The girls and I were doing a Bible devotion on the temptation of Jesus the other day. It was both thought-provoking and comforting as I was reminded that Jesus was tempted just as we are and yet He withstood the temptation and never sinned. This is comforting in several ways. Jesus obeyed God’s law perfectly so that He satisfied God’s demands and was the perfect sacrifice – paying the debt I owe for my sin! The other way that it is comforting is that Jesus is our Mediator – He stands beside God the Father and intercedes for us. He knows our struggles and He knows that we are unable to withstand on our own.
Thinking of that led me to think of other things that Jesus experienced that we experience in a similar way. Have you ever felt like God was not there? Have you felt so deep in a pit of despair that you could not “feel” God’s presence? I have. The darkest time of my life was after our son, Grant, died. I felt abandoned by God. That wasn’t true though, was it? We feel as though we can’t hear God or that He isn’t with us, but He always is – if we are His child. Jesus actually experienced the loss of the presence of God. He knows by personal experience – by an actual occurrence – what we “feel”, although it is not reality. God turned away from Jesus when He took upon Himself our sin on the cross. I don’t know how long that was, but I can only imagine how painful it must have been. In fact, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?”
David penned those words in Psalm 22:1-2, a Psalm which is full of prophecy of the coming Messiah and what He would suffer.
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
David’s anguished cry is much like our own. We feel God is far away, sometimes just because He does not seem to be answering our prayers. (Of course, God always answers our prayers! Sometimes His answer is “wait”.) But Jesus, who spoke the exact same words really did experience abandonment of God. Incredible, isn’t it?
I am revelling today in the Savior Who not only lived a righteous life in my place, died the death I deserve, and also rose victorious to daily intercede on my behalf. He is a loving, tender, understanding High Priest for us.
Hebrews 4:14-16 14Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For 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. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.