“For we do not have a high priest that cannot sympathize with our weaknesses …”
-Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)
So you tell someone about a hard time you’re going through—you spilled your guts— told them everything, the entire story, and they only smiled, patted you on the shoulder, and said, “There, there, it’ll all be okay.” That wouldn’t help at all would it?
We all go through tests and trials. Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” We have an advantage over the world in Jesus.
Jesus’ sympathy is notably different from the world’s sympathy. Let’s look in Hebrews 4:15-16, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Everyone goes through trials and struggles in life, and many people try to find sympathy from other people, but they only end up with a shallow form of sympathy: a pat on the back, if that. But with Jesus, it isn’t just patting you on the back with empty feelings. It’s real sympathy.
We read in Matthew 4 that Jesus was in the desert of Israel for 40 days being tempted and tested by the devil. In these forty days, Jesus was fasting, so He probably got hungry. Satan came up to him and challenged his flesh. He said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Bread probably would have been really great in that moment, but He wasn’t willing to compromise just because He was hungry.
So He told the Devil to his face, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’.”
The Devil wasn’t just going to give up easily either; he led Jesus to a cliff side and tested his faith in God. “If you are indeed the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone’.” Satan’s hope was that Jesus would doubt and throw himself down.
But again Jesus replied with His Father’s Word, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’.” Boom! Satan, again, can’t compete with that.
Satan persisted and saved his biggest weapon for last. This time he gave Jesus a vision showing him every kingdom around the world. He said, “All this I will give to you if you bow down and worship me.” Isn’t that what Jesus was called to earth to do—to take back the world? Here it was on a silver platter, and all He had to do was worship the devil. Satan’s still after the same thing: worship.
Yet again, Jesus threw the Word of God at His enemy! “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only!”
You see, Jesus had been tempted all forty days, but the devil really ramped it up in those last few days. The Bible says that He was tempted in all things. Because of this, Jesus knows that you may be going through a lot, and that’s why He’s right by your side. The world will say, “Oh, it’ll get better.” However, Jesus didn’t just give us empty feelings about our trials; he sympathized with us and gave us the ultimate solution. Jesus’ sympathy will empower you to overcome your trials.[hr style=”2″ margin=”30px 0px 30px 0px”]
What is that empowerment? It’s a Word from God right when you need it! That’s how Jesus defeated the devil in the wilderness. John tells us in 1st John 4:4 that, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” That is sympathy. So now in your day to day life, when temptation rears its ugly, annoying head know that Jesus is right next to you, ready to sympathize with you; He’s ready to lift you up, and give you the keys to success over your situation.
On the other hand, when you come across a friend that is going through a tough time, don’t be shallow with them. Instead, sympathize with them like Jesus does to you: let them know that you’re there for them, and empower them to overcome. Give them the Word of God for their situation![hr style=”2″ margin=”30px 0px 30px 0px”]
“Lord, thank You for the many promises You gave to us in your word. As I go through my day-to-day life, I can use these promises as weapons against the devil’s tricks! Thank you for truly sympathizing with me. I declare these things in the name of Jesus, amen.”