A man having a financial understanding with his church, or a contract with his employer, or a comfortable business, may be an earnest Christian, living a life of prayer and realizing God’s power in his life, but he cannot know the meaning of the word trust as George Mueller knew it when he might waken in the morning with not enough food in hand for the breakfast, only an hour off, of the two thousand orphans under his care, and in answer to his waiting prayer have them all satisfied at the usual breakfast hour. George Mueller himself did not know the meaning of “trust” before such experiences as he did afterwards. No one can. We know only what we experience.
Now Jesus became a perfect man by means of the experiences He went through. He is an older Brother to us, for He has gone through ahead where we are now going, and where we are yet to go. He was perfectly human in this, that He did not know our human experiences, save as He Himself went through those experiences. With full reverence be it said of the divine Jesus, it was necessarily so, because He was so truly human.
The whole diapason of human experience, with its joyous majors and its sobbing minors, He knew. Except, of course, the experiences growing out of sin. These He could not know. They belong to the abnormal side of life. And there was nothing abnormal about Him. It was fitting that Jesus, coming as a man to save brother men, should develop the full human character through experience. And so He did. And forever He has a fellow-feeling with each of us, at every point, for He Himself has felt our feelings.
Jesus’ experiences brought Him suffering; keen, cutting pain; real suffering. Where there is possible danger or pain in an approaching experience there is shrinking. It is a normal human trait to shrink from pain and danger. Jesus’ experiences in the suffering they brought to Him far outreach what any other human has known. He shrank in spirit over and over again as the expected experiences approached. He shrank back as none other ever has, for He was more keenly alive to the suffering involved. He suffered doubly: in the shrinking beforehand; in the actual experience.
But, be it keenly remembered, shrinking does not mean faltering. Neither suffering in anticipation nor actually ever held Him back for a moment, nor an inch’s length, nor in the spirit of full-tilted obedience to His Father’s plan. This makes Jesus’ experiences the greatest revealers of His character. He was sublime in His character, His teachings, His stupendous conceptions. He was most sublime in that wherein He touches us most closely—His experiences.
With a new, deep meaning it can be said, knowledge is power. We humans enter into knowledge and so into power only through experience. Experiences are sent, or when not directly sent are allowed to come, that through these may come knowledge, through knowledge power, through both the likeness of God, and so, true service in helping men back to God.