It is two days since we celebrated the Ascension, and we are celebrating that we have a brother, Jesus, who is at the throne of God and ruling heaven for our blessing. It is important -- Jesus the human rules. Jesus the God-man has been given all authority and power.
It was Paul who said, "To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win the Jews. to those under the law I became as one under the law ... . To those outside the law I became as one outside the law ... that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some." (1 Corinthians 9:20-22)
Where did he learn this? Answer: The same place he learned everything else about the Gospel. From Jesus.
Jesus is the Everything Man. You begin to learn this as you watch Jesus calling four fishermen, one tax gatherer, a revolutionary zealot and others. As He begins His ministry you see Nicodemus, a scholar and teacher coming to Him and "tax gatherers and sinners all ... drawing near." (Luke 15:1) The pious sisters Mary & Martha follow, as well as Mary Magdalene, whom Jesus freed from demons. (Luke 8:2)
And then the list expands. Lepers, a man born blind, a sinful woman, a rich young man, a teacher of the Law; Jesus moves through every part of society bringing words of comfort, redemption, spiritual life and peace with God. Children are comfortable with Him, and Jesus relates easily. He knows them, and they know there is the mercy and peace from God with Him. And we see in church that they still are comfortable where Jesus is.
There is a saying, "What He did not become, He did not save." It is a quick summary of the Bible's teaching about Jesus, God in the flesh, God with us.
Jesus rejoiced over those coming to faith, was angry with the money changers, loved His disciples (John 13), was frustrated with the stubbornness around Him, and wept outside Lazarus' tomb. In every situation I encounter He is the Friend who is able to empathize because He knows the problems and joys we experience. All other religions send prayers up to the heavens and hope to be heard. We have a Savior who walked among us and knows, personally.
There are times in life when we long for, struggle to find, and are lonely without someone to share, where we can connect on a personal level. Jesus is the one who knows and sees and understands every part of the human experience -- and is able to "sympathize with our weaknesses" because He "has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15) Even to the uttermost -- Jesus knows what it is like to carry sin, to be separated, and to die with the sins of the world on Him. Because He carried the sins we get to come to a Savior who already knows, and wanted us to be set free and be with Him forever.
This has been the experience of Christians through the centuries. With every part of our life there is Jesus who understands because He is one of us. In fact, in nation after nation and culture after culture Christians all around the world find the same truth. I have had opportunities to sit, talk, journey and share with Christians in South Africa and Botswana; and Christians from Ethiopia, Korea, and other places. We find that we share this same truth. Jesus understands. He knows the joys and troubles of our souls. He knows because He is one of us. It does not matter how different our lives or our cultures have been. Jesus is the same. He understands. He knows because He is one of us.
And then, because He is one of us he hears our prayers in a different and very distinct way. This is different than any other religion. It is different than how it would happen if God were, like the song said, "just a God who didn't care, who lived a way up there". In every part of life I find that Jesus is close at hand and there is "grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
Jesus is indeed "The Everything Man." He is everything to me, and to countless Christians of every time and every place.
Lord Jesus, thank You that I can come to You and find in You a Friend who understands; and have in You a God who hears my prayers with such knowledge of what it is like to pray. Thank You for walking this earth, knowing the days and hours, the joys and sorrows, the hopes and fears that I face. Walk with me, Lord. Lead on. Lead on through everything, and on to when I get to see You face to face. Be close by my side now that I may be with You forever. Amen.