may 7

The Empathizing Christ

By; Pastor Dennis Yim

New Testament Verse: Hebrews 4:15

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.

It’s easy to get caught up in our fears and anxieties and allow them to dictate our senses. What I

recognized with my own struggles with fears and anxieties is that whenever I get caught up in

them, usually I lose sight of the realities of God’s covenant with His people. My fears force me

to be hyper focused on my vulnerable and weak state; and whenever I have to stare them in the

face, I get queasy and begin to feel hopeless and lost. But throughout God’s redemptive history,

His people have always lived in fear (to a certain degree) and God expects His people to live in

fear and anxiety. I hear this a lot from people: “God knows what you’re going through.” For

crying out loud, I say that to others too! But that simple yet profound saying is usually forgotten

when my fears and anxieties overwhelm me.

The Hebrew author understood that God’s people would always have a legitimate reason to be

fearful and to have anxiety. In our current situation, we have legitimate reasons to be fearful and

anxious about COVID-19 and its devastating effects on our families, friends and economy. This

virus has forced all of us to come to grips with our mortality and great human limitations. We

hear stories about how people have been financially impacted by COVID-19, doctors losing their

lives, Asian communities being harassed and attacked by bigots, the vulnerable population being

isolated from their friends and families, etc. All of these things are legitimate reasons for people

to be fearful and anxious. But here’s the good news: Jesus Christ is the High Priest who doesn’t

sit on His throne watching us. Instead, Jesus is the God who has moved towards us, committed

Himself to us, gave Himself to us, and lives with us in our fears and anxieties. He knows all

about being fearful and anxious. On the cross, He faced death, the Kingdom of Darkness and the

cosmic isolation, and His disciples (friends) left Him to die alone. If you’re afraid of death then

you can rest assure that Jesus was afraid of death on the cross because it meant separation from

His Father. If you’re afraid of being alone, Jesus knows that all too well because He was

abandoned by all.

Whatever you are going through, know that Jesus is empathizing with you. When He says, “I

know what you’re going through,” He really means it, because He suffered just like us. My

friends, just like Jesus empathizes with us, let us empathize with our neighbors. We are not be

sympathetic for others, rather, just like our High Priest who is the Great Empathizer, let us walk

with others and learn how to enter into their lives so that we may suffer with them.