Sympathy

Sympathy. Sym-pathy: literally, to suffer with.

Sympathy is entering the experience of sorrow with another and experiencing their suffering.

Our Savior is perfect in sympathy. In all our afflictions He is afflicted.

Jesus feels our feelings

Our great high priest is able to sympathize with our weakness.

Hebrews 4:15

Christ comes to our weakness to suffer with us.

He is Jesus Christ the sympathizer.

Phillips notes:

Jesus knows not only our nature but our needs.

We come boldly to His throne of grace, to obtain mercy, and to find grace to help in time of need

In Old Testament times the Israelite could not approach the Holy of Holies where God was enthroned, for that was the sole, annual prerogative of the high priest.

But now we can approach the throne of grace at any time,
as often as we need,
whenever we have a need,
knowing that our needs are fully known to our priest
and will be met with mercy and grace.

We have a compassionate priest

Our Lord Jesus is perfect priest
He understands us.

He understands human nature, not just academically & theoretically

Not simply omnisciently as God, but experientially.

No angel can function as a priest for us.

Angelic beings can study our faults and follies, just as we study plants and animals.

But, having not entered into human life by way of birth, they cannot appreciate our problems and needs.

The Lord Jesus is for us, as He perfectly can feel us. He was tempted in every way but is sinless.

Christ can enter into the pressures and problems of human life, yet without ever having sinned Himself.

The Lord Jesus stooped to grapple with the problem of sin, and He has solved it 2 Cor. 5:21

Christ is a real priest by His name, by His nearness, and by His nature.

Gold is repeatedly refined, put into the crucible, heated into a molten state, the dross skimmed away. At last the refiner was satisfied. The gold was pure.

But there is one more step. Before it could be stamped with the official seal, it had to go to the assayer.
The gold is put in the crucible and heated it to its melting point.

Why does it get heated again?
Is he going to refine it further?
No, this crucible is not to see if it has any impurities to be removed.
This crucible and fire is to demonstrate that the gold is indeed pure

In Hebrews 10, speaks of the believers who

“had compassion [sympatheo] on those in prison”

Heb. 10:34

John Bunyan’s long years in Bedford Jail were productive!

He didn’t spend his time pacing the floor,

He didn’t gaze into space, working himself into passions of rage or fits of despair.

Instead, he took his pen and began to write in compassionate sympathy:

He wrote:

As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place, where was a Den;
and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and as I slept I dreamed a Dream.

I dreamed, and behold I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place,
with his face from his own house, a Book in his hand & a great burden upon his back.

His cell became “a den” from which he wrote one of the greatest classics of all times,
The Pilgrim’s Progress, a book which, in former years, was a best seller second only
to the Bible itself.

He wrote from a heart of sympathy

Our sympathizing Christ lives through His sympathetic people.

In Christ, we are to live as those who suffer with.

J. C. Ryle writes,

Sympathy is far better than money, and far rarer too.

Thousands may give who don’t know what it is to feel.

Sympathy has the greatest power to draw us and to open our hearts.

Cold advice can make us shut up, shrink, and withdraw into ourselves,

Genuine sympathy touches our feelings

I’d prefer friend who, is poor in funds but rich in sympathizing”

We need genuine sympathy to open our heart and draw out our feelings.

As we hear prayer requests & offer prayer itself we’re crying for our Lord to hear & answer in sympathy.

We need more sympathy.

We need Jesus Christ to be sympathetic through us

Who can we sympathize with?

And how can we grow in sympathizing more?

Adapted from Joel Hart

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