Did you ever have a time when your parents said to you, “If you would only listen to me, I’ve been where you are?” If you are a parent, maybe you have found yourself resorting to this line of reasoning. Parents like to use this line, but often our kids have a hard time hearing it. It is very hard to imagine that your old geezer parents actually went through the struggles of adolescence. Yet, in reality, things do not change as much as kids think they have, and parents often had many of the same experiences that their kids are having. While kids do not believe it, parents probably struggled with many of the same struggles they are going through right now. They had zits, and had a boyfriend or girlfriend break up with them. They were unsure what to do with their college or career choice, and probably were tempted to drink or do drugs at some point in time. They had victories and failures in life, much like you experience. When parents use this line, they actually can remember way back when, and they really do know the pain and frustration the teen years can bring.
When Jesus Christ came to this earth, he put on flesh and experienced life as a man. God realized our deepest need was for a Savior who could provide forgiveness for sin and hope for eternity. So Jesus walked on this earth as a man, and experienced everything a man could experience. Especially in the area of temptation. The Devil brought everything he could at Jesus, hoping to get Him to sin and fail. But Jesus perfectly followed His Father’s plan and never sinned.
Sometimes we think of God as being far off, way up in heaven. We somewhat believe that God cannot really understand what I am going through, or how I feel. This passage reminds us that just the opposite is true. Jesus can say, “If you would only listen to Me, I’ve been where you are!” He experienced every situation and every temptation known to man. Jesus was a teenager once. He was tempted with sex, and with drugs (they tried to give him drugs on the cross and He refused them). He was challenged to give in to His desires and take the selfish way out.
Yet, there is one major difference. Jesus never failed! He never gave in to those temptations. He never sinned. Now, this could mean that Jesus could look at us and say, “You’ll never be as good as I am, so don’t even try.” This is not how He responds to us. Often parents will say they hope their kids will learn from their mistakes, but Jesus wants us to learn from His successes. His desire is that we come to Him to learn how to live. He wants us to come boldly and with confidence.
The High Priest was the “go between” for God to the people. He made the sacrifices and became God’s spokesman to the people. But the Jewish High Priests were flawed and sinful. When they made sacrifices, they had to make them for their own sins as well. But Jesus is the perfect High Priest who made the perfect sacrifice. Because He is a High Priest who understands our weakness, but also overcame temptation, we can trust Him. Most important, through Him, we have direct access into the presence of God. Therefore, we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.”