My grandfather had a beautiful book, which I loved as a child. Roughly translated, it was called ‘He walked among us’ and it had brilliant drawings, picturing Jesus in all aspects of daily life- at home, at work, walking through the fields, in the synagogue, and around the table. The author of this book (himself a fervent believer) tried to depict the humanity of our Lord Jesus as He walked this earth as one of us. How I loved looking through this book!
When we want someone to grow in compassion for someone, we might say “You should try walking in their shoes”, suggesting we should not be too rash in our judgement, because we don’t really know how things are from another person’s perspective. When God the Son became a man, and lived from conception until His death as an adult on the cross, He identified with all of humanity. Jesus truly walked in our shoes!
The Bible says that the Lord was tempted, but never sinned. Hebrews 4:15 says ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin’. This is great news! Jesus has compassion on us. He understands.
This truth can be a source of enormous comfort to us! When we struggle, are in pain, or have suffered injustice, we naturally want someone who can understand our position and our pain, someone who can truly empathise. The Lord is that person! Much healing comes from the realisation that God truly understands.
There is, however, a strong discipleship aspect to the fact that Jesus has walked like us. This is what today’s Bible verse touches on. Because Jesus has been tempted, yet did not sin, He can lead us in His footsteps, and help us withstand temptation. God’s demand on us is clear. We must resist temptation. The Bible equally states that we in ourselves are powerless to do so! The answer to this dilemma is the realisation that Jesus has walked our walk, but, without sinning, and that He’s qualified, able and willing to help us in our battle against sin.
My personal walk with God dramatically changed when I came to realise that God isn’t merely making demands on us from His throne high up in heaven, without ever lifting a finger to help us. No, on the contrary, God calls us to a walk of holiness, but He’s already gone before us. And not only has He gone before us, He’s also right beside us, and at work within us, to help us walk in His footsteps. What a God!
Prayer: Father in heaven, thank You that Jesus has gone ahead of me and that You truly understand me. Please help me to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, because only in You can I start trying to do so! Thank you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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