Infinite Empathy

by Ty Gibson  |  December 4, 2017

Emotions are a mysterious phenomenon. Think about it. A person’s smile has the power to make you feel something pleasant inside. A person’s tears can throw you into tears with them even before you know why they’re crying. The mere fact that another human being is happy or sad somehow impacts your own state of being. Emotions are invisible links of identification with the experiences of others.

How strange.

Or maybe not.

Actually, the fact that we are emotional beings tells us something astonishing and wonderful. We can reason it through like this: If God is love, and if love is the capacity to empathize with others, well then, we are most like God when we feel the feelings of others. It is also true, then, that we are least like God when we are insensitive to what others are experiencing.

At this time of year, we are thinking about the most astounding thing that has ever happened in all of universal history: God “became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). What was the incarnation of God in Christ but the most infinite display of empathy imaginable?! In the person of Jesus Christ, God revealed that He is in complete emotional solidarity with the hurts and woes of the human race.

Watch God in Christ fall facedown to the ground, weeping in prayer, and you see God accurately.

Describing the empathy of God in Christ, Scripture says that He was “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15, KJV). Then, pulling aside the veil to show us what He went through in Gethsemane, we are told that He “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears” (Hebrews 5:7).

But when God became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ, this wasn’t merely a one-off event, before which and after which God was impervious to our feelings. The incarnation was, rather, a revelation of God’s essential and eternal character. By coming all the way down and entering into complete union with us, He was simply and profoundly following through with who He was all along and ever will be. Yes, the incarnation was a new event in the history of the universe, but it was a manifestation of a reality as old as God Himself: “God is love” (1 John 4:8).

See God in Christ, feeling the hurts and struggles of every person He came into contact with, and you see God as God is. Watch God in Christ fall facedown to the ground, weeping in prayer, and you see God accurately.

Behold, God incarnate!

Behold, the infinite empathy of a God who feels all the feelings of every person in the world!

Merry Christmas!

Ty Gibson Co-Director
Light Bearers
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  • Derrick Adofo

    The thought that God ‘feels’ my feeling… That’s a wow! God bless you so much, Pastor Ty!

  • Jeanette

    Just when I thought that no one truly understands me… God blessed me through this article. Thank you for sharing such beautiful thoughts on His empathy. Merry Christmas!

  • JoAnn M. Bacheller

    Hmm. Yes it is amazing that Jesus was God Dwelling With Us even as that newborn baby born in Bethlehem on that first Christmas morning. It was not a silent night when His mother Mary went into labor.

  • Wendy Riddle

    I am learning to take everything to God in prayer. He is the only one who knows and understands me completely. It’s taking me awhile to get used to not getting the verbal affirmation as you might get from a friend . But I know He is there and never disappoints. Praise the Lord

  • Terry Anthony Kennedy

    Pastor Ty,
    It was a few years ago that I watched (and now own) the “Extravagant Love” series you did for Anchors of Truth on 3ABN. WOW! You really made everything so clear and gave me a greater, deeper understanding of who God is. Also, God spoke through you in regard to how to study my bible and God has blessed me with a huge understanding and remembrance of His Word that, even at this very moment as I write this, I’m still amazed at how quickly and mindblowingly deep the Holy Spirit can drive Truth home. Thank you so much for your ministry and for inspiring me to be an out of the box thinker and bible student.