Someone Who Understands
This is the beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. ~ Mark 1:1
One day a store owner put a sign in his big store window. On that sign, in bright red letters, were the words “Puppies for sale.” Now, the store owner knew that signs like that tend to draw small children, and sure enough, within an hour the owner notice a little boy, his face pressed up the glass of the big window. His little chubby hands were cupped around his eyes which were eagerly scanning for those puppies.
With a smile on his lips, the store owner went out to the young boy and asked, “Can I help you?” The little boy looked up with his big brown eyes, and asked, “Yes sir, how much are you selling the puppies for?”
The store owner scratched at his salt and peppered color hair and said, “Well, I’m selling my puppies for $25 a piece.” With that, the little boy dug into his pants pocket and pulled out all of his money. After a quick count, the little boy looked back up, sadness written across his round face. He only had a dollar and some cents.
Sorrow filling his voice, the little boy asked if he could at least see the puppies. Wanting
to cheer the little boy up, the store owner said, “Why sure!” And sticking his stubby fingers in his mouth, he whistled. Within seconds, a beautiful golden retriever came bounding out of the back of the store and with her were 5 little orange balls of fur bouncing at her feet.
But behind the mother and her five playful puppies was a sixth puppy. This puppy was struggling to come forward and seemed to be dragging itself along the dirty cement floor of the store. The little boy immediately focused on this sixth puppy and asked the store owner, “What’s wrong with that one?”
Regret filled the store owner’s ocean blue eyes as he started, “Well, that’s a sad story. You see that puppy was born without a hip bone and it will always be crippled and lame.” Instantly the boy seemed to be energized.
Nearly jumping out of his skin, the boy excitedly shouted, “Oh sir, please let me buy that puppy. Please! I’ll give all this money to you and I’ll work in the store to pay the rest. I’ll be a real good worker. I promise! Please sir, let me buy that puppy!”
The store owner was understandably confused, and he told the boy, “Listen, son, if you want to work to buy a puppy. Buy one of the healthy puppies. Buy a puppy that can run and jump and play, that can do everything puppies should do.” Pointing to the lame puppy, the store owner added, “That one will never be able to run and jump and play like the other puppies.”
The little boy, however, was not persuaded. Again, he begged the store owner to take him on so that he could work to pay for that puppy.
Seeing that he could not change the boy’s mind, the store owner said, “Okay, listen. If you really want that puppy, I’ll just give him to you. You don’t need to pay $25 for a crippled puppy. It’s not worth that much. Take him, he’s yours.”
The store owner thought the little boy would be ecstatic at this, but the little boy said nothing in response. Instead, he bent over slightly and began to roll up one of his pant legs. After a moment, the leg was almost totally exposed. It was badly twisted and deformed. Even the shadow it cast against the gray brick of the storefront seemed unnatural
The little boy looked back up at the store owner and said, “Sir, I can’t run and jump and play like the other little boys and girls, so I know what it’s like. I know what it’s like not to be able to do all the things other little boys and girls can do. And I know this puppy’s gonna need someone who understands that. So I want to buy that puppy, because I want that puppy to always have someone in his life that understands. And I want to pay full price for that puppy because I believe that puppy is worth just as much as all the other puppies.”
This story is a powerful illustration of why Jesus came to earth. You see, one day, Jesus peeked through the window of heaven and He saw the whole human race. God had created us to be able to run and jump and play and to do all the many things He created us to do. But sin entered in, through Adam and Eve, and crippled God’s great creation. We could no longer run and jump and play like God intended. Sin had made us lame. Our problems, struggles, and trials had crippled us. We were in desperate shape.
But there was Jesus, looking through the window of heaven, knowing that we needed someone who understood. So He came. He threw off His robes of majesty and splendor in heaven, and put on frail and feeble flesh. He left the adoration and glory of heaven to be born in a stable, to sleep in a cow trough, and to be raised by peasants.
Hebrews 2:14-18 says, Because God's children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. We all know that Jesus came to help the descendants of Abraham, not to help the angels. Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. He then 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.
What is the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God? The good news is that Jesus became flesh and blood, so that, among other vitally important things, we could know that there is Someone who understands us in our weakness, and our struggles, and our temptations.
For instance: Have you ever been scared or frightened? Jesus has. The Bible tells us that Jesus was so scared the night before He was crucified that He burst capillaries in His forehead and sweat blood. Jesus knows what it is like to fear and to be in anguish. He went through it, so that you and I could know, in our own fear and anguish, that we have someone who understands.
Have you ever been teased, laughed at, taunted, or made fun of? Jesus has. The Bible tells us that Jesus’ own half-brothers mocked His claim to be the Son of God. The Bible tells us that after Jesus was arrested the arresting soldiers mocked him. After Jesus was given over to the Romans, the Roman soldiers taunted Him. And as Jesus hung on the cross, the Pharisees and others hurled insults at Him. Yes, Jesus knows what it is like to be taunted, mocked, and teased. And He went through it, so that you and I could know, when we are taunted and mocked, that we have Someone who understands us.
Have you ever been betrayed or stabbed in the back? Jesus has. The Bible tells us that one of Jesus’ own disciples, Judas, betrayed Jesus and handed Him over to the Sanhedrin for just thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave. Jesus knows what it is like to be betrayed by someone He loved and cared for. And He went through it, so that you and I could know, that we have Someone who understands.
Have you ever been abandoned or felt alone or lonely? Jesus has. The Bible tells us that on the night Jesus was arrested, all of His disciples left Him (and this was after they vowed to never leave His side.) When He needed them most, His closest friends fled leaving Him to suffer all alone. Jesus knows what is it is like to be abandoned and alone. And He went through it, so that you and I could know that we have Someone who understands.
Have you ever been hurt, hit, or abused? Jesus has. The Bible tells us that before His crucifixion Jesus was punched, kicked, and spit on. He had a crown of sharp thorns jammed onto His head. He was whipped with a leather strap that had pieces of bone and metal sewn into it, so that when it ripped across the back, it would tear the skin wide open. Jesus had metal spikes driven into His wrists and feet. These spikes held Him to a cross where He slowly suffocated to death over a period of six hours. Yes, Jesus knows what it is like to hurt. And He went through it, so that you and I could know that we have Someone who understands.
Have you ever been tempted? Jesus has. The Bible says that Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. And though weakened by forty days of fasting, Jesus did not give into temptation. Jesus went through that temptation and overcame, so that we could know, in the middle of our temptations, that He who is in us is greater than is in the world. (1 John 4:4) And we, too, can overcome.
What is the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God? The good news is that Jesus saw humanity through the window of heaven. He saw God’s creation no longer able to run and jump and play as God intended, and said, “Father, these people desperately need Someone who understands.”
And so Jesus came in the flesh, and lived life, so we could have Someone who understood. That life then led Him to the cross where He showed how much we were worth to Him. Because even though our sins and struggles and problems made us crippled and lame, Jesus paid full price for us. Imagine, though we are crippled and lame because of sin, Jesus gave up His life for us. We are worth the price of God’s own Son.
Jesus’ last words on the cross were, “It is finished.” Do you know what that phrase literally means? It literally means, “Paid in full.” Jesus paid full price for us. Jesus gave up His life for us, and this is where the analogy with my email story ends. Because, you see, that little boy could never make that puppy be able to run and jump and play.
But Jesus, because of His death and resurrection, because He faced death and won, because He defeated sin and death and the grave at the cross, made it possible for us to be whole again. We can be forgiven. We can be freed from the sins that so cripple us. We can, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, run and jump and play again as God intended.
That is the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Is there any better news than that?