In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 5:7-10, ESV
Yesterday was not a day of good news for those of us living in Juniata County. Our governor declared that we will remain under stay-at-home orders, likely until June 4. Even as we long to protect those vulnerable to COVID-19, we fear the grave damage that will befall our community with four more weeks of such restrictions, and we weep for the extended loss of personal fellowship.
It is in times like these that we most need to be reminded that Jesus understands suffering. While here on the earth and in the flesh, Jesus tearfully cried out His prayers and requests to God. Through His suffering as a man, Jesus “learned” what it is to obey His Father when under human temptation. He experienced the human condition. Think about that. Jesus, sinless and eternally God, became a man so He could suffer the pull of sin and the pain of resisting that sin as a man. Because He did so perfectly, He was able to save those who follow Him as their Great High Priest.
Our Savior not only sympathizes with us in our suffering, He knows what it feels like. He not only knows what it feels like, He knows as one who was perfectly righteous and resisted it at every turn. Because He remained righteous in this experience, He is able to save us from the ultimate, eternal suffering of hell.
Are you suffering under the thought that this social distancing, stay-at-home, essential-businesses-only period is going to continue? Are you crying out to God, begging Him to bring it to an end? Me, too. But even as we cry out, let us remember that our Great High Priest who hears our cries knows our suffering and, as One who endured it in righteousness, has rescued us from eternal suffering and gained us entrance into the place where suffering dwells no more.
Jesus does not offer us platitudes for our suffering. He offers Himself. In a week with plenty of unwelcome news, I pray this good news will be a balm to your soul.