"He Shares Our Sorrows"
Life can be grueling, even at a time like this—or maybe we should say especially at a time like this. No amount of tinsel and glitter can hide the pain and anguish too many are experiencing at precisely this season of the year, from the lonely to the grief-stricken to the financially strapped. In some way, almost everyone comes to Christmas with a sorrow he or she is struggling to overcome.
It’s not something we relish talking about. Why share your struggle with someone who is already occupied with theirs? If we do so, we probably won’t gain any sympathy. We likely won’t garner any compassion.
But suppose I tell you there is Someone who understands and is willing to share your sorrow?
The letter to the Hebrews was written to a sorrowful people to assure them they were not forgotten. God had seen them in their sorrow. God had felt compassion for them in their pain. Most of all, God had entered into it in order to experience their dejection and to undergo their disappointment.
In other words, God chose not only to be with us in Jesus Christ, but to be “like us.” His identification with us in the incarnation wasn’t just for sympathy, either; it was for our redemption! From Jesus’ birth, God was in Christ as He “suffered death” so He might “taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9 NIV), that we might be infused with divine joy.
At times we do things out of obligation; at other times we do them out of desire. During the Christmas season, we see both expressions. There are times when we are forced to give presents and there are times when we are excited to do so.
When Hebrews tells us Jesus had to be made like us—His brothers and sisters—in every way (Hebrews 2:17), it is saying Christ’s love for us was so great that He was compelled to take on our sorrowful existence. Far from being an obligation on Jesus’ part, the incarnation was a joyful expression of God’s redemptive love offered graciously to us through the Bethlehem Baby.
If this is not a good time for you, you don’t have to be bound by your sorrow. “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, [Jesus] is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18 NIV). Jesus takes us by the hand and leads us through the valleys of our sorrows. You can be saved from it. If you will take His hand, entrust to Him your heart, and let Him lead you back from the gloom that has surrounded you, our Savior who shares our sorrows will surely lead you along a brighter path to a more joyful way.
Hebrews 2:5-18 (NIV):
5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:
“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
a son of man that you care for him?
7 You made them a little lower than the angels;
you crowned them with glory and honor
8 and put everything under their feet.”
In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.”
13 And again,
“I will put my trust in him.”
And again he says,
“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.