Summary: A wonderful invitation for the times when we feel "God-forsaken"
Does Jesus Care? Heb. 4:15
INTRO.: Sometimes, when we suffer deeply, we are led to wonder if God cares about our suffering. The songwriter, Frank E. Graeff was led to ask, “Does Jesus Care?” His verses ask question after question about God’s concern for our needs, but the answer does not come until the chorus. (Words to the verses follow the sermon.)
(Quote from verses of the hymn.)
The writer of Hebrews says, “Yes, He cares and He knows what we are going through.”
I. Have you ever felt like God had abandoned you?
A. ILLUS.: Mother and the "God forsaken hole."
1. I grew up in a beautiful little valley in southeastern Pennsylvania. Enormous oak trees, spring-fed streams you could drink from. Wild flowers in the spring, glorious fall color. Good neighbors, etc.
2. Yet, to my mother, who couldn’t drive and lacked many conveniences others had, it was a “God-forsaken hole.”
B. Sometimes we feel God cannot understand us:
1. He is different. He is God.
2. He is incapable of feeling my grief. If He could feel it, why does He allow it?
3. He lives in Paradise. Everyone there worships Him. There He knows no pain.
C. This could not be further from the truth: Heb. 4:13
1. The standard of behavior is His Word and it is sharper than any double edged sword.
2. ILLUS.: Roman soldiers carried a short, heavy sword into combat for close up fighting. It was kept razor sharp.
3. God’s Word is even sharper. It is not for killing, but for discerning thoughts and attitudes.
4. He will neither leave nor forsake you. Heb. 13:5, 6.
II. In Jesus, He has suffered all we suffer:
A. He felt temptation: Mark 1:13
1. He was tempted, not just the three times Matthew records, but the entire forty days.
2. Who knows what hardships and fears He faced?
3. Mark stresses He was not alone. Satan was there, angels were present, wild animals threatened.
B. He felt grief: He wept at tomb of Lazarus. John 11:35
1. He also suffered the loss of loved ones. He had lost His foster father and his beloved cousin, John.
2. In spite of knowing He would bring Lazarus back, He wept because He felt the sorrow of others.
3. He felt emotional pain in Gethsemane:
C. He even felt God-forsaken. Matt. 27:46
1. We know God did not forsake Him. God raised Him from the dead. He felt this ultimate grief so He could understand ours.
2. This is a terrible feeling for us, but, imagine how He, the Son of God, must have felt.
D. Yet, in all of it He never sinned:
1. He was tempted far beyond any temptation we face because He never gave up, never folded.
2. He was God’s anointed and God’s afflicted.
3. He knows sin’s seductive power as none of us has ever known it. We usually give in long before Satan throws his worst at us.
III. Our text includes a wonderful invitation to us: Approach the throne of grace with confidence:
1. God is sympathetic because He has suffered as a human everything humans suffer.
2. He is merciful because He understands the power of temptation. He forgives, for He understands.
3. He is able to help because He has traveled the same road we walk. He knows the way.