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. 

This entry was posted in God's Lessons, Relationship with God, Trusting God. Bookmark the permalink.

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