If we were to take an expedition in time to the first century in a search for Jesus, what would you expect to find? Do you expect to find a person who was no different than you and I? The scriptures say:
“Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. He then could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:17-18).
We may balk at the idea of Jesus experiencing all that we face today. But the scriptures show Jesus in such a light when we carefully pay attention to the details of Jesus life.
The genealogy of Jesus shows he had a background like us. We do not read of Jesus ancestors being perfect people, but scoundrels we would try to hide. Jesus had a person who played the harlot (Tamar) and whose occupation was harlotry in his lineage (Rahab). Jesus had an adulterer and murderer in his background (David). Do you have black sheep in your family? Jesus understands.
Jesus birth and upbringing certainly did not bring the fanfare that we typically visualize. After childbirth, a woman was to make a sacrifice for purification (Leviticus 12:6-8). Joseph and Mary brought the sacrifice of a poor family, two doves or two young pigeons, unable to afford a lamb (Luke 2:22-24). Jesus grew up in a town that was recognized for its inability to be useful in society. Nathaniel declared, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46). Are you poor? Did you grow up not having everything you wanted? Was your childhood difficult? Jesus understands.
Jesus occupation certainly did not win the peoples hearts. He was merely a craftsman, a carpenter. This was a stumbling block for people in the first century. “Isnt this the carpenter? Isnt this Marys on and the brothers of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Arent his sisters here with us? And they took offense at him” (Mark 6:3). Do you work a job that is not glamorous? Does your occupation cause people to roll their eyes? Jesus understands.
Jesus appearance is certainly what we visualize. We have paintings and movies depicting Jesus as a handsome man, tall and ruddy, such that would command the attention of the people. However, the scriptures tell us Jesus was nothing to look at. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). Origen, a third-century historian, records, “his body was small and ill-shapen and ignoble.” Perhaps your looks leave something to be desired. Jesus understands.
Further, Jesus understands the stresses and problems of daily living. Have you ever needed to get away? Jesus understands (Mark 1:35). Have your time demands been so great that you did not have time to eat? Jesus understands (Mark 6:31). Do you feel like every person demands your attention and your time? Jesus understands (Matthew 15:30). Do you have family problems and conflicts? Can you imagine what the dinner table was like for 30 years since Jesus brothers did not believe in him (John 7:5)? Have you heard people slander your reputation and actions? Jesus understands (Matthew 11:19). Have your friends let you down? Jesus was let down by his friends (Matthew 26:40, 56). In every respect Jesus has gone through the suffering, problems, and temptation we endure today.
We have no better friend to rely upon that Jesus. Not only has he gone through what we go through, he can also help us in our time of need (Hebrews 2:17-18). Hebrews 2:16 says, “For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but to help the seed of Abraham.” Jesus does not help out just anyone. He did not come to help angels. Jesus helps those who are the seed of Abraham. Who is the seed of Abraham? Galatians 3:29 tells us who are the seed of Abraham: “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abrahams seed, and heirs according to the promise.” To receive Jesus help, we must belong to Christ, making us the seed of Abraham. How do we belong to Christ? Paul said how two verses earlier in Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Immersion in water makes us Christs. Belonging to Christ means we are Abrahams seed and are able to receive the help Jesus has to offer. You have never had a better friend than Jesus.