“. . . who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest ‘according to the order of Melchizedek’ . . .” Hebrews 5:7-14
Remember that the theme in this series has been to “look” at our relationship to God as our Father through the lens of our relationship to our family. In Matthew 7:11, Jesus tells us that we can use parental examples (here) to multiply (how much more) to get to a better picture of how God relates to us. He uses relationships we can understand to leverage our ability to understand His relationship with us.
Marks of a Teenager
We are talking about a stage in life where suddenly our children have the capacity and will to either put into practice everything wrong that is beaconing them from our culture like the foolish woman of Proverbs 9:15-18. Or, they exercise their new found capacity in obedience. This is the issue.
How did Jesus Learn Obedience?
In our sermon text, Jesus prayed with such intensity that sweat formed as great drops of blood on his forehead. And we are told that He was heard because of His godly fear. Jesus prayed with complete trust in both the power and goodness of the Father — that childlikeness that I talked about in the previous message. The problem was not relationship — Jesus was the SON. The problem was not sin — Jesus was sinless. The answer was not due to an improper request or heart attitude — Jesus prayed with godly fear. The answer from the Father was given that Jesus would learn obedience through His suffering.
The Outcome of Jesus’ Obedience
The outcome of Jesus’ suffering had a number of effects: His perfection; the salvation of the world; AND the anticipated perfection of all those who follow Him! How is this? What do I mean by the anticipated perfection or obedience of those who are followers of Jesus, who are found “in Him”? Having the same mind as Christ — submitting to the Father — and suffering in the flesh result in the ceasing of sin or to say this positively — holiness (1 Peter 4:1).
Authority and Submission
The Centurion in Luke 7:6-8 was a powerful man and righteous in the sight of the Jewish elders. He was a compassionate man, seeking the welfare of his servant. Still, he humbles himself personally before Jesus and further demonstrates by his faith and words that he believed that Jesus was not only the higher authority but THE authority over the earth. And, here we have Jesus acknowledge that this is the faith of the Centurion was just the kind of faith that impresses Jesus.
Laying the Groundwork
Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:51-52
What Jesus “learned” in Hebrews 5 (submission to death), began with submission to parents. This is just the simple principle that if you want to be faithful in big things, you need to start being faithful in little things. Jesus was subject to his parents. This means he was under the rule of his parents in the same sense that rulers have subjects who obey them.
- Submission is not easy, because real submission is tested when we have to do something we don’t want to do. Jesus demonstrated real submission when His request that his cup be removed was denied. Paul experienced real submission when his thorn was not removed.
- Submission is not an option. In Romans 6, we learn that we are either slaves to sin or slave to righteousness. In any case, we are submitting to someone. It is just that one leads to death and one to life.
- Submission is freeing. When we submit, we are handing over the responsibility for the outcome to the other party. A wife to her husband. A young person to their parents. Jesus to the Father. Men to leaders in the church or their organization. When we take the decision into our own hands, then we carry the full responsibility.