The baby knew

We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.
–Hebrews 4:15

There’s a lot to unpack from this verse about Jesus. In the days before Jesus came to earth as a human, the high priest was an imperfect man who represented the people before God. After Jesus’ physical life, death and resurrection, Jesus Himself became the perfect High Priest who represents all believers before the throne of God.

That’s one thing to unpack, and that alone is a game changer.

But the real, juicy meat of this verse is the fact that Jesus – our great and perfect High Priest – can sympathize with us because He was tempted in the same ways as us. There’s a human tendency to think that God (if “God” even exists at all) doesn’t know what it’s actually like down here in “the real world”.

While He’s up there on His throne surrounded by angels, the assumption goes, we’re all down here fighting the daily struggles that constitute real life. Why should I bother with a deity that holds me to an impossible standard without any idea of what I face on a daily basis?

I’ll tell you right now, if that assumption held any water, I’d slam the door on this whole Christianity thing. I could believe in a god who doesn’t understand me, but I darn well wouldn’t follow him, much less love and enjoy him.

But that’s not the God of the Bible, the God I give my life to. No, the true God emptied Himself of all His rank and privilege and status more than 2,000 years ago by becoming, not just a human, but a baby. The Sovereign God and Creator of the universe laid aside His glory and became a helpless babbling infant.

That helpless infant grew into a boy, went through puberty, became a man, and faced all the same temptations in His thirty-three years of life that you and I also face – except He never accepted any of those temptations. Not one. And I have reason to believe that the temptations He was offered were incomparably stronger than what we are faced with.

I’ve been injured for nearly seven years now. Physically I have made a lot of gains since the day of my accident, with more to come if that’s what God wants. But there are still many, many things that I cannot do. My voice is still weak and hard to project, I still can’t walk unassisted or feed myself. The list goes on.

For years when I would see that verse, I assumed it didn’t exactly apply to me because Jesus was able-bodied His entire earthly life. He wasn’t lame, He healed the lame. Right?

But then God reminded me that Jesus actually did experience being not just less powerful, but completely helpless. Remember, the King of the universe, the One who spoke everything we know into existence, began His time on earth as a baby.

Our kids are getting big now, way faster than we want them to, but I remember very clearly back to when they were  first born. For months and months (some of those days and months felt like years and decades) they were unable to walk, talk, feed themselves, control their bodily functions or their emotions. Five years after our first was born (Nyra turned five on the 19th), some of those things are still a challenge at times. For them, not us – figured I should clarify that.

We were there once as well – it’s how we all started, you and me. Obviously we didn’t have a choice, we didn’t have anything to lay aside.

But Jesus – the Creator, Sustainer and King of the universe – He had a choice. The most difficult, dangerous, gut wrenching, everything-on-the-line choice in history. He had everything to lose and chose to let it go in order to become a helpless, babbling, crying, stinking, totally dependent infant with no appearance of glory or power at all.

I lost a lot of my physical independence with this injury, but He made Himself completely physically dependent. On one of His own creations.

He knows. He understands. He felt my frustration to a degree I could never fathom.

What are you going through right now that “He just wouldn’t understand”?

  • Money issues? Jesus was homeless with no consistent monetary income.
  • Physical pain, sickness or suffering? Not only did Jesus have a physical body like ours (that got sick, tired and hungry, went through puberty and experienced all the physical nuances common to humanity) but He was also tortured, beaten and crucified.
  • Loneliness? Jesus left His perfect, eternal dwelling place of coexistence with the Father to dwell among people who hated Him and didn’t understand Him. Sure He had a crowd around Him a lot of the time (mostly for free handouts), but when stuff got hard they all ran for the hills.
  • Depression? Jesus was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He bore the sins, pain and sorrow of the entire universe from every generation past, present and future. He understands depression.
  • Marriage problems? Jesus never had a human spouse during His time on the earth, but the Bible says He’s married to the Church now. He exemplifies the perfect husband, and compared to His bride (the collective mass of every Christian in history) your spouse can’t be that bad…

This list is not a guilt trip to say “Suck it up because Jesus had it worse than you.” Quite the opposite. Jesus didn’t go through these things to make us feel sorry for Him.

He went through these things so He could know, through firsthand experience, our challenges, struggles, pains, longings and fears.




For Him to be any Savior or God at all, He has to be higher and better than you and me. He is that.

But He knows. He understands. He was there.

And He still is here. Inside and with all who accept His gift.

This Christmas week lay aside the notion that baby Jesus is just a cute decoration, a quaint little white lie for kids to believe in, like Santa Claus and the Easter bunny.

Don’t relegate the story of Christmas to just what you read to your kids on Christmas morning. It has acute relevance to every aspect of your life.

Relish it. Enjoy it. Relish and enjoy Him!

We wish you a Merry Christmas!