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.
“How do I know that God loves me and that he even cares about about my pain, suffering, and trials?’ This question has been asked of me many times over the years by many a hurting soul. My pastoral work takes me in and among the grieving, discouraged, and stricken on a constant basis. They often struggle with doubts over God’s love and care in the midst of their unexpected loss and sudden tragedies.
I remind the hurting that we know that God loves us for he did not remain aloof in heaven. God does not look at our pain from a distance and send us “well wishes.” No, God the Father sent his Son to take on our human flesh, saturate himself in our struggles, and bear our pain. God the Son entered our fallen, tragic world and experienced all our suffering while bearing our sin and shame.
Jesus came among us “miserable failures” to display, reveal, and release the love of God in our lives. God never stayed aloof.
The Son of God did not stay in the safe immunity of his heaven, remote from human sin and tragedy. He actually entered our world. He emptied himself of his glory and humbled himself to serve. He took our nature, lived our life, endured our temptations, experienced our sorrows, felt our hurts, bore our sins and died our death. He penetrated deeply into our humanness. He never stayed aloof from the people he might have been expected to avoid.
He made friends with the dropouts of society. He even touched untouchables. He could not have become more one with us than he did. It was the total identification of love . . . Yet when Christ identified with us, he did not surrender or in any way alter his own identity. For in becoming one of us, he yet remained himself. He became human, but without ceasing to be God.
Now he sends us into the world, as the Father sent him into the world. In other words, our mission is to be modeled on his. Indeed, all authentic mission is incarnational mission. It demands identification without loss of identity. It means entering other people’s worlds, as he entered ours, though without compromising our Christian convictions, values or standards.
John Stott, The Contemporary Christian (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 357.