Hebrews 5:8-10 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
We don’t often think of Jesus Christ having to learn things, but here we have it stated clearly – and what He learned was obedience, of all things! We would assume that Jesus was automatically obedient from the moment of His conception, but this is more evidence of His genuine humanity. It’s not that He was disobedient. Deliberate disobedience to God is certainly sin, and Jesus was without sin, as is stated in the chapter before this where it talks about temptation. (Hebrews 4:15) However, Jesus didn’t come from the womb resurrected! He was born, he learned to walk, talk, and become a carpenter like Joseph. There’s a lot of learning involved in becoming a carpenter! Some of the suffering He experienced was probably cuts, bruises and the like picked up in that process. The saying that is common in physical training, “No pain, no gain,” can actually apply very broadly in many areas of life. We want life to be painless, but that’s not the way things are. Just yesterday I was counseling a couple who are already legally married but will be having a wedding this month, and they have a 17-month-old son. I was pointing out that little children don’t understand logic but they do understand pain, and often that has to be applied for the good of the child to help them learn obedience, just as this passage talks about. That’s not a very popular truth in some circles, but the current state of America is in many ways related to that truth having been abandoned a generation or so ago. In no way is genuine child abuse to be condoned, but when a spanking is legally defined as abuse, as it actually is in some areas, the system has gone off the rails. The thing is, the devil doesn’t want us to learn obedience to our parents, and thus to God. Jesus is our ultimate example, and when He had to learn obedience through suffering, we have no room to complain!
My parents didn’t use a great deal of physical discipline that I can remember, but it was during my childhood that Dr. Spock became all the rage when it came to parenting. (In his later years he realized what he had done, and repented rather bitterly of the ideas that he had espoused.) I remember my parents assigning what is currently called a “time out,” making me sit in a chair in the living room with nothing to “entertain” me, supposedly. With my active imagination, I just sat there and created story lines in my head, having actually a rather good time. I remember doing that, and don’t remember for what I was being punished! I certainly didn’t do a perfect job in raising my children (just ask them!) but at least I learned that the “time out” system doesn’t work very well. In the bigger picture, I have learned better obedience to God through various things, some of them seeming more like suffering than others. I am not in a position of causing suffering to others to teach them obedience, but I am in a position of helping them see what God is teaching them through the suffering they experience. I am not to take their suffering lightly. I have caused damage by giving people that impression! However, I am to seek to help them understand that God is not mean, and He never allows us to go through anything that He can’t use for good. (Romans 8:28) I have heard some pretty extreme testimonies to that effect! And, I must always remember that truth in my own life, and give God thanks for everything. (Ephesians 5:20)
Father, thank You for this reminder. I hope it doesn’t mean I’ve got suffering on my horizon! Thank You for the assurance that even if it does, Your plans are good, whatever they look like or feel like at the moment. May Your will be done in my life, whatever that means, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!