On Obedience and Suffering

Hebrews 5:8 “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience through the things which He suffered.

Philippians 2:8 “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Hebrews 2:17-18 “Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

Whenever I read Hebrews 5:8, the picture of His suffering in my mind has always been of what He suffered at the end of His life, how He was beaten and whipped and then crucified, experiencing such physical suffering that I could not look upon it in the movie The Passion. But lately I am thinking that is not all this is referring to….this has to be referring to his entire life, even from childhood.  He learned obedience by the things He suffered. He learned to submit to His Heavenly Father through things that happened in His life. Because He committed no sin, that means this started when He was young and continued into His adulthood.

Jesus was a Son, just as we, as born again, born anew, or born from above people, are now “sons of God,” or children of God. But as a human being born into the earth as a baby, the scripture says Jesus had to learn obedience to His Father.

Most of us might dispute that, since He was God, but that is what the scripture says. Jesus went through the human experience so that he “might be a merciful and faithful High priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” I take this to mean that God, having laid aside His powers as God, came in human form and as man, born among sinful men, but without sin of His own, and rescued mankind from the power of darkness and the devil. Only men have authority in the earth, so God came in human form to rescue all of us. He went through the human experience so that He could identify with man and be their High Priest to intercede before God. As a man, he suffered things humans suffer. He did not use any of the powers he had before He was born to escape the human experience, even at the end. Remember Him saying to the disciples after Peter cut off the Roman soldier’s ear, ‘Don’t you think My Father would provide Me with more than 12 legions of angels?” That’s in Matthew 26:53. So no, He did not call on the Father to rescue Him from the suffering that He knew to be the path He was to take.

Throughout the gospels, we get glimpses of His emotional suffering; at the tomb of Lazarus is one place, where He groaned in His spirit. We see what looks to be exasperation at the disciples when He asks, “How long shall I be with you and you still don’t believe?” He suffered betrayal by Judas and hostility from the religious leaders of His day. He was sentenced to death unfairly. To stay sin-free His entire life, He had to suffer in His emotions, always yielding Himself to obedience to the Father.

Perhaps we should re-read the gospels, but do it with the view that this is a human being….with emotions, sorrows, heartaches etc. Sometimes I think often we aren’t cognizant of that because we revere Him as God, which He was, but He was God who CHOSE to leave His heavenly, perfect environment and powers behind and come here to live in the midst of us, where a devil roams about seeking whom he may devour. He came as man.

I believe when we do not understand this part of Jesus, we place too great a distance between Him and mankind, which can give us an excuse to sin, by saying “I’m only human.” But if you are born again, you are no longer JUST a human. You have God living inside of you! You have the power of the Holy Spirit, the power that raised Christ from the dead living inside of you. We must learn all that that means. That is God’s will for us. We are like Him. We have been given  authority over the works of darkness and a commission to go and do as He did while He was here on earth. Matthew 28:18-20

We all, suffer loss, grief, rejection from people. He certainly suffered all of that. We may suffer lack, hunger, sickness. On the cross, the scriptures indicate the full force of sin and its consequences came on Him. He was rejected by His Father in heaven as His final words indicate. He “resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:4. He endured much hostility from sinners as Hebrew 12:3 comments.

iI Jesus learned obedience through the things which He suffered, then that’s how we learn obedience. The servant is not greater than the Master. We should expect grief, betrayal, loss, and denial of our own self will as we live day by day. Some even experience the giving over of their own lives to physical death. As Christians, suffering in these areas should not surprise us. We are not above our Master.

But here is the promise of hope. In Romans 8:18, Paul writes, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

This promise got me through some emotional, not-getting-my-way suffering a long time ago. It will get you through too as you submit to what He is asking from you. Through this promise, my head and my heart was lifted to see the eternal value of submitting my will in that particular situation to the God Who loved me and knew what was best.

No matter what you are going through, there is glory coming, my friend. Guaranteed. 

