There are two points in these scriptures that I would like to address in today’s message.
(1) That Jesus shares our feelings when it comes to our weaknesses, infirmities, and temptations.
(2) The way we should approach God.
I don’t know about you, but reading that Jesus and I share feelings is of great comfort to me. It’s comforting to know that even though He never sinned or gave into temptation that He understands how I feel when I do, and much more comforting is my guess is He also understands WHY I give into temptation.
I love the Amplified version of this passage because I like the way it’s broken down into terms I understand. I understand words like that Jesus is able to sympathize with me. He understands me. He shares feelings with me…you know what that does…it puts flesh on Jesus. It proves that when He walked this earth…He had the same temptations, and feelings that I do. He experienced temptation, He experienced my emotions, and while He never gave in…He can sympathize with me & understand why I do. This means that Jesus relates to me on a human level, and that we have both a human and a spiritual connection…and even though Jesus was without sin…He can relate to my feelings…and my question for all of those who claim that Jesus wasn’t really a man when He walked the earth…how can Jesus relate to my feelings if He never had them? How can He relate to my temptations if He never had them? How can He sympathize with me if He never was like me? This is as good of proof as any that when Jesus walked this earth He was fully God & fully man.
For help with making my second point. I would like us to take a look at how Jesus approached God for a moment…so look with me at John 11:41-42. This is when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. These are His words…and they are important because they line up with Hebrews 4:16…and how we can and should approach God.
Jesus says; ” Father, I thank You that You have heard Me, and I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that the may believe that You sent Me.”
I believe that Jesus is also saying that; “because of the people standing by I said this, that they may know how they are to approach You in their times of need.”
You want a small picture of how we approach God? I was in a men’s study group where the question was asked about how we should approach God. This was a few of the answers; with respect, with reverence, with fear and trembling, with faith, and then I finally was able to answer “with boldness & confidence”.
Look. I’m not disputing that we ought to have reverence for God…we should. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t work out our salvation with “fear & trembling“, and that we shouldn’t view God with awe. We should. He is God, and the Creator of everything we see.
BUT…when it comes to how we approach God. We should also approach Him with faith, and we should approach Him like we’re told to here in Hebrews 4:16…fearlessly, confidently, and boldly…
Remember that everything we receive is by grace through faith, and that God is our Father. He loves us. Yes, for the most part we should approach Him with reverence, but listen again to Jesus’ words standing in front of Lazarus’ tomb. “Father, I thank You that You have heard me, and I know that You always hear Me”.
“I thank You that You have heard Me”…Jesus knew before He even approached God that He was going to be heard. Why? Because “You always hear Me.” Why? Not just because Jesus was the Son of God, but Jesus always approached the Father with an expectancy…boldness…confidence that He knew God was listening…and that He would do what Jesus asked of Him to do.
I believe it was Jesus’ boldness and confidence that led the disciples to ask Him how to pray because when Jesus prayed He always got results. Why? Because Jesus approached the Father with boldness, confidence, and without fear…and also faith.
When we need God’s grace that is not the time to approach Him with fear, doubt, and unbelief…that’s when we need to press in…and boldly come before Him.