Central Thought: Jesus understands us because He suffered like us.
I. We need to be understood.
II. Jesus becoming human and living among us solves several otherwise unsolvable problems: justice, empathy/understanding, and modeling.
How could God understand our condition?
III. What does it mean to be the Son of Man?
A. Son of Man is a rich tapestry of images which defy classification.
B. Jesus understands us because He suffered.
C. Jesus understand us because He faced what we face.
A. Go to Christ for understanding.
B. Having been understood, seek to understand.
1) Can you remember a time when you knew that someone really understood you at deep and profound levels? If you feel comfortable doing so, would you share that story?
Why is understanding and empathy such a big deal?
2) Have you ever had someone offer empathy in such a way that it actually made things worse?
(Like, “Oh, I know what your cancer is like. I once had a hang nail. It was really hard. I know just how you feel.”)
In your experience, what emotion typically rises up inside you in response to such an offer?
3) Can you really understand someone’s circumstance if you haven’t lived through it? Why or why not?
4) What is the difference between sympathy and empathy?
Have you ever had someone try to “right size” your pain by putting it in perspective for you? (Like, “Oh, you lost your job, but at least you have your health.”
Did you feel better?
5) Do you appeal to Jesus knowing He understands what you are facing?
How often do you turn to Jesus for understanding and empathy?
How much of your reality do you bring before His eyes, or before His heart?
6) What keeps you from going to Jesus more often? What barriers keep you from making this a regular habit (if it isn’t your practice)?
7) How has God allowed you to experience pain, suffering, and loss?
Are you able to extend understanding, compassion, and empathy for those who have had similar experiences?
8) Do you ever go back into the pain God led you out of?
If not, why not? Could you redeem the pain and loss through extending compassion, sympathy, or empathy to others?