to work for him or her? While we all know to salute and do our work, we cannot deny that it does make a difference to us.
If this concept rings true in the area of our work, how much more should it mean to us spiritually?
Jesus does not ask of us anything He did not do Himself. In fact, He asks far less of us than He actually did.
We would be just as accountable to a God who had never been here. But, how much more joyfully we serve a God who has!