God Knows ...
How many times has a friend or elder tried to tell you how to deal with a certain struggle or give you advice based on something they know nothing about? They give you cliche responses such as, "just trust God," or "just give it to God," while they have no clue how tough this struggle or situation is.
A majority of the time we don't even know what it means to "give it to God," but that is the advice we give because it sounds like the "Christian thing to say."
We have all felt this way. We think that no one can understand what we're going through...not even God. How can the God of the universe, the the perfect and sinless God, even begin to know how it feels to struggle? In the literal sense, we can't even see God. How do we even know He sees what we struggle with. How can a God who has never sinned relate to the struggles that we have?
You see the thing is, God knows exactly what you are going through. And He doesn't just look at your situation from the outside, He actually put Himself in your position, literally, to be able to truly sympathize with you.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in everyway, just as we are--yet was without sin."
Now that is a huge chunk of meat to digest at one time so lets break down this truly powerful verse piece by piece.
The first amazing bit of information is that the "high priest" would actually be able to sympathize with us, the sinful people. In the context of Jewish culture, the high priest was the chief of all priests and was the only one allowed to enter the Holy place where the Lord dwelt.
Jesus, who was even the high priest of the high priests, lowered Himself to the position of a servant so that we may be able to come before the father, something that only the high priest could do before Jesus ripped the curtain.
The word choice of this verse also makes it all the more encouraging. The fact that the Lord Jesus Christ not only "sympathizes with us," but verse 15 says that He "sympathizes with our weakness." That seems like a oxymoron huh?
How can an all-powerful God sympathize with our weakness? Well it seems a little odd at first, but the beauty of Christ is that He put on sinful flesh and lived among sinful people and boldly became weak in order to sympathize in our weakness.
Hebrews 4:15 also states that He was tempted in everyway, just as we are. In Matthew chapter 4 verses 1-11, Jesus goes out into the desert and is tempted by Satan, just as we are. Check the passge to see how the Lord was tempted.
"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'"
Jesus answered, "It is written:
'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
'He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus answered him, "It is also written:
'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."
Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written:
'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"
"Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him."
Satan offers Him earthly riches and power, but Jesus resisted the temptation each time. So not only has He been tempted but He has resisted the temptation, therefore He can help you resist the temptation.
The last part of verse 15 is probably the most encouraging. He was tempted in EVERYWAY, just as we are--yet was with out sin. Therefore, as Christians, we have the ability to trust in the Lord when we are tempted and leave our sin in the past.
God truly does sympathize with you. That isn't just a cliche phrase. He did in fact come to this earth to be tempted so that when we face temptation, we can be confident in the fact that God knows what we are going through, and wants to help us avoid our sin.
But most importantly, He wants us to earnestly seek Him with all that we have. God draws us into a loving relationship with Him and nothing is more amazing than that.
"Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."
God is love.