Modern technology makes it easier for people to communicate without being in the same place. Virtual meetings by webcam can include coworkers who are logging in from home as well as those present at the office, and programs like Skype and FaceTime make it possible to chat on video with family and friends around the world.
These tools are useful, but they seldom replace the deep relationships that develop when people are actually face to face. In today’s passage, we see that Jesus was not content to hear about our weaknesses and sorrows from afar. He entered into them, joining us in the limitations of our humanity. Though He was rich, for our sake He became poor (2 Cor. 8:9). He was tempted, betrayed, hungry, tired, misunderstood, and falsely accused. He was subject to space and time, to frailty and ignorance, to death and taxes.
Christ comes alongside in our trials right now. The One who promises to be in our midst when we gather with a small group of His people to pray, promises to pray with us as we suffer. He mourned with Mary and Martha at the tomb of Lazarus and sorrowed over the sinenslaved residents of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). He weeps with us as we weep.
In His name, then, we enter into the sorrows of others. Paul instructs us: “Mourn with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15). Contrast this with the so-called friends of David whom he described in Psalm 38. Instead of grieving with him, they “avoid me because of my wounds” and “stay far away” (Ps. 38:11). By God’s grace, we should not stand far off in fear or disgust. In prayer, we cry out to God with those who mourn, trusting in Christ’s promise that we shall all be comforted (Matt. 5:4).