The parable of the wedding feast. Paying taxes. On the seashore fishing with the disciples. Sitting at the dinner table in homes. Stopping along the road to help someone. The buildings of the temple complex. A lesson from the fig tree. Grain fields. Masters and servants. Investment of funds. So long ago, yet the concepts and relationships and stuff of these stories are all familiar. They are familiar because God has come into our world. Jesus has met us here where we are. He talked about things we know. He met people in situations that we understand. In essence, he has eaten at our tables, he has walked in front of our houses, he has worked alongside us. And lest I forget, he was tempted, even as we are tempted, but did not sin.
And as the story moves quickly toward his arrest, suffering, death, and resurrection, all this is a reminder that we have a Savior who, “since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Heb 2:18). And, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:15,16). He has come into our world and into our lives. He has lived our lives! He understands us! He is not far from us. What a Savior! Frank Mason North’s hymn recalls the real world nature, the real humanness of Jesus and his compassion for us.
Where cross the crowded ways of life,
where sound the cries of race and clan,
above the noise of selfish strife,
we hear your voice, O Son of Man.
In haunts of wretchedness and need,
on shadowed thresholds fraught with fears,
from paths where hide the lures of greed,
we catch the vision of your tears.
From tender childhood’s helplessness,
from human grief and burdened toil,
from famished souls, from sorrow’s stress,
your heart has never known recoil. -- Frank Mason North (1905)