Comparing Jesus’ experience leading up to Easter with your child’s experience before his death, there might be many parallels. Certainly, the central person in each story died – Jesus and your child. But how about other parallels? Jesus’ skin was pierced by sharp spears. Maybe your child had to endure piercings from needles and other hospital devices. Helpful, beneficial medical intervention can be similar to torture in some ways! Certainly some kids react to needles like it is torture! Jesus and your child suffered in similar ways. Jesus was mocked. Some of your children might have been bullied. Similar. Jesus felt totally abandoned. His friends withdrew from him and His Father “forsook” him. Your child might have felt the same thing – abandoned by friends who felt he was too different because of his illness – abandoned by you since you couldn’t make him better – and you might have felt abandoned because your prayers for healing seemed to fall on deaf ears and were not being answered. Similar.
What can we learn from these parallelisms? Jesus knows what it’s like to suffer physical pain. He also knows mental and spiritual anguish. You probably felt some of these things too. There is the pain that the separation of death enforces. Jesus knows the suffering of being separated from the One He most loved.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15
Jesus is our priest, the highest priest. He represents us before the Lord God Almighty. He made a sacrifice for sin that covers us all, everything any of us have ever done. And He represents God to us. We can talk with Him as if we are talking with the Father, but without any intimidation we might feel when we think about talking with the God of all gods! We can come to Him as we would go to a person whom we felt truly understands us. Because He does; because he has been through it all. Including all the troubles your grief generates. He has been through it all.
Because of the similarities and parallels of experience, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
I love those words – mercy, grace, help, confidence. You may come close to the One whose heart knows the hurts of your own heart as if He’d been there. Come close.