Over and over again Scripture reminds us that Jesus is God. (And He certainly is, don’t get me wrong; there’s a point to where I’m going with this.) If we dwell on that at the expense of His humanity, however, we will miss so much. For Jesus was both God and man, one and both at the same time. How exactly that works is a subject for theological debate, and therefore beyond the scope of what I want to do here. What’s more important here is that Jesus, as the One who took on flesh, can understand and relate to the struggles we face in our own lives. That being the case, rather than get into deep theological debate, I want to present an example of this reality that I stumbled across while reading through Luke earlier this week.
In Luke 12, Jesus is in the middle of an “us and them” sort of speech, prompted by yet another run in with the Pharisees. The parables and illustrations in the speech all fit the context until we get to verses 49 and 50. Here we read, “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!” What’s odd here is not the first part of verse 49; the whole context in the larger section here is, as we’ve noted, one of division. What’s odd is the second portion, “…and would that it were already kindled!” It almost seems here as if Jesus is impatient. The sense in the end of the verse is one of “Let’s get this over with!” And we get the same sense in the following verse. “Baptism” in verse 50 refers to His coming death on the cross. Jesus is God, yes, but He’s also a man, and this brief picture implies, He knew what was coming, and although it was the reason He came and the act that would secure salvation for millions, He still dreaded it. If you’ve ever seen the movie The Passion of the Christ, you’ll have a good idea of what that experience was like for Him, and He knew it was coming and He dreaded it.
Jesus knows what it’s like to fear, to worry, and to dread. He’s been there, too. He’s walked that road before, and He’s walking it again with each of us now as we go through the difficult times in our lives. He can relate. The writer of Hebrews takes this a step further when he says in Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Whatever it is you’re dealing with, whatever struggle, whatever fear, whatever temptation, Jesus has dealt with it, too. And He knows, He understands better than anyone ever could how you feel. He’s the One who created you, the one who loves you more deeply than any other ever could, and He gets it. He gets you. There’s a reason they call it “Good News.”