Jesus Felt the Rage of Racism

Have you ever felt mad?

Have you ever felt mad at somebody else?

Have you ever felt mad at somebody else because they are Black, Asian, Hispanic, or White?

Whether or not we would admit it, I think we all have.  And in light of the recent shooting of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the police officers in Dallas, I think it is evident to anybody who has logged into Facebook and Twitter recently that a lot of racist feelings have been stirred up in a lot of people.

I know I've struggled with such feelings over the years.  Heck, I get those feelings even now.  The 24-hour news cycle practically beats them out of me.

There are few things that pull on our heart strings more than racial strife.  Whether we like it or not, so much of our personal identity is bound up in our racial identity, and it doesn't take much to rattle our cages when it comes to issues surrounding race.

And if we can't admit such honestly to ourselves, either we are one of the most saintly people to ever walk the face of the Earth, or we are lying.  Personally, I don't believe there is a person alive who hasn't felt something of this anger, hate, and rage towards another person because of their race.

Including Jesus.  

Yes, you heard me right, even the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten sinless Son of God, Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, has felt something of this poison that festers in our hearts.

The Bible says:
"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  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."  ~ (Hebrews 4:14-16, NASB)
There isn't anything you and I have ever felt that Jesus Himself hasn't personally felt and been tempted with.  He is been tempted in "ALL THINGS."  And that includes the anger and feelings of racism that bubble up and overflow in you and I.  Of course, He felt these things and did not sin.  But He felt them just the same.  And Jesus didn't just feel them in some abstract ghostly or theological sense.  He felt them in His own flesh and blood, in the real world.

Racism was a major problem in the times of Christ.   The Jewish people, whom He was a part of, had lived for several hundred years in the land God promised to them, under the military occupation of the Roman Empire.

The Jews of Jesus day deeply resented the Romans, and for many legitimate reasons.  For example, the ancient Jewish historian Josephus tells us that about the times of Christ, in order to make an example to the Jews of the might and power of Rome, and to beat their spirits into submission, over 3,000 Jews were crucified and hung out along a major highway.   Such made them  no friends with any Jews to say the least.  And there is the distinct possibility Jesus might have witnessed this event firsthand.  But if He didn't witness it with His own eyes, it is definitely an event He heard told and retold a thousand times during His life, and would one day experience personally, as Jesus Himself suffered at the hands of police brutality.

And I don't know about you, but if I were a Jew in that day and saw 3,000 of my own people killed in such a way, such an event might make me more than a tad bit racist against Romans... especially officers in the Roman military.

Jesus Christ lived, moved, and breathed in such a culture.  A culture in which there were not only 10,000 stories that circulated about "police brutality" that were absolutely true, but there would have been 10,000 times as many stories that were rumored to be true.  Every individual Jew would have taken all these stories to heart.  And Jesus would've felt what they felt too.

But He remained without sin.

Exactly how He did it, I do not know.  But I do know that the Bible says that He was tempted in all things that we are tempted, and yet He remained without sin.  So that gives me some hope not only for me, but for you too.  And the Scriptures promise us that if we boldly approach His throne of grace, we will find the help we need in the midst of our struggles and strife in everyday life.

I believe in the midst of the racial difficulties we are seeing presently in our nation, right now, more than ever, we need to make sure that we put this passage into actual practice.  We need to draw near to God.  We need to get help from the very One who knows how to help us deal with the problems we are facing, and the feelings that are stirring in our hearts.  I don't know how to deal with those problems, but I know He does.

I know I am in need of much help.  I hope you see yourself in need of the same help too.

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