Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for Familiar

Familiar - closely acquainted, intimate; frequently seen, heard, or experienced.  Used to say that something is easy for you to recognize because you have seen, heard, or experienced it many times in the past

Yada - to know, recognize, understand; to have sexual relations; to be respected, to be known, make oneself known; to cause to know; to be well-known to be made aware

The Gospel is this:  We needed a Savior to save us from our sin.  There was nothing we could do for ourselves to bring us into a right relationship with God, so God did everything necessary to bring us into a right relationship with Him.  No living a good life, being a good person, not committing murder, adultery.  No church attendance, bible study, or religious tradition makes us holy in the presence of Holiness.  We are made holy in His sight because the Holy God brought Himself into our world and did what needed to be done to save us from ourselves.

That being said, my word for today, based on this simple synopsis of the gospel doesn't answer the why to the reason He came, but more the method of which He chose.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and yada (familiar) with suffering.  (Isaiah 53: 3)

Why would God, the maker of heaven and earth, come down and wear our skin?  Why would he?  What gain is there for him to do such a thing?  I mean, He's God, He could have done a host of different things to bring salvation to the world.

Why would someone, a king, come knowing he would be despised, rejected, a man of sorrows and know what suffering would be like?

Why would He save us this way?  Why would someone knowingly give up his throne, the majesty, the perfection, the peace of heaven and come down and live amongst such sorrow and pain and suffering?

I know why I wouldn't if I were him.  I would never knowingly volunteer to be hurt or be in pain or to suffer rejection and feel the grief of being despised.

Not for one person, not even my child or my spouse or my grandchild.  Maybe I would talk a big game and say, "oh yeah, there's nothing I wouldn't do for......"  But really, when it came right down to it, how long would I last carrying someone else's pain or sorrow without whining and complaining?  Not very long....sorry family.

Maybe I'd carry their bags for a little ways, enough for them to catch their breath and strengthen their arms again, but at the first sight of their strength returning, you bet I'd be dumping their stuff right back on them.  I have enough trouble of my own to carry.  I don't need to carry someone else's troubles and sorrows, let alone the whole world's for all time.

(Now, I know there are many, many, many, many selfless people out there caring for handicapped loved ones, family members with severe illnesses and conditions.  But if we're really honest, no one would ever really volunteer to do it.  The care that is given by caregivers is truly miraculous, but I'm willing to say here at great risk of offending many, if you had your choice, you would not volunteer for the privilege.  I may be wrong and there may be some true selfless saints out there, but if there were another way made available, I'm sure you'd take it.  If you could choose between a life totally free of someone else's sorrow and carrying their sorrow, deep down in the honest pit of your stomach, it's ok to say, "I'd choose the easy road."  Email me at if you need to scream at me, please!)

But Jesus, this guy, this King of Kings, he gave it all up just so he COULD carry our sorrows and feel the feelings of being despised and rejected.  He gave it all up so he COULD be acquainted with our sorrows.


It certainly wasn't necessary for the Creator of the Universe to choose such a route of deliverance from sin.  He didn't have to taste an iota of pain or suffering.  He really didn't.  He is God.  He could have chosen the Superman route, just hear the cries of His people in their suffering, fly down, hold back the pillars of sin, death and destruction, pull us out, slap His hands together, say "It is finished," and swoop back up to the heavens.  He had the power to choose the course.

And He chose the suffering route?

Why on earth would He?

So whenever everyone else has left, after all those who promised to be with us through thick and thin, good and bad, rain or shine, after they've all have gone on to take care of their own sorrows and troubles, if only for a minute to catch up on paperwork or housework or a doctor's appointment, He would remain.

He was despised and rejected so that when we are despised and rejected, He's there for us.  He knows what it feels like.

He allowed himself to be familiar with sorrows so that when we are overcome with sorrows, He's there for us.  He knows what sorrow feels like.

He's familiar, well acquainted, intimate with sorrow so that when our sorrows come, He feels our pain.

A king for show, is just that, for show.  A King familiar with sorrows, yada knows our sorrow.  He doesn't always rid us of such sorrow, but He knows.

And He stays.  When all else has failed to comfort, He comforts.  When all who promised to be there have left, He remains.

He is familiar with being in human skin and because he is, He knows what you are going through.  The struggles, the pains, the joys, the heartaches, the temptations.

He, Jesus, is FAMILIAR.

Nothing you are going through surprises Him.  No - thing.  If you feel it, he's felt it. If you cry over it, he's holding you.  If you are being tempted, He's holding  the door open for a way out.  He knows what it is to be tempted, in every way, just as we are.  He lived the life.  He lives in the Believer so He knows.  He knows the temptation of PMS, gossip, lying, deceit, homosexuality, promiscuity, adultery, hatred, anger, fear, anxiety, loneliness.

The only difference:  He was without sin.  Perfection can't sin, but perfection can know the temptations and sorrows and rejection sin pours on a soul.

Perfection provides the way over, through, under, above and out of our sorrows.  Familiarity with what we go through defines the reason why a King would leave his throne to put on our skin.

He is the only way out.  The only God who provides the way out.  Jesus feels our pain, because he felt our pain.  Jesus feels our sorrows, because he felt sorrows.  Jesus feels our rejection, because he was rejected.  Jesus knows our temptations because he was tempted.

You have a God who mourns with you.  He doesn't just mourn for you, He mourns with you.

F is for Familiar.


Isaiah 53:3; John 1:11; Hebrews 4:15; John 3:17

Thoughts to chew on:
1.  What temptation(s) do you face that you believe God never faced?
2.  What hope do you gain by knowing Jesus is familiar with your sorrows and temptations?
3.  What sorrows do you face stronger now, knowing Jesus knows - yada - your sorrows?

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