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Rule Thou in the Midst of Your Enemies!

As Jesus walked the earth, He ruled in the midst of His enemies. Exactly what does that mean?

We know He never sinned and although there is no recording of it, I would bet He was also never sick. He had miraculous escapes from death as a baby as God protected Him and His family. He demonstrated the Kingdom of God to the people of that day by healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons, multiplying food, calming storms, and other supernatural acts. He showed them there was a spiritual world. These were the signs that the Kingdom of God was at hand. He experienced miraculous escapes also after His ministry began, until the time that He gave Himself into the hands of evil men in order to fulfill the plan of God to save the world from sin. He taught the disciples how to demonstrate the power of Heaven and we are commissioned to go and do likewise.

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Impossible!….Or is it?

1 Cor 2:9

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

That short passage of scripture has the whole future of the world wrapped up in it. I don’t believe it is only speaking of when we get to Heaven. I believe it includes things that God has prepared for us here in the earth. Let’s look at some examples of things that were “impossible,” but when God and one man are involved together, it’s not so impossible after all, for with God, all things are possible. Meditate on the following list of faith heroes and what they did. Their stories are inspiration for us.

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The Gift of Time

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He is mindful that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass—he blooms like a flower of the field; when the wind passes over, it vanishes, and its place remembers it no more.” Psalm 103:13-15

I have at times pondered the fact that life seems to move slowly in regards to growth of the human personality in understanding. It seems we are not quick to catch on to things. Perhaps that is because we do not know our purpose, why we are here.

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The People Have a Mind to Work

Nehemiah 4:6—“So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”

Yesterday I was reading an article by a woman who has been on the front lines of fighting for the integrity of our nation for the past ten years. After the disappointing midterms, she said she felt like giving up and quitting, wondering why she had worked so hard, just to not see the results she desired. I forget the name of the organization, but many might recognize it. She ended her post by realizing she could not quit…she could not give up and get out of the war for the soul of the country.

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O Holy Night

It seems fitting in this Christmas season while world events swirl around us, to recall the words of this wonderful Christmas song. Jesus Christ truly is our only hope in this world. It is my prayer that all would pause in the season and look up to the God of the universe, who loved his created human beings enough to send His own Son to rescue them from the darkness. That is what we celebrate, that God became a man and came to be like us. He truly is Emmanuel, God with us.

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Why the Devil Loves to Make us Sick

(Note: When I use the term “devil,” I am referring to the collective forces of darkness and not the head spirit. In the bible where it says Jesus was tempted of the devil, we can believe it was the head spirit that approached Him.)

Have you ever noticed when you don’t feel good, how it’s all about you? We are doing everything in our power to regain our health. It’s really all we can think about. Even the simple cold makes me sleep all the time and spend all my time and energies thinking about how I can feel better! And on top of that I can ruin relationships because I get cranky. Sick people just don’t feel good and because of that, it’s hard to respond well, right?

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What People Need

The bible says it’s the goodness of God that leads men to repentance.

I remember one morning I arrived at work excited after seeing something I felt was from the Holy Spirit. I told my co-worker, “People need to know that God really loves them! It’s the love of God that leads them to repentance.”

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The Ages to Come…What Are They?

Hebrews 2:5 “For He has not put the world to come… in subjection to angels.

What is this world to come…a world not in subjection to angels, but to humans?

Psalms 8:6 says that man was set over the works of God’s hands, And all things were put in subjection under his feet. The book of Hebrews repeats this statement in Hebrews 2:6-8. Because of the sin of Adam, men lost that exalted position over the earth. But God had a rescue in mind, a plan to restore man to his original position as ruler over the earth.

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“You Don’t Have it Anymore Either”

The life of the born again Christian believer is, or ought to be, a constant journey of discovery about who our new “Boss” is, the Kingdom that He is the head over, and how we have now been made a citizen of that Kingdom. We must learn what our new identity in Him is, and what rights and privileges have now been given to us.

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