Day 210 - Obedience Learned

He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

—HEBREWS 5:8

The most amazing things about this passage are the first two words, “He learned.” It is not easy to wrap our minds around the fact that the God who became a man proceeded to learn. We thought God knew everything, past, present, and future! The secret is that if God can do anything, He can choose not to know and to learn. Christ, by becoming a man, chose to empty Himself, to know less, and to learn. Beautiful! I have met some very spiritual people in my life that did not know very much.

Though they were in complete communion with God, there was much to learn. Learning through revelation is something that adds a yearned-for dimension to life; the excitement of enlightenment is beyond description. Jesus maximized His experience of what it means to be a man by not knowing and having to learn, and thus He learned obedience through the things He suffered. Our difficulty in understanding this verse comes from our knowledge that we all suffered through sin, failure, and pride in order to learn obedience. We learned the hard way what is not the Way before finally repenting and deciding to enjoy the Way as we walked obediently.

We project this experience on to the passage and are confused as we think Jesus could have sinned in order to learn it was better to obey. However, the distinction is that He never sinned, He was the spotless Lamb of God, and He remained a perfect sacrifice. Obedience cannot be learned without suffering. Our suffering was self-imposed, and we learned obedience. His suffering was others-imposed, and He learned obedience.

How could He be obedient to love an enemy until He had an enemy? How could He pray for those who persecute Him until He was persecuted? How would He be obedient unto death for the sins of the whole world if the sins of the whole world were not cast upon Him? To be perfectly obedient, there must be particular situations for which certain actions or behaviors are implicitly required. One cannot say, “I obey the command to love my enemy,” if he has not yet had an enemy. He can have the willingness to obey, but he has not as yet obeyed, since obedience arises only when a situation calls for it.

All that Jesus taught, He did. Therefore, suffering provided the situations that called for His obedience; out of those situations, as a man, He proved the joy of obedience. “He learned obedience through the things that He suffered.” So will you! Wonderful!