2–8 November 2014.
The scripture reading for this week comes from Hebrews 2:17–18: “For this reason Christ had to be made like us, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
Probably the most amazing thing that God ever did for us was to become a human being: to become one of us. This really is an incredible thing, and something we will celebrate in a few weeks’ time at Christmas.
When we talk about God becoming one of us, we don’t mean that God came here pretending to be a human being. He didn’t come in a Halloween costume and trick people into thinking he was a person. He really became a real human being. As the writer of Hebrews puts it: “fully human in every way”.
In Jesus, God experienced everything that we experience. He learnt what it meant to be born; what it meant to be loved (and punished) by parents; to have friends (and enemies); to live a limited life. He learnt what it means to feel joy in a human way, to celebrate life with his friends, to rejoice in the world around him, and to share good times with those he loved.
But he also learnt what it was like to see his friends suffer, grow weak, and die. In Jesus, God also shared our experiences of sorrow, and of suffering, personally going through temptations, through times of anger and rejection. And in Jesus, God goes so far as to even share in our own human death. On the cross, God allows himself to be tortured and killed. And again, this is a real death; it is not pretend.
See how powerful God is? God is not distant and far away, safely tucked away in heaven, too scared to expose himself to real life, unwilling to face what we do every day. Instead he is the one who understands us and supports us in our daily lives, because he has gone through it all.
Are you celebrating today? Christ is with you. Are you suffering and in pain? The Son is there with you. Are you struggling with temptation? Jesus is at your side. Even on the other side of death, don’t think for a minute that Christ will ever let you go! Christ is Immanuel, “God with us”, and he is with us in everything, good times and bad. He will always have his arms around you. He is our dependable friend. So depend on him and trust in him this week.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis