As the days progress toward the season in which we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus, I have found myself reflecting on the central, amazing truth that God became a man. I recognize that the Incarnation is beyond my comprehension, yet I have also experienced marvelous encouragement through meditating on it. Perhaps what has encouraged me most is a truth given to us in Hebrews 4: in Jesus, we have a high priest who can sympathize with us in our weaknesses, because He was tempted in every way that we are – “yet was without sin.”
Every day that I am a husband and father, I am reminded of my weaknesses more and more. I am painfully aware of my inadequacies, my failures, my temptations. As we pursue this ministry seeking to encourage and strengthen families, I have learned that I am certainly not alone. Men and women and young people with whom we have worked also recognize and speak to us of the weakness they feel and the difficulties they experience as the world, the flesh, and the devil continually assail them and their families.
But what a great encouragement to know that the Lord Jesus knows our weaknesses! He knows and experienced the same temptations we find so difficult to resist. As a man, He had to wrestle with His human will just as we do. He knows how we feel !
Another truth from Scripture that strengthens me and causes my heart to swell with gratitude to the Lord is found in 2 Corinthians 12, verse 9: the Lord told the apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” His unmerited favor is enough, and God has chosen that His power is to be displayed best against the backdrop of human weakness. That makes my weakness a blessing! Paul went on so far to say, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” What a healing balm! Not only does Jesus understand our weaknesses, but God has designed that His power is most complete as we, in our weakness, rely upon Him.
Now, consider Hebrews 4, verse 16: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” What a comforting invitation! Because Jesus can sympathize with us in our weaknesses, we can go to Him boldly knowing that in His mercy He not only doesn’t give us what our sins deserve, but that in His grace He does give us what we don’t deserve!
As I said, I don’t fully comprehend all the blessings of the incarnation. But God’s Word teaches me that “since the children (that’s us) have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death… For this reason, He had to be made like his brothers (us again) 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.” (Hebrews 2,14, 15, 17, 18) I do understand that. And I am eternally grateful to the Heavenly Father and my Lord Jesus Christ for such comfort and to God’s Holy Spirit for such power.