A friend of mine has been going through a horrible time at work. Someone he had thought was a close colleague suddenly made a formal accusation of bullying against him. After an official investigation, my friend was found to be completely innocent, but then the other guy came up with even more accusations, and the proper process has to be gone through all over again. This has been going on for over six months, and has had an effect on my friend’s self-confidence and his health.
Sometimes it feels like there is no justice in the world. People do far worse things to one another; exploitation, ethnic cleansing, murder and rape, for example. However, many more of us will suffer frequent occasions of being let down by someone, or falsely accused of something. It hurts, particularly when the accusation comes from someone we considered a friend.
One thing we can be sure of is that God knows exactly how this feels. It’s not just that he sees into our hearts and minds; he also went through exactly the same thing himself in the person of Jesus.
- Jesus knew what it was like to have a friend betray him: one of his 12 disciples, the people he regarded as his best friends, whom he went everywhere with, turned him over to people who wanted to kill him. That man’s name was Judas.
- Jesus knew what it was like to be falsely accused of something: the Jewish priests accused him of blasphemy, but it was really because Jesus was pointing a finger at the way they behaved.
- Jesus knew what it was like to be punished for something he didn’t do. He was isolated, beaten very badly and then executed, slowly and painfully.
So Jesus knows what it’s like to suffer unfairly. We can take some comfort from that, knowing he has compassion for us.
But that’s not enough. Compassion is important, but it’s not enough on its own. (It’s no good if I feel sorry for someone who is starving; I must take do something about their lack of food).
Jesus did so much more than feel our pain. He used his own pain and his death, to triumph—and this is a triumph in which we can share. By coming back to life three days later:
- Jesus proved that death need not be the end
- Jesus showed that he had been innocent; why would God raise him otherwise?
- Jesus showed that, if we too are found innocent by God, we too can be raised to new life.
Of course, it’s hard for us to be found innocent; we are not perfect like Jesus was. But Jesus pleads our case for us in heaven; if we give our sins over to him and say sorry, the slate is wiped clean every time. And that means death doesn’t have to be the end for us, either.
Jesus knows just how painful it can be to be human for our short time on earth. But he provides the way to a perfect, eternal new life with God in heaven.
This is one of Six Big Questions
Read more about ‘How does Jesus make sense of life?’ in Six Big Questions, a 24-page A5 booklet which encourages you to ask hard questions about the Christian faith—and which offers some answers. You can download it instantly, or get it by post, for just £3.95.
Next week, we’ll consider “What does it mean to be a Christian?’
Pray: Life can be so hard, God. Unfairness, pain and tragedy seem to be everywhere. Please help me to remember that you not only understand, but that you've already done something about it. Help me to claim that freedom by understanding and accepting what you have done for me. Amen.
Think about: A feeling of injustice, of being unfairly treated, can be particularly difficult for us to bear. Why do you think that is?
Challenge: Have you ever behaved unfairly to someone else? Do you need to address that with that person, and/or with God?