For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin (Hebrews 4:15, NIV).
This past weekend I was privileged to officiate the wedding of a good friend. What a joyous time that was! I came back into town to find that a good friend of mine passed away suddenly. He fell down the stairs in his home and broke his neck. Not surprisingly I have found myself doing lots of pastoral care as we had many friends and acquaintances in common and I will be officiating at his funeral…another privilege for sure, but a much more somber one.
A fellow pastor once told me that he was amazed at how high the peaks were and how low the valleys were and how close they could be together. I know how he felt.
Jesus did too. Jesus went from the valley of fasting for 40 days and being tempted by the devil to the peak of being waited on by angels; He went from the valley of hearing the news of the death or John the Baptist to the peak of the feeding of the five thousand; He has the joy of telling Peter that his knowledge that Jesus was the Messiah was a special knowledge given to him by the Father, to chastising him for listening to and giving voice to the thoughts of the devil; He went from being caught up in the morning of His friends for the death of Lazarus, to the joy of raising him from the dead, to hearing that the Jewish leaders not only wanted to kill Him but Lazarus as well; and shortly thereafter Jesus went through the ultimate valley of His death on the cross and three days later ascend to the highest peak of victory and glory in the resurrection that first Easter morning.
I am grateful that as the emotional pendulum swings from one extreme to the other, Jesus not only knows how I feel, but knows how it feels Himself. It makes His grace, mercy, and compassion all the more personal and intimate…and real.