For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)
Throughout the history of mankind, we have used symbols to reference and explain everything in our world, and the circle seems to have been universally accepted as representing completeness, life, and eternity. The ‘circle of time’ and ‘seasonal cycles’ are obvious examples of this. I suppose, if one looks around at our universe, we’ll find an endless list of the ‘circular symbol’ manifesting around us – the centre of a flower, a raindrop, the compilation elements of a leopard’s spots, the dots on a ladybug…
Even God is, in a sense, a ‘circle.’ Before anyone gets excited about some weird new esoteric docrine, this is strictly a human perspective. It’s the fact that God exists in and manifests as eternity. The alpha and omega, and everything in between, are centered in God and completed in Him. The exist in eternity, which has no finite, definitive temporal or spatial measure such as we have in this material world. The principle is exactly the same as the one behind our ‘eternity ring.’ It is something without end. We cannot define or distinguish where eternity either begins or end.
As a family, we often laugh over my very non-scientific logic that defies our conventional acceptance and understanding of time zones. At some point there is, for all of us, an actual temporal and spatial line that separates our ‘today’ from our ‘tomorrow.’ On my side of that ‘line,’ my today is actually someone else’s yesterday and visa versa. In the same way, there’s another ‘line’ which separates my today from my yesterday. So what is today for me is actually yesterday on the other side of that line.
Logically speaking, then, the concept of ‘time travel’ is perfectly possible. I may be chatting online with a friend in Australia. Depending on the actual time of day, I could be chatting to them in tomorrow while still being in today. This may be a fun idea, but it does get kind of strange if we extrapolate the logic. If there is a ‘line’ between yesterday and today, and another between today and tomorrow, and our world is round, i.e. a circle – if we go east and keep going, we’ll end up back where we started – then it is perfectly logical that there must be further ‘line’ between tomorrow and yesterday.
I know, it’s both utterly confusing and perfectly logical at the same time, but it does illustrate something of the extent of eternity is actually all about. We cannot measure or define it in absolute, relative terms. It defies spatial and temporal ‘laws,’ whether they be scientific or esorteric.
So what, then, does all this weirdness have to do with today’s verse and the completeness of Christ’s substitutionary work at the cross?
When the ‘going gets tough,’ as the old saying goes, it’s sometimes a relatively easy slide into place of ‘them’ and ‘me’ – them being the trinity – which is a place of perceived difference and separation. This ‘reminds’ us that Jesus cannot possibly know what we’re going through because He’s God and we’re human. It discards the truth that He existed on this earth as a human man in every single conceivable way. It ignores the reality that there isn’t a single aspect, emotion, condition or circumstance of human experience that He did not go through.
I’ve been in those places where it felt as if the divinity of Jesus was exclusionary. They are usually the times when we need Him most. I’ve learned, now, to go back to basics, to ‘make a list’ of the issues I feel He cannot be part of our won’t understand. I’ve learned to search the Word and reflect on it and on His life, death and resurrection. I have yet to find a single instance of something He did not experience.
This is where the whole concept of the circle comes in, the ideal illustration of what was provided for, purchased and achieved through the cross. As Son of Man, Jesus was the perfect substitute. Because He endured, as the Son of Man, every possible human trial, testing and temptation, Christ’s substitutionary work is complete but, while it happened here on earth at a measurable, definable moment in time, it also took place in eternity – which is not governed by our spatial and temporal limitations. That is why it’s perfectly perfect and completely complete
Consider our zany time zone example. The spiritual truth is that Jesus is in ‘yesterday,’ ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’ all at the same time time. The cross and all it accomplished is too. His work is ‘once and for all,’ because it includes eternity in its entirety. When He went through the same thing two thousand years ago as I am going through today, His substitutionary power is as relevant and dynamic in this moment as it was then.
In our difficulties, we tend to lose our spiritual orientation and perspective. Our focus becomes inward to ‘me’ rather than being ‘upward’ to Him. It’s an entirely human response but it creates the perception of separation. Christ in us means that we already have the perfect, complete solution because He’s been there before and done it for us.’ It doesn’t mean that the situation will miraculously go away. But it does mean that we have the spiritual strength, power, courage and faith that Jesus purchased for us through His life, death and suffering, the same resurrection power that Him from the dead. This truth remains: Christ’s substitutionary work is complete.
We also have the immeasurable grace of God to comfort and encourage us, the knowledge that we are safe in Him, that through His indwelling presence we are already a part of that ‘without end’ that is eternity, the I AM of God. We may struggle and strive, toil and endure, weep and mourn, but in all of it, we can be absolutely assured that there is one whose understanding of where we are right now is completely complete and perfectly perfect. He alone can say: ‘I know. I’ve been there.”
Jesus, sweet Saviour, we thank You that You willingly endured everything that faces us in this world, and that You did so in order that Your presence and provision in every moment is perfect and complete. Help us to look beyond the restrictions and limitations of this world to the eternal, dynamic life You have purchased for us, and to live each day, each hour, each moment, to Your glory.