Because Jesus (Part 4): Empathy

#1 Watch or Listen To "Because Jesus: Empathy"

Consider this Sunday morning’s lesson. You can listen here:

Or watch here [video will be posted by Monday each week]:

What stuck out to you as interesting?

Did you encounter any challenging or re-orienting truth?


#2 Get Me?

Have you ever felt misunderstood or unknown? Think of a time when someone thought they understood you but didn't. Share with the group. How does that make you feel?

Similarly, have you ever received advice from someone who had NO IDEA what you were going through? A Work advice, parenting advice, weight loss advice, money advice, etc...

  • How does that kind of advice differ from the advice you get from people who've experienced what you're experiencing?
  • How do you feel when you're going through something difficult and someone with similar experience reaches out to you?


#3 Him, Too

The reading before the sermon this week came from Matthew 4 and Luke 4, both accounts of the temptation of Christ. Read one of them again with your small group (either Matt 4:1-11 OR Luke 4: 1-13).

Why do you think we started THIS sermon with THESE verses? Is this a story about empathy?

How does it make you feel to know Jesus was hungry when he fasted?

Consider other emotions/longings/desires/disappointments/etc. Jesus must have felt while he was alive on earth. Make a list.

Read Hebrews 2:18: "Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."

Why do you think Jesus being tempted helps him help us?

Have you ever connected with someone who struggles with a temptation like the one with which you most often struggle? How does it feel to talk (and listen) to someone like that? Share.


#4 Human Much?

It's important for us to realize, to fully and totally understand, that Jesus was a human--like us.

Consider these thoughts from blogger Chris Greer:

If God, like dads in monkey suits and Santa costumes, was just pretending to be human, then he only pretended to experience what we do. It means he pretended to be a baby. He pretended to be helpless. He pretended to grow. He pretended to endure adolescence. He pretended to be tempted. He pretended to feel sorrow, anger and amazement, and he pretended to need food, water and rest.

So what? Why does all this pretending or not pretending matter?

It matters because of this: the crux of Christian belief is that Jesus showed us what human life in perfect relationship with our Creator can be like.

Jesus, as a human, lived the perfect life we couldn’t, died the death we deserve, and was raised by God to new human life, and in doing so, showed the same is possible for us.

So, if he didn’t actually experience a human relationship with God, real human death, and a real bodily resurrection, then how can we ever believe we will experience it? If he hasn’t done it, then there’s no proof we can. If Jesus’ life was an act, then his promise is only a theory.

What do you think?

  • Is it hard to imagine Jesus as a human?
  • Have you been guilty of picturing Jesus as just pretending to be a human?
  • Does it matter?



Watch Brenee Brown's TED talk on Empathy (as told via an adorable cartoon):

What is empathy, according to Brown?

Did/does Jesus show empathy to humans?

How does empathy extended in our direction make us feel?


#6 So What?

How does this divine empathy affect us, practically speaking?

How will you act differently because you know Jesus understands you?

  • How will you pray?
  • How will you react when you're tempted?
  • How will you react when you sin?
  • How does Jesus' human experience affect the way we grieve?
  • The way we handle pain?
  • The way we relate to difficult people?
  • The way we wait?
  • The way we handle disappointment?

What can Jesus offer you, do for you, feel with you because he was human?