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Did Jesus Need To Learn Obedience ??????

29 Aug

If you make only a surface reading of the book of Hebrews you may walk off wondering if Jesus really was perfect. We know He had to be or we would still be in our sins. So what do these “seemingly contradictory” verses mean?

When the author of Hebrews says in Hebrews 2:10 that God the Father made Jesus, the rock of our salvation, “perfect through suffering”, what does he mean? And what does he mean in Hebrews 5:8 when he says that “He learned obedience through what He suffered?” And again, what does it mean to say that Jesus was “made perfect” through His suffering (Heb. 5:9).  In both cases the writer is setting in place the qualifications of Jesus to serve as our Great High Priest. The fact that Jesus “suffered” in this way proves that He is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15).

So what do these statements mean? The “perfecting” has to do with Jesus’ mission, His calling to be the Savior of His people. Jesus had to suffer to be fully qualified for His office. He does not mean that Jesus was flawed by sin or that he was a morally imperfect person and had to be  cleansed. We know this because of what he says in Hebrews 4:15, 7:26, and 9:14. The sinlessness of Jesus has never been a question when you consider the rest of Scripture. The “perfection” we read has to do with Jesus in preparation to fulfill his work. The writer here is saying that Jesus was fully qualified as our High Priest to make a complete atonement for sin, and was able to assure for us a righteousness that can be ours through faith because He faithfully obeyed His Father and offered up a sinless sacrifice for sin. Our Lord showed that He was capable and qualified to be our Savior because He trusted in His Father from the beginning to the end, even when He suffered terribly at the hands of sinful men.

In Hebrews 5:8 it says that Jesus “learned obedience through what He suffered.” I think the words “made perfect” in 2:10 mean the same thing as His “learning obedience” in 5:8. It doesn’t say that Jesus learned “to obey” as a light reading would seem to suggest , like He was formerly disobedient and sinful. Instead, He entered into a very personal understanding of what obedience is and what obedience requires by actually obeying. A commentary I was reading stated it this way, “This does not mean that He was once disobedient and then became obedient. It means that Jesus moved from untested obedience into suffering and then through suffering into tested and proven obedience. And this proving Himself obedient through suffering was His ‘being perfected’.

We many times suffer and end up thinking that God isn’t worthy of our praise because He doesn’t really understand. We bail out on Him in order to avoid suffering or to make it easier to bear. Not Jesus. He walked through His suffering with complete devotion to the Father and His saving work and in doing this He showed Himself “perfect” for the task He came to complete.

 

Something to think about on this beautiful day we have been gifted.

 

Shalom, until tomorrow, Lord willing,

 

Levi

 

 

 
31 Comments

Posted by on August 29, 2014 in Christianity, Faith, Religion

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

31 responses to “Did Jesus Need To Learn Obedience ??????

  1. paulfg

    August 29, 2014 at 4:50 am

    These questions always catch my attention. You have just had me reading all of Hebrews! For me it is the context of these verses I like to sit within. And the whole book is an impassioned love letter exhorting this church to return to what they fell in love with – God Soft Hands Jesus. To remember why. To return to why. And to become again. In such a context the verses above seem to me perfectly suited to making Him real again. Perfectly real.
    Thanks Levi –

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    • Levi Thetford

      August 29, 2014 at 6:09 am

      Good morning, Paul. I glad it makes Him real to you. But in what sense?

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      • paulfg

        August 29, 2014 at 6:59 am

        In every sense.
        What I think I mean is this: if my faith is waning, I am questioning “what is it all about”, if I am wondering whether this new covenant/Jesus being “real” is maybe not as permanent as I thought, I have a lets pads out the faith with a lot more flex and freedom, let’s lose the relationship … if I am in that place – similar to the Hebrews dusty chaps – then “Hebrews” is a re-convincer. If in my present place of not that place I fall on these few verses, then out of context I might be tempted to think “what?????” But in context “the places” are different.
        Make any sense?

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        • Levi Thetford

          August 29, 2014 at 7:05 am

          It makes perfect sense. We must always read the context, as you know. Thanks Bro. Great day!!

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  2. Cynthia Reyes

    August 29, 2014 at 7:17 am

    I’d never thought of this, Levi. I thought the whole idea of Jesus being “made man” was to experience our humanity, live it and rise above it. I also thought that when he asked God, if it was his will, to “make this cup pass from me” he was showing great humanity, and not perfection. What thinkst?

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    • Levi Thetford

      August 29, 2014 at 7:33 am

      Good morning, Cynthia! When Jesus became man He was still God at the same time as seen in the Gospels. He had no human blood father, but the Holy Spirit. Jesus could not sin but He was tempted and had all the trials that we face, yet without sin. He couldn’t be the Savior if He weren’t perfect in every regard. This was His reason for coming, to be perfect and fulfill the law which we could never do. Does this help?

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  3. DJ Mynatt

    August 29, 2014 at 7:26 am

    I’m always amazed when I read my Bible how much I can glean… there always seems to be new insights to the verses I read.
    God bless.

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    • Levi Thetford

      August 29, 2014 at 7:35 am

      Always read in context and you will gain the message. Have a great day, Donna!!

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  4. vonhonnauldt

    August 29, 2014 at 9:17 am

    May I suggest that it also means that “obedience” was a new experience for Him. As God, He was equal with the Father. As man, He was not, hence His statement that the Father was “greater” than Him. As God, He didn’t have to “obey;” as Man – and a Jew “made under the Law, Gal. 4:4, He did. Thank you for the time and effort you put into studying