For because He himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)
Do you ever struggle with temptation? Jesus understands.
Do you sometimes wrestle with desires to meet God-given cravings in ungodly ways? Jesus understands.
The particulars of a temptation are not its most powerful element. Underneath every specific draw to sin is a root cause, a deeper desire that drives it. Comfort, pleasure, pride, accumulation of power or avoidance of pain; with all of these Jesus is quite familiar.
Yet, not only did Jesus have the strength to resist temptation, He also has an abundance of that same strength to share with you!
When you are tempted, turn to Jesus, be at peace, and find hope in this powerful truth: Jesus understands your struggle.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1a)
For centuries, these opening words of Psalm 22 were spoken or sung by the people of Israel in times of suffering. This Psalm was used as a prayer of lament and petition, asking God to deliver and praising Him for the deliverance that was sure to come.
That’s how Jesus, used it, too.
Imagine these words echoing through His mind as He was laid on the wood of the cross and the metal spikes were prepared for Him: “For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet.” (v. 16)
Imagine Him looking down in anguish at the mocking crowd before Him, seeing Roman soldiers playing games as these words must have come to mind, fulfilled before His eyes: “They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” (v. 18)
Imagine His heartache and suffering, the feeling of being utterly alone as God the Father was forced to turn away from His Son because Jesus had taken on Himself the sins of the world. That’s when Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34)
Jesus knew all along that He would be forsaken in that moment, but He did it anyway. The writer of Hebrews reminds us why as he, too, quotes from Psalm 22.
For it was fitting that He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why He is not ashamed to call them brothers,saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” (Hebrews 2:10-12)
Brothers. Family. Bringing many to glory.
Jesus knew He would be forsaken, but He did it anyway because He knew that only through His perfect sacrifice could sinners be made righteous and welcomed home to the praise of the glory of God.
Sinners like me.
Sinners like you.
In whatever situation you find yourself today, take time to ponder that. As you do, may you have hope and confidence in this simple truth: Jesus was forsaken so you could be accepted.
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