As we have rightly done already this year, we have purposely focused a couple lessons on the truth of the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice. When it comes to the Old Law, Paul said it plainly, “And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). Through the work of Christ, man has been released from the burden of performance (that check list) and set free to walk confidently with Christ. Interestingly, this new-found freedom in Christ is not the absence of obedience; but rather, the awareness that our hope does not rest in our obedience. This enables us to look to Jesus, the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) with the idea that He can empower us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
As I thought about this, I couldn’t help thinking about the above text. To think that Jesus learned anything can be challenging since He has always been part of the Godhead (John 1:1, 14). This word learned means to learn by use and practice; to be in the habit of, accustomed to. What did He learn about? He learned about obedience. Obedience here can include the idea of compliance and submission. The words of Jesus in the garden mean a little more now, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus, confronted with such suffering, had the ability to merely ask the Father to provide protection (Matthew 26:53), but He did not. As one commentator put it, “He [Jesus] set out from the start on the path of obedience to God, and learned by the sufferings which came his way in consequence just what obedience to God involved in practice in the conditions of human life on earth.”
And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.
This process, Christ went through, enables Him to “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15) and shows us that we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Often times, that need is strength to lovingly obey Him in the midst of suffering. Lord, may our freedom in Christ empower us as we seek to learn to lovingly obey you.