Deep and Wide
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, . . .” Hebrews 4:15
Human sympathy is shallow. People sympathize with those they like, and most don’t like very many. Others are quick to sympathize with those that take their side in regard to the wrongs and the trials of the day. But the sympathy of Jesus isn’t reserved for favorites, His is a sympathy which goes forth in two distinct directions.
His sympathy is “deep.” While Christ’s is deep and enduring, He had to go to the school of sorrow to be perfected in sympathy, just as we do. Until He had taken on our nature and suffered, there was no power in heaven that would enable Him to put Himself in our place. He loved us beyond what words could express. He left the Father’s throne so He could feel what we feel.
Never did He know the flood of sympathy until He entered this world, until He wept with other mourners beside the grave of Lazarus. He can sympathize with the poor, because He has been poor; with the heavy laden, because He has been tired and worn; with the lonely, misrepresented and persecuted, because He has been in their position. And because He was tried by fear, sadness, struggles, by hard conflict with evil and by great spiritual depression, He is able to feel the depths of the human heart.
His sympathy is “wide.” The sympathy of Jesus is as wide as the human race. He not only loves those who are lovable, or who love Him, he loves the unlovable and the hard to love. He is touched by whatever touches the human heart, whether high or low, good or bad, friend or enemy. He showed sympathy with the woman caught in sin, He felt her shame. Instead of hurling a stern rebuke, He bends His head in silence then softly speaks, “go and sin no more.”
You may say “my situation is different, no one really understands me,” but if you are a believer, you are perfectly understood. Christ is the only one who never expects you to be anyone else but yourself. He never plays the lawyer, philosopher, guilt-tripper or enabler, He sympathizes and understands. He loves you.
Reread Hebrews 4:14-16. This time, as you read, personalize it. Wherever the verses read “we” or “us,” replace it with “I.” Listen to the verses as you read them in first person and experience your life moving into the understanding and mercy of the Lord Jesus.