If I asked people what they had in common with Jesus, I would likely get some strange looks. Depending on their personal opinion of who Jesus is and what Jesus is like, not many people would readily identify with him. If you’ve been to church or read the Bible, you’re aware that there has never been anyone like him. He routinely did things and said things that none of the rest of us are capable of: healing people, turning water into wine, and consistently outwitting the smartest minds of his time- not to mention the small detail of coming back to life after being dead. As good as we might perceive ourselves to be, none of us can compete with that kind of resume.
But you might have more in common with Jesus than you realize. Or maybe my thoughts are better expressed this way: Jesus has a lot in common with you. In fact, Jesus knows exactly what it’s like to be you.
There’s a chapter in the Old Testament book of Isaiah that backs up my thoughts. In this chapter, Isaiah looks forward hundreds of years in time and predicts the type of life Jesus would live, and when you read what Isaiah wrote, I think you’ll see some similarities between Jesus’ life experiences and your own.
In order for the rest of this to make sense, you should read what Isaiah wrote. I’ve inserted a link that will take you to the chapter. Take a minute to read, then come back. You can find the chapter here.
Not exactly the kind of life you’d expect a Messiah to live, is it? In fact, the things that happened to Jesus are some of the same things that happen to us. For instance:
Jesus was overlooked. He lived among the people in plain sight, yet there was nothing about him that caught anyone’s attention. Do you feel ignored, unimportant, or forgotten? Do you feel like no matter how hard you try to be noticed, no one really sees you? Jesus knows exactly how that feels.
Jesus was unappreciated. He was looked down on and treated like scum. Jesus’ heart broke for people, and he drove himself to exhaustion helping them. But no one seemed to notice the time and effort he gave. Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever gone the extra mile, given more than your share, or sacrificed your time and money, yet no one noticed, and no one said thank you? Jesus knows how that feels.
Jesus was misunderstood. Some thought he was crazy. Some thought he was dangerous. They laughed at him and made fun of him and rejected him because they didn’t understand him. They thought his suffering and death were the consequences of something he did wrong. No one understood him. Maybe that describes you, too. Maybe you feel like no one really understands your heart, and no one is even trying to understand. Jesus knows what that feels like.
Jesus was rejected. Some tried to stone him. The religious leaders constantly hounded him and plotted to kill him. Others just wanted to benefit from his miracles. His only friends ran away and denied they even knew him when he was arrested. He was cut off, turned out, and sent away. Is this your story too? Have you been rejected by friends or family because of something that was out of your control? Jesus can identify.
Jesus was punished for something that someone else did. Jesus was punished for our wrongdoing. He did nothing wrong, he said nothing wrong, and yet he was given the blame. Sound familiar? Nothing stings quite like being blamed and punished for something that we didn’t do. Jesus knows all about it.
Jesus knows what it’s like to be you. He is not a stranger to rejection, pain, unjust punishment, or being misunderstood. He’s already faced what you’re facing, he has experienced what you are experiencing, and he knows how to help you through the hard places of your life. You have more in common than you think.