Suffering and Empathy

Hebrews 2:18 teaches: “Since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” This verse, which specifically refers to Jesus’ ministry, also has application for us, and explains the reason for much of our own temptation and suffering.

Jesus suffered, in part, this verse tells us, in order that He might be able to come to our aid when we are tempted – in other words, it gives Him as our High Priest empathy for us, for as 4:15 says, He has been tempted in all things as we are.

In this case, what is true for Him is also true for us as well. We know from Romans 8 that God is causing all things, including our suffering, to conform us to the image of Christ, and make us more like Him. This Hebrews passage tells us that the purpose of Christ’s suffering was to make Him a High Priest who could empathize with our sufferings; to make Him effective as He comes to our aid. God has the same purpose for US in our own sufferings.

Among other things, our sufferings make US too “able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” As a godly man once told a minister whose family had been suffering: “You will never minister to people in the same way as a result of this, for you have now been where they are.” May God bless and use each of our trials for His purposes – and help us to understand that our sufferings make us more able to effectively and compassionately minister to others.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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