Two of the most powerful words in the English language in my humble opinion are these: "Me too." Of course, in solid American fashion, we have shortened it to "Same". Or lengthened it sometimes to "I know, right?"
No one wants to feel that they are unique. We think we do. We try to stand out and be noticed, famous, known for something that no one has thought of yet. But the truth is, we spend a lot of time looking for comaraderie. We don't want to look around and think, there isn't anyone anywhere who knows what this feels like. I'm definitely a freak. None of us wants to discover that there is something really wrong with us, that we are abnormal.
Have you ever felt that wave of relief when you begin to open up a little bit and let someone look at your trainwreck, and that person looks at you with understanding and empathy and says, "Me too"? It's like someone loosens the vice grip on your worry lines a few notches, or removes some of the rocks from the tote bag you're hauling around. A deep soul sigh goes all through you as you realize, okay. it's okay. it's not just me. other people are struggling with this too.
I sometimes wrestle with the fact that Jesus was male in his human form. I believe that he can and is able to know me intimately and that he felt what it was like to be human in every way. I believe that he saw women and heard them. He loved women and respected them in a revolutionary way. But let's face it, his human body did not carry a uterus in it. He was not a woman. Does he know what it's like? Does he truly empathize with women? Can He possibly know what a woman feels within her uniquely female emotional psyche? Can he know what it is like to be looked at by a man with evil intentions?
I've met many women who have been abused and even violently raped by a man. I've met countless more who have been impregnated and consequently abandoned by a man. Does Jesus know what that feels like? Does he know what it feels like to be cheated on by a lover?
Have you ever sat in a sanctuary, or under a camp pavilion, or even in a circle of someone's living room, and heard a message from the annointed messenger that spoke so directly to you, it burned a hole in your chest? You squirmed and looked around discreetly wondering, Who told this guy what is going on in my house? Yes, it has happened to me too. This, and some other evidences, are why I believe the answer to my previous question is yes. Jesus does know what it feels like. To be me. To be you. I believe He can genuinely say "Me too." Even to a woman.
The most obvious evidences that Jesus can empathize with us all are in his last few hours of life. He was betrayed. He was denied. He was violently abused and shamefully displayed for all to see his pain and nakedness. Beloved, he knows. He was scarred from the nape of his neck to the backs of his thighs, and from the crown of his head to the palms of his hands. He knows. He was misunderstood. He was adored and then abandoned. He birthed a whole movement of followers, who quickly fled when things got dicey. He was lied to and lied about. He was disrespected and ridiculed. He knows.
Today, another aspect of the last hours of Jesus' human life on earth resonated with me. In the garden of Gethsemane when Jesus pleaded with the Father to "take this cup from me," he empathized with all of us who have done the same. I learned from Beth Moore several years ago to physically get on my face to pray. I learned how that posture leads to a whole new level of worship, and how it powerfully connects me to Jesus' presence. It's not mystical or magic, but today I saw a glimpse of maybe why it is so powerful. Because it is what He did.
Matthew 26:37-39 reads, "[Jesus] became anguished and distressed. He told [his close friends, Peter James and John] 'My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.'
"He went a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying 'My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of sufferering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.'" (NLT)
Jesus knows what it feels like to get literally on his face before the Father and beg for relief. And he know what it feels like to hear that the answer is No, but I will be with you. He knows what it feels like to lay down his suffering at the feet of a loving King, knowing that a greater purpose of redemption will be accomplished, and that resurrection is coming.
It is coming, friend. The ultimate "Me, too." He will return to meet us in the sky and we will hear Him say,
Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus Christ,
so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
2 Corinthians 4:10 (NLT)