Jesus knows what it is like to suffer.
Especially when it comes to suffering through what appears to be unanswered prayer.
Jesus prayed with loud cries and tears to the one who could rescue him from death. And the Bible says that God answered him.
This is directly talking about the night before his death in Gethsemane. His spirit was so distraught that as he cried out in prayer to God that he sweated drops of blood. He prayed that there might by another way, but he would go through anything that was God’s will.
If you took snapshots of the events that happened after those prayers, you’d wonder if God really answered Jesus.
He was arrested.
Put on a mock trial.
Tried by Pilate and found innocent.
Given over by Pilate to be crucified.
Nailed to a cross.
Breathed his last.
Had a spear thrust through his side.
Buried in a tomb.
If you saw all of these snapshots in succession, you’d say, “God didn’t answer Jesus’ prayer. God didn’t rescue him from death. He led him right into death.”
But there is one more snapshot to see.
The stone rolled away and the tomb empty.
Jesus empathizes with suffering. He empathizes with what seems to be unanswered prayers. He empathizes with snapshots that look like death.
And maybe there is where you are. Snapshot after snapshot after snapshot. Does God really answer prayer? Does God really rescue from death? Does God really care?
The whole point is that he knows what it looks like to hold out for just one more snapshot. The one that allows us to say, “Yes! God does answer prayer!”
Because with Jesus who emapthizes, it gives us the opportunity to approach places we shouldn’t be able to approach.