During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Nobody Knows the Trouble I Have Seen
“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…” Since 1867, the words of that song have been performed by many successful artists. However, they were originally composed and sung by struggling slaves.
Times change, but troubles don’t. Children have trouble with bullies. Adolescents have trouble with peer pressure. Adults have financial, health, relationship, and work troubles. We all have troubles because we all have sin. What we feel we may not have is someone who can empathize with us. And so, we find ourselves echoing the words of that African-American spiritual: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…”
But the song doesn’t end there. The chorus continues, “Nobody knows but Jesus.”
Does he really? Is it possible for first century Jesus to understand twenty-first century problems? Is it possible for God to understand the problems of mankind? It is, and he does. Jesus is God, but he shared fully in our humanity except for one important difference. He was without sin. He was tempted in the same ways we are. He knew sibling rivalry. He knew what it was to not be understood. He knew loneliness, poverty, and hunger. He knew sorrow and suffering. He knew betrayal and bullying. Because he himself suffered, he empathizes with us when we suffer.
And because Jesus was without sin, he was able to do something about our troubles. He submitted himself to the suffering, scorn, and shame of the cross. Because he allowed sin to crush him and he passed from death to life, he is the source of our eternal salvation. God uses death to pull us, who are connected to Jesus by faith, safely from this trouble-filled world to the trouble-free existence with him in heaven.
Lord Jesus, our Great High Priest, help us to call on you in our weakness and to sing your praises in our troubles. Amen.