Andrew Fountain - Feeling Empathy from Jesus

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Sermon notes - Feeling Empathy from Jesus

Question:

  • Why did Jesus have to become a human
    be born in such shame and poverty
    and live in such hardship?
  • Partly so he could suffer in our place as the perfect human
    • He would also set an example of a perfect man (where Adam failed)
    • but also so we can really know his sympathy

Goal

To help us to feel the closeness of Jesus
when we pray
and have a deeper sense of his empathy for us
whenever we are struggling.

  • God’s power is scary, especially that he knows every detail about you.
    • That’s how this passage starts
    • But a key fact changes fear to confidence:

Hebrews 4

  1. And no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.
  2. Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.
  3. For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.
  4. Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.
  • God’s tender compassion for human weakness is not unique to the N.T.

Psalm 103

  1. The LORD is compassionate and merciful;
    he is patient and demonstrates great loyal love.
  2. He does not always accuse,
    and does not stay angry.
  3. He does not deal with us as our sins deserve;
    he does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve.
  4. For as the skies are high above the earth,
    so his loyal love towers over his faithful followers.
  5. As far as the eastern horizon is from the west,
    so he removes the guilt of our rebellious actions from us.
  6. As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the LORD has compassion on his faithful followers.
  7. For he knows what we are made of;
    he realizes we are made of clay.

based on NET Bible


  • What does it feel like when somebody understands you
    • At wrong time in cafe
    • Just spent hours googling some pointless problem —Luke
  • How much can he empathize with us?
    • What does he truly understand? —after all, he’s God!

Tired, hungry & homeless

Jacob’s well was there, so Jesus, since he was wearied from the journey, sat right down beside the well. It was about noon. John 4:6

  • Do you ever feel “I’m just weary right now, I have to sit down”. Jesus knows exactly how you feel!

He said to them, “Come with me privately to an isolated place and rest a while” (for many were coming and going, and there was no time to eat). Mark 6:31

As they were walking along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Luke 9:57–58

Longing

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how I have often longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…” Luke 13:34

  • The deepest pain we feel is relational
    • betrayal, loss, separation
    • First heartbreak at age 12, outside in the night, sobbing under some bushes -parents. I was shocked

Friendship – John 15

  1. …I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father.
  • Luke 22:
  1. Now when the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table and the apostles joined him.
  2. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
  3. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
  • Same word as “lust”. Doubled with “desire I have desired.” (Hebrew )
    • He was fully human and so needed friends
  • When someone understands you, it feels so good, but you can almost feel Jesus’ pain when the disciples didn’t get him:

Not understood - John 14

  1. Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
  2. Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
  3. …You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father…
  • His friends left him at the point of his greatest need

Deserted – Matthew 26

  1. He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and became anguished and distressed.
  2. Then he said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.”
  3. Going a little farther, he threw himself down with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
  4. Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “So, couldn’t you stay awake with me for one hour?
  5. …Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Denied by close friend – John 13

  1. Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
  2. Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

Betrayal – John 13

  1. …But this is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who eats my bread has turned against me’…
  2. When he had said these things, Jesus was greatly distressed in spirit, and testified, “I tell you the solemn truth, one of you will betray me.”
  • Psalm 41:9:
    Even my close friend whom I trusted,
    he who shared meals with me, has turned against me.
  • Story of David’s close friend Ahithophel

Abandoned by the Father – Mark 15

  1. Around three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
  • He was abandoned so that we should never be abandoned
  • Jesus suffered in our place
    • The place of everyone who trusts him with their life
  • Very helpful to see what Jesus was quoting:

Psalm 22

  1. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
    I groan in prayer, but help seems far away.
  2. My God, I cry out during the day,
    but you do not answer,
    and during the night my prayers do not let up.
  3. You are holy;
    you sit as king receiving the praises of Israel.
  4. In you our ancestors trusted;
    they trusted in you and you rescued them.
  5. To you they cried out, and they were saved;
    in you they trusted and they were not disappointed.
  6. But I am a worm, not a man;
    people insult me and despise me.
  7. All who see me taunt me;
    they mock me and shake their heads.
  8. They say,
    “Commit yourself to the LORD!
    Let the LORD rescue him!
    Let the LORD deliver him, for he delights in him.”
  9. Yes, you are the one who brought me out from the womb
    and made me feel secure on my mother’s breasts.
  10. I have been dependent on you since birth;
    from the time I came out of my mother’s womb you have been my God.
  11. Do not remain far away from me,
    for trouble is near and I have no one to help me.
  12. Many bulls surround me;
    powerful bulls of Bashan hem me in.
  13. They open their mouths to devour me
    like a roaring lion that rips its prey.
  14. My strength drains away like water;
    all my bones are dislocated;
    my heart is like wax;
    it melts away inside me.
  15. The roof of my mouth is as dry as a piece of pottery;
    my tongue sticks to my gums.
    You set me in the dust of death.
  16. Yes, wild dogs surround me —
    a gang of evil men crowd around me;
    like a lion they pin my hands and feet.
  17. I can count all my bones;
    my enemies are gloating over me in triumph.
  18. They are dividing up my clothes among themselves;
    they are rolling dice for my garments.
  19. But you, O LORD, do not remain far away!
    You are my source of strength! Hurry and help me!
  20. Deliver me from the sword!
    Save my life from the claws of the wild dogs!
  21. Rescue me from the mouth of the lion,
    and from the horns of the wild oxen!
    You have answered me!
  22. I will declare your name to my countrymen!
    In the middle of the assembly I will praise you!
  23. You loyal followers of the LORD, praise him!
    All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
    All you descendants of Israel, stand in awe of him!
  24. For he did not despise or detest the suffering of the oppressed;
    he did not ignore him;
    when he cried out to him, he responded.
  25. You are the reason I offer praise in the great assembly;

based on NET Bible


  • What about temptation”

Hebrews 4

  1. For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.
  2. Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.
  • This is a mystery to an extent, but we have to go with what it says
  • Is he with me now?
    • Can he feel what I feel?
    • Close your eyes—what negative emotions are there deep in you
    • Now feel Jesus with you, telling you that he understands
  • Motivation—to share your feelings with Jesus in prayer

Updated on 2017-12-24 by Andrew Fountain

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