A Glimpse into God’s Feelings

After our study on Judas at a recent Thursday night service, one of the participants commented, “Jesus had to be betrayed by Judas in order to be able to fully identify with the human experience,  because two of the hardest emotions for humans are rejection and betrayal.” Maybe Jesus had to experience these through Judas to go through the depths of the negative emotions we humans go through?

Phillip Yancey shares that during Holy Week we get a glimpse into God’s feelings. In the Old Testament we see the conflict raging within God. On the one hand He passionately loves His people. On the other hand, God had a terrible urge to destroy the evil that enslaved them.  In the New Testament, we see what happened when God “learned” to be human. Whatever we feel God felt. Instinctively we want a God who not only knows about pain, but shares in it; we want a God who is affected by our own pain. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote on a note in a Nazi concentration camp, “Only the Suffering God can help.”

In Jesus we have such a God.  Hebrews reports that God can now sympathize with our weaknesses.  The very word sympathy comes from two Greek words; sym  & pathos, meaning “suffer with.”  In Jesus, God understands our feelings of disappointment with God. How else can we interpret Jesus’ tears or cry from the cross? Questions of God’s seeming unfairness, silence, and hiddenness laden in that dreadful plea: “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken Me?” 

Just as we are not exempt from the tragedies of this world, God was not exempt.  The reason Jesus submitted to all the atrocities of the unjust trial, scourging, beatings and murder via crucifixion, was to become one of us –to live and die as one of us.  It was the only way God could work within the rules He had set up at Creation.  On the Cross God resolved the inner conflict of hating sin and loving us as God’s Son absorbed the destructive force of sin and transformed it into love.  In Jesus on the cross both Deity and humanity are represented and healed.

–By Rev. Dr. William Lewis