God knows our hearts. He understands us better than we understand ourselves because He formed us and knew us before we were even born. He continues to know us intimately because He is omniscient, and He knows all things. What a great comfort to know that He really knows us. And He cares.
I have also been considering the unique way that Jesus knows us. He knows us because He actually came to earth in a human body like ours, and He felt pain in His body and in His soul. As I was just reading about Jesus being flogged and beaten before His crucifixion, I noticed a verse for the first time: “And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and beat him on the head with it.” (Matthew 27:30)
Jesus was beaten over the head, and felt incredible pain in the same place where I struggle with pain. He was forced to wear a crown of long, sharp thorns on his head.
He could have stopped them with a single word, easily calling down fire from heaven to punish them for treating the Son of God so wrongly. But He humbled and submitted Himself to suffer degrading and undeserved pain.
His pain was very great and very real, and it also had a purpose: to set us free from our sins.
Jesus took the punishment we deserved upon Himself, because there was no other way for us to be made right with God. “He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed!” (Isaiah 53:5)
Corrie Ten Boom, recorded in The Hiding Place, how she came to realize that Jesus had been humiliated in the same way that she and Betsie were stripped of all dignity in the concentration camp. The sisters had to walk naked past a row of mocking guards for their weekly medical inspection. "It was on one of these mornings while we were waiting, shivering in the corridor, that yet another page in the Bible leapt into life for me...He hung naked on the cross. I had not known--I had not thought...the paintings, the carved cucifixes showed at least a scrap of cloth. But this, I suddenly knew, was the respect and reverence of the artist. But oh--at the time itself, on that other Friday morning--there had been no reverence. No more than I saw in the faces around us now. I leaned toward Betsie, ahead of me in line...“Betsie, they took His clothes too!” Ahead of me I heard a little gasp, "Oh, Corrie. And I never thanked Him..." (p. 178)
A deeper understanding of how Jesus identifies with our pain. He knows.
How does Jesus identify with your pain?
Jesus knows our physical suffering because He was flogged and He hung for hours on a cross. He knows our feelings of being misunderstood, betrayed, and deserted because He was falsely accused, mocked, and left all alone. He knows our struggles of deep grief because He had those feelings Himself. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He was “filled with anguish and deep distress.” He told James and John, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” (Matthew 26:37-38)
“But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and fill him with grief.” (Isaiah 53:10) All that Jesus experienced and suffered was part of our Father’s good and perfect plan for him.
The LORD’s good and perfect plan included Jesus’suffering and sacrifice because of their great love for us. We will never fully understand this sacrifice, but isn’t it amazing to catch just a glimpse of what this love for us meant for Jesus?
“It was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he 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)
“All praise to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us.” (Revelation 1:5)
Jesus knows us.
Jesus loves us.
Jesus set us free.