As an education major, I’m required to observe elementary classrooms. I do it on Tuesdays. The majority of the class consists of boys with Autism. I love it.
Last Tuesday, I stayed for recess. As I sat in the “teacher chair,” I noticed the boys playing iPads together. A number of them sat on a large ABC rug. I decided to sit on the rug with them. Why not? I like Minecraft, too.
A couple of minutes later, one of the teachers said, “We have another student!” It was encouraging to hear.
I enjoyed it. And the boys did, too. We watched Hulu and played games. One of the boys used me as a backrest. Oh well. I reckon that’s what big boys are for. I decided to become one of them for about thirty minutes. Lowering myself to their level, I put myself in their shoes.
That’s what God did.
The Bible says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 ESV).
Paul writes, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:5-8 ESV).
This blows my mind. It amazes me to think of God placing Himself in flesh and blood. What kind of “god” does that?
Muhammad never did that. Buddha never did that. But the God of Heaven and Earth literally put Himself in our shoes through the person of Jesus Christ. It’s called the incarnation.
Why? Because humans need rescued.
Today is Good Friday. The day Christians remember the death of Jesus. And it’s the death of Jesus Christ that accomplishes the purpose of God putting Himself in our shoes. A perfect sacrifice had to be made for my sins. And your sins.
Hebrews says, “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (2:17 ESV).
I hope you take the time to understand what this verse is saying. It’s quite amazing. God humbles Himself enough to become “like his brothers.” Maybe that’s why Jesus says, “‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother’” (Matt. 12:48-50 ESV).
The writer of Hebrews describes Jesus as becoming like us in order to be a “faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” Maybe that’s why Matthew writes, “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom… .” (27:50-51 ESV).
When Jesus died, He became the perfect high priest for the forgiveness of our sins. It’s a beautiful story. The story we celebrate on Good Friday. But as you know, He doesn’t stay dead. He rises from the dead, signifying His total victory over death.
Although I tried to put myself in the shoes of those little boys, I could only do so much. I couldn’t sympathize with their struggles. And that’s what Jesus did for me and you.
The Bible says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15 ESV).
God put Himself in my shoes. In your shoes. I’m not making this up. It’s real. He gets you. He understands you. No matter what you’re facing, He has sympathy. He’s empathetic.
He’s been there. He’s done that. And let me tell you, He ultimately took care of it on that cross.
Isaiah Pauley is passionate about sharing Jesus in a simple way. Follow the journey of this young pastor at www.isaiahpauley.com, on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page, or on Instagram @isaiahpauley.