In Acts 9, Jesus asks Saul a very pointed, interesting question: “Why are you persecuting Me?” That’s an interesting question because just a few verses earlier, Acts 9 says Saul was “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord,” not against Jesus.
Empathy and sympathy sound similar, but play out very differently. Sympathy involves agreeing with someone’s feelings, but empathy involves identifying with their feelings.
Jesus empathizes with you. He’s not just aware of your pain – He feels it.
Isaiah 53 is a prophecy about the suffering servant, referring to Jesus. It says He is a man “acquainted with sorrows.” If anyone knows sorrow, it’s Jesus Himself! Later on, in the New Testament, Jesus attends the funeral of a friend who had just passed away, Lazarus. Jesus tells his family members that He is the Resurrection and the Life, and He even knows He is about to raise Lazarus from the dead, but the most amazing, human thing happens first. John 11:35 (the shortest verse in the Bible) says, “Jesus wept.” If anyone had a reason to smile and throw a party, it was Jesus, but when He saw His friend’s weeping, He wept.
God is not a far-off, disconnected God. He is compassionate and empathetic. He feels your pain. One of the most reassuring parts of Jesus’ life and ministry during His 33 years on earth is His ability to empathize with our weaknesses.
When you hurt, Jesus hurts. Take heart; He feels your pain.
K E V I N • M I L L E R
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