The god of this dream is not the God of holy scripture. We do not worship a an obese Buddha who sits in peaceful serenity above the miseries of this world. "We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are" (Hebrews 4:15). "Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested" (Hebrews 2:18).
He understands and knows what you are going through. Only a fool would say to his wife in the last painful moments of childbirth, "Honey, I know how you feel." Those words are a great comfort when they come from someone who has gone through what you are going through, but they are an insult coming from anyone else.
Jesus says, "I know how you feel." And he really does. He comes to you, calls you by name, and says, "I know how you feel." Are you a baby in wet diapers living in a world where everyone is bigger and stronger and smarter than you are? Jesus says, "I know how you feel." Are you a teenager whose best friends deserted you when you needed them most? Jesus says, "I know how you feel." Are you homeless and hungry? Jesus says, "I know how you feel." Are you weak and in great pain? Jesus says, "I know how you feel."
Seven hundred years before Jesus was born the prophet Isaiah said he would be "a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). "Acquainted" indeed! He knew all there was to know about our woes. He knew our pain and problems not because he read a book about them, but because he experienced them himself.
Early in Church history there was an heretical sect that so emphasized the deity of Christ they denied his humanity--that he could actually suffer and die like us. Of course, they had great difficulty trying to explain what happened on the cross.
It was from members of this sect that the prophet Mohammed received his knowledge of Christianity. In the Koran, Chapter 4, verse 156 we find this statement: "And for their saying, 'Verily we have slain the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, an Apostle of God.' Yet they slew him not, and they crucified him not, but they had only his likeness. And they who differed about him were in doubt concerning him: no sure knowledge had they about him, but followed only an opinion, and they did not really slay him, but God took him up to himself." A footnote says the one they crucified by mistake was Simon of Cyrene! The poor guy was just trying to help out when they nailed him to the cross by accident. Believe it or not!
I choose not to believe it.
Instead, I believe the reliable gospel records which tell us Christ was both fully human and fully divine. He was not just God-like. He was God. He gave proof of his deity in that he spoke with divine wisdom, acted with divine holiness, exhibited divine power, and displayed divine love. He read minds, moved hearts and compelled wills. When he was pleased to exert his power, all nature was subject to his bidding. A word from him and disease fled, a storm was stilled, the devil left him and the dead were raised to life. So truly was he God in human flesh he could say, "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).
Truly God? Yes! And also truly human (1 Timothy 2:5)! So fully human was he that he endured all the limitations common to our humanity. He entered this world as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. As a child he increased in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52). As a boy he asked questions of his teachers in the temple (Luke 2:46). As a man he was weary (John 4:6), he slept (Matthew 8:24), he hungered (Matthew 21:18), he was tempted (Hebrews 2:18: 4:15), he cried (John 11:35), and on the cross he thirsted. God doesn't thirst. Neither do angels. But Christ, the God-man, could. And did. Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried.
Becky Pippert tells of counseling a woman grieving over having an abortion.
Nothing anyone said could relieve her guilt that she was responsible
taking the life of a human being. Finally, Becky shocked her into new
saying, "That baby was not the first life you took."
Second, his death was propitiatory. By that I mean it appeased God's wrath by satisfying divine justice (Romans 3:25-26). That's a concept that's hard to understand. Think of it this way. Whoever placed a bomb in the garage of the U S Trade center in New York caused such destruction and death that even after they are caught, tried and convicted, no punishment can be imposed proportionate to the crime to satisfy the claims of justice. The doctrine of propitiation means that Christ's death satisfied the claims of justice not only for terrorist bombers, but for every sinner on earthincluding me (1 John 4:10).
Third, his death was reconciling. By that I mean that it turned those who were God's enemies into his friends. "When anyone is joined to Christ, he is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also" (2 Corinthians 5:18-19 TEV).
Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. What does that mean to you personally? What difference does it make in your life here and now?