One of the verses in my Daily Light reading for this morning was Hebrews 5:8: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” The context for all the rest of the verses in today’s reading had to do with affliction, but that phrase about Jesus learning obedience arrested me, not for the first time. He had always obeyed the Father perfectly, but in Gethsemane was the first time, as far as we know, that He prayed “not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). So perhaps learning obedience had to do with obeying the Father’s will despite His own will? (There is more helpful commentary on this verse at the bottom of this page.)
One way in which this encourages me is to observe how the sinless Son of God obeyed and endured. Here are a few thoughts:
1. Our will and His will. It’s not necessarily wrong to struggle with God’s will. For us, more often that not, it usually is a problem of faith or obedience. People throughout Scripture have been called to do things that at first they didn’t want to do: Moses, Ananias, others.There are many times when God’s call to someone included encouragement that He would be with them and help them: Joshua, Jeremiah, Paul to name a few. These days people say you’ll know something is God’s will when you “have a peace” about it, but sometimes God’s will causes fear, trepidation, reluctance. Jesus asked, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me,” and then submitted His will to the Father’s: “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” We can follow His example when we shrink from something He has called us to do. He was sinless, but we can pray and seek His Word to deal with any sinful issues we might have in regard to submitting to Him.
2. Remember our purpose. In John 12: 27, Jesus said, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” The plan of redemption had been decided upon from the foundation of the world. I’m sure many of the people mentioned above had to go back to their calling and remind themselves of God’s purposes and promises when they were later in the thick of things.
3. Seek His glory. After saying, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour, Jesus said, “Father, glorify thy name” (John 12:28). When we look at ourselves, our safety, our pain, our fears, our comfort, we shrink back: when we seek His glory we can find the purpose and strength we need.
4. Resist temptation with God’s Word. Satan tried to derail Jesus from His purpose, but Jesus resisted with God’s Word. We need to read and know His Word that we might do the same. Though He never sinned, we do fail, and thankfully God promises grace to forgive and help us. But he also wants us to be filled with His Word and grace and enabled to resist temptation thereby for His glory.
5. Remember the coming joy. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrew 12:2). I wonder what all was encompassed in that joy: perhaps having finished His course, pleasing His Father, being reunited with His Father and back home in heaven where all is right and no sin or sorrow dwells, providing the way for us to go there, too. And that leads us to…
6. Look beyond the momentary to the eternal. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).
Are there any other ways in which Jesus’ obedience encourages your own?
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16