Did you know that even Jesus, perfect and sinless, had something to learn? Find out what it is, and how His experience can help us learn obedience through suffering.
“Why did Jesus have to suffer?” I often wonder to myself. Wasn’t there a way for Him to sidestep the cross? After all, he created everything.
In these last days He has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.Hebrews 1:2
Yes, his power is supreme – maker of everything, all knowing. So why was suffering necessary? Couldn’t He just save us and avoid all that pain?
This morning I was writing in my prayer journal and wrestling with questions when the following verse came to mind:
Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him…Hebrews 5:8
Our Jesus, sinless and all-knowing. As a twelve year old, Jesus taught the Jewish leaders in the temple. As an adult He enraptured crowds with His wisdom and rendered speechless those who tried to silence Him. This verse is telling us that yes, even He had something to learn.
What was it?
Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered.
Related post: Why Does God Allow Suffering?
Let’s look now at the previous verse, Hebrews 5:7. It says that Jesus begged God for another way – a way to sidestep the cross. Surely God could come up with a Plan B?
Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
What a difficult, yet comforting, thought. Jesus begged God for a way out. Though God was moved and heard the prayer of his son, the answer was no.
There was something more to learn. Jesus was about to be made perfect.
Maybe you’re begging God for help today?
He sees. He cares. He hears. And maybe He’ll answer yes. But if it’s no, perhaps you’re learning obedience through suffering as Jesus did.
Let’s rewind to Hebrews 2:9-10 where we see this concept in more detail.
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Let that sink in.
The glory of Jesus is greater because of the cross. The perfection of Jesus is more perfect because of what He suffered.
I read this article from Desiring God, “How Did Jesus Learn Obedience and Become Perfect?” which really inspired me. I love the following quote:
Jesus moved from untested obedience into suffering, then through suffering into tested and proven obedience.
The new task that Jesus had to learn every hour, especially at the end of his life was: Can I endure this suffering that I have never experienced before, this new obedience that I have never performed before in the history of the universe? Can I learn and do this perfectly without failing, without falling into unbelief and murmuring? And the answer of Hebrews is yes.
Our Savior passed the ultimate test of submission to God. He learned through His willingness to obey in the midst of suffering & pain – without murmuring.
Here’s a super helpful thought on the idea of murmuring:
Groaning and grumbling can seem similar, but biblically they are quite different… Groaning is a response to the weight of suffering, and it is directed toward God as an honest expression of pain, grief, and sorrow. Grumbling also reflects the weight of suffering, but it springs from anger and resentment toward God. It lacks a memory of his past faithfulness.Benjamin T. Mast, Second Forgetting
If you’re in a season of pain, remember Jesus. Are you willing to obey even when it’s hard? Obedience in the midst of hardship is so beautiful to God because it displays a heart that’s committed to Him.
Now let’s jump back to Hebrews 5:9, right after it says that Jesus learned obedience through suffering.
And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him…
Not only did the cross make Christ even more perfect through obedience in suffering, it did something else.
Beyond becoming a perfect Savior for us, Jesus also glorified God more fully in suffering than any other way of salvation would have done.– Desiring God
The only way for the depth of God’s love to be shown was through the cross. The only way for God to be fully glorified was through Jesus’ obedience to the point of death.
It makes me think of Philippians 2:8-11,
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 1and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Maybe you’re experiencing pain of the deepest kind? Know this, friend: God is going to show His love and glory through you.
Keep on obeying through the pain. God is perfecting you.
How do you keep your eyes on Jesus in the midst of life’s storms?