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. (Hebrews 4:15, ESV)
“You don’t understand; you’ve never been through what I’m going through.” Has anyone ever said that to you? They may be right. It’s difficult to know how someone feels in a particular situation if we’ve never been down that road ourselves. With the best of intentions, we may even say, “I know just how you feel.” But often we don’t know.
When I read Hebrews 4:15, I realize that there is Someone who does understand everything I face in life. He’s been there. He’s felt that. He sympathizes. When God wrapped Himself in human flesh and came to earth, He lived as we live. He faced the same challenges we face every day.
Are you weary? He understands. “Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour” (John 4:6, ESV).
Are you grieving? He understands. “When Jesus saw her [Mary] weeping . . . he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled . . . Jesus wept” John 11:33-35, ESV).
Have others forsaken you? He understands. “Then all the disciples left him and fled.” (Matthew 26:56, ESV).
Does your family misunderstand you? He understands. “For not even his brothers believed in him” (John 7:5, ESV).
Have you been mistreated? He understands. “And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him” (Mark 15:19-20, ESV).
Have you been tempted? He understands. “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil” (Luke 4:1-2, ESV).
Because of our human frailties, we sometimes stumble. At such times, it’s easy to feel no one cares and no one understands. We’ve made a mess of things, feel ashamed, and just want to hide. We’ve disappointed ourselves, others, and God. Yet our Savior, even though sinless Himself, lovingly extends mercy and forgiveness. His purpose in coming to earth was to reconcile sinful humanity to a sinless God. He understands us because He came to be one of us.
“Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17, ESV)
John W. Peterson wrote a song titled “No One Understands Like Jesus.” One verse says, “No one understands like Jesus, When you falter on the way, Tho you fail Him, sadly fail Him, He will pardon you today.”
We can never say to the Lord, “You just don’t understand.” He does. He really, really does. Whatever you are facing today, He understands because He walked that road before you. He understands. He cares. He is there for you.