It may sound strange to you, as you will hear on this PODCAST. But if I kicked a bottle and a genie popped out, offering to grant me but one wish, any idea what I’d wish for?
I’d wish for the ability to point my finger at anyone, anywhere, at any time, and become that person for 10 minutes.
On the surface of things, an odd request, I know. But if you think about it, for me it makes perfect sense.
When people share with me their stories, invariably I feel an acute longing to become that person — for 10 minutes — so that I can truly understand what it’s really like to be them.
Just imagine if we each possessed that power. If we did, and become that person for just 10 minutes, we would completely understand.
We would understand why they do the things they do; why they say the things they say; why they make the choices that they make; why they act the way they act.
All would become so crystal clear.
And in knowing the whys behind people’s words, actions, and attitudes, just think of how revolutionizing such knowledge would be.
We would be so much more understanding, so much more forgiving, so much more compassionate, so much more loving.
We would “get it.” And others would “get” us.
If you could just be me for 10 minutes, you would finally understand why I am certifiably neurotic.
Well, Jesus didn’t have a bottle; He didn’t need one. Jesus never met a genie; there are no magical genies to meet. Jesus wasn’t granted one wish. Wishes were irrelevant to Him.
But Jesus did exactly what I would wish I could do. And He did so for much, much longer than 10 minutes.
As a baby, laying in a manger, in beautiful downtown Bethlehem, Jesus became one of us.
Jesus experienced every human emotion, every human need, faced every human temptation, and lived every possible kind of human suffering. He understands exactly what it is like to be you, and what it is like to be me.
That picture of an understanding Jesus is painted ever so clearly in this story.
After hearing it, you will never view Jesus the same way again. A Jesus who “gets it.” A Jesus who “gets” you.
Let’s begin by reading Matthew 14 (which, chronologically comes directly after Matthew 10 since Matthew is written thematically, not chronologically). That being said, here is Matthew 14:13
13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.
Now, this portion of Jesus’ life comes immediately after his cousin, John the Baptizer was beheaded. Jesus was crushed, which I find incredibly endearing as Jesus displayed His humanity. But, I also find it perplexing, since He had the power to have John freed. But He didn’t use it. He didn’t fix it. He could have sent and earthquake and a team of angels to liberate His cousin, as God did in the Book of Acts, but He didn’t. It wasn’t God’s will.
He was exhausted. He needed to find a solitary place to mourn the lost of His dear cousin.
Then, Jesus learned that Herod Antipas – John’s killer – was after Him. Jesus is now an official “Enemy of the State”.
So, we are now in a new chapter in Jesus’ life. He will set His face toward Jerusalem and He will know that He death is coming.
So, the take away is this: Jesus knows exactly what it is like to be human. He knows the pain of death. He knows the sorrow of having a loved one die. He knows what it is like to be abandoned and alone.
So, when you pray, know that you are praying to a God who has experienced “it”. He doesn’t know it in theory, but in actual reality. He knows exactly what it is like to be absolutely human.
Which I find absolutely irresistible.