Hebrews 2:17-18 - For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.
I was watching a group of gardeners working. They were really energetic in their cutting, clipping trimming, watering, sweeping. They had good equipment and used it efficiently. There were six of them working on a sizable estate. Each seemed to know what he was to do. They were all about the same age. They stopped work once to rest and drink some water. They kidded each other and laughed a lot. They seemed to enjoy each other's company. One of the six was obviously the leader. When he got up, they all did, and sometimes with a wave of the hand or a word or two he would direct the work of the others.
Here was a band of men, not unlike many other groups of men or women, working together, feeling comfortable with each other, and enjoying what we sometimes call fellowship.
I think Jesus and His disciples were like that. I think they laughed together, told jokes, argued a little, kidded each other. I think they were comfortable with each other most of the time. They were real human beings.
It seems to me that too often we find it difficult to accept Jesus and His disciples as real men. We visualize them as clean-clothed men, always sober and intent, following a Leader who held them with some mysterious spiritual charisma and who was continually speaking to them of Himself and His Father.
I'm certain that was so, but I'm grateful for impetuous, bragging, loud-mouthed Peter because I'm like that much of the time. I'm not surprised at Thomas who doubted the "story" that Jesus was alive. I probably would have shook my head, too, and said, "I can't believe that." And I probably would have reacted as Andrew did when a few fish and loaves of bread were all that was around to serve 5,000 people. I think I would have been afraid in that boat, too, when the waves were so high. I know I sink when the waves of life seem so big.
The point is that because these men were real live men, acting and living as men, I can associate with them. Also, because Jesus was a real live man I feel that He knows all about my weakness and stumbling and bumbling. Because He accepted those ordinary men as His followers, He will accept me and help me. That makes Him the greater Lord -- the God that He also is.
THE PRAYER: Jesus, because You lived among us as a man and experienced the life we know, we can completely identify with You -- as You did with us. Thank You for "walking in our shoes" as our best Friend and our Savior. In Your Name we pray. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, June 1981 issue, "How Do You See Jesus Christ?" by Jon Suel
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