Sympathize With My Weakness
There are moments in my life where I feel the depth of my humanity more than others. One moment like that happened early on in my first year of teaching.
It was a class of senior American Government students who I was attempting to hoodwink into believing that I was old enough and knew enough to be able to educate them each and every day. They had completed some project and were giving presentations. I was laid back in my rolly chair grading and asking thought-provoking questions until I accidentally dropped my pen.
As it rolled between the seats in front of me, I naturally reached to grab it before a disruption would throw off the groove of the presenters. What I didn’t take into consideration was the angle of my reach combined with the age/decrepitness of the chair that was balancing all my body weight.
Next thing I knew I was rolling like that pen in between two students’ desks, my notes went flying, and I landed sprawled out in the aisle.
Now, the balance of superiority that is necessary for a 24 year old to command a room full of 17-18 year olds is a delicate one. And as I lay on the floor, I feared that balance had been ripped to shreds as my humanity was laid bare for all to see.
But, as with most of my fears, this one was unfounded. In that moment of panic, I couldn’t help but also laugh at my unfortunate demise, and when I laughed, the class laughed too. And that moment became a thing that bonded us together, a memory that we laughed out for months to come.
I think it honestly helped them to see me as human -- to be able to sympathize with the sometimes embarrassing plight of humanity that comes to us all.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my weaknesses lately. Sometimes this human form and life on this planet can really get to me. I feel inadequate, I feel forgotten, I feel like I can’t do enough to fix the things around me. And, most of those times, all I want is someone who can sympathize with those feelings. I want to be heard and affirmed and encouraged.
So I think it was no coincidence that as I studied this week, I was struck by a portion of one of our cross references, Hebrews 4:15:
“...we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses…”
We learned over the course of this week that Jesus was fully human while He was on earth. And we learn here that Jesus is our High Priest, and He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses.
What does that mean exactly?
As I looked deeper into our cross references, I saw some great reasons why:
- He experienced every type of emotion. (John 11)
- He suffered in every way possible, even tasting what death is like. (Hebrews 2)
- He was made like us in every respect. (Hebrews 2 and Philippians 2)
- He wasn’t just tempted. He was tempted in every way possible. (Hebrews 2 and 4)
As I studied, I realized that Jesus, my personal Savior and friend, is the best option available to hear about my weaknesses. There is nothing that I can experience, feel, deal with here on earth that is new to Him. He has experience in it all, and that not only gives Him credibility but also gives me a refuge -- a sacred place to run to and gain comfort from when my humanity gets too overwhelming to handle. What a Savior!
But what is even more excellent than Jesus being fully human on earth is that He was also (and continues to be) fully God as well. John 1:1-3 and 14 say it well,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.”
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus -- who was with God in the beginning, in whom all things were made -- chose to enter earth as a human. But we learn that He still carried the glory “as of the only Son from the Father” wherever He went. It’s quite a mystery for us, but we can rest assured that although Jesus experienced humanity the way we do, He was still 100% God at the exact same time.
Even if we go back to our earlier verse from Hebrews 4:15 we see another glimpse into this almost unbelievable characteristic of Jesus:
“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.”
Jesus, who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses because He experienced humanity, who experienced every type of temptation, also lived life on earth as Deity Himself. And, therefore, is set apart from us. Here we see Jesus in His other true state, as sinless.
Some may say that Jesus’ deity would negate His real ability to sympathize with us. After all, if you’re also God, is humanity and weakness and suffering really that hard to bear?
Well, after spending so much time in the gospels, I believe Jesus being 100% God as well as human only fuels and deepens His ability to sympathize.
I mentioned before there are many moments in life when I feel the depth of my humanity, my weakness, and all I want is sympathy from someone -- some affirmation, some encouragement. So, I’ll seek that from my support system, people who love me, who (thankfully) listen to me, and encourage me. And it’s good, but it doesn’t quite fill me all the way up.
It’s nothing against my people -- they are God given and incredible. I think it’s more because most times what I really need is the sympathy that only Jesus can give. Because He conquered humanity and weakness through His deity. He put to death sin and this fallen world once for all with His death and resurrection.
And when I put Him in His proper place by seeking Him and confessing to Him about my own weaknesses, I’m seeking the only Solution that matters. I’m getting comfort and guidance from the Conqueror Himself.
Jesus in His proper place in my life puts my humanity and weakness in its proper place. It sets it well below Him, right where it belongs. It’s a reminder I’m not meant for this world anyway, and soon, hopefully very soon, I’ll shake off all those weaknesses for good when I join my High Priest in glory.
“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” Hebrews 2:9-11
Amy Bufkin has loved Jesus for as long as she can remember. Even though she basically lived at her local church growing up, her faith and relationship with The Lord was incredibly shallow until her early twenties. It was then Amy learned how to study her Bible, began to truly commune with God, and her shallow faith began to deepen as she got to know her Lord and Savior. Now her passion is to communicate the same truths that changed her life to young women in as many ways as possible. You can find her on Instagram | Facebook