“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8)
We are told that the Captain of our salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who became the incarnate Son of God learned obedience through suffering. It is not that the Lord Jesus was ever disobedient. But rather, that He experienced obedience in the midst of suffering. As HE was in great agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, He felt the deceptive temptations of the evil one calling HIM to give up. But the bible tells us that HE prayed the more earnestly. The disciples would forsake HIM. The kangaroo court would unjustly condemn HIM. The soldiers would beat HIM beyond recognition. And then, there was Calvary with the NAILS, the CROWN OF THORNS, and THE BROKEN FELLOWSHIP OF THE FATHER as he bore in HIS body on the tree the sins of mankind. He experienced obedience, and learned the high cost of obedience through the things which HE suffered.
Philippians 2:5-8 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Beloved, if the Lord Jesus Christ must experience the depths of suffering and sorrows, is there any wonder that we too will be challenged with obedience in the midst of suffering? I remember some years ago, a home schooling family, the father was a pastor of a small church on the south side of Chicago, the parents were committed to raising their family in a godly fashion while ministering in the community the gospel of Christ. One day the parents and 6 of the 9 children got into their van to visit one of the older children who had left home. While driving down the freeway, a large piece of metal fell off of a truck in front of them piercing their gas tank and the van exploded in flames. On fire mom and dad rolled in the grass to extinguish the flames. Only to look back and see the van completely engulfed in flame. Their children were gone. Is there not something wrong with this picture. These were godly parents, loving parents, serving the Lord, obeying God, trusting God, honoring God and they are watching their van burn with the children in it and there is nothing they can do. Where is the fairness in all of this? God don’t you take care of your own? The mother cried: No! No! The Husband pulled his wife close and said: "Janet, this is what we've been prepared for. Janet, it was quick, and they're with the Lord."
In a front page story the Chicago Tribune reported, "Burned, bandaged, and still in physical pain in a Milwaukee area hospital, the couple displayed extraordinary grace and courage Wednesday as they calmly presided over a news conference they had REQUESTED to tell how their unquestioning belief has sustained them through the loss of six of their nine children."
Learning the price of obedience in the midst of great suffering. This is what Christ has done.
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” (Philippians 2:9)
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:15-18)
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)
That husband and that wife had a faith that reached from time to eternity. With their eyes of faith, they could see those children around the throne of God Before the crystal sea basking in the glorious presence of the King of the Universe Feasting daily with HIM at HIS banqueting table. "...faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
So when a family can courageously face the tragedy of loosing 6 children in what the world would call a senseless, needless accident, with grace, and faith and love for God the world is left speechless, they cannot deny the reality of something extraordinary in the lives of these people. Is OUR God greater still that the circumstances of our lives? We are being consumed. We are dying. We are bearing about in our bodies HIS death. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:10
“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. “
So then death worketh in us, but life in you. (2 Corinthians 4:12)
Jesus suffered to give us life, will we suffer affliction in faith to
give life to others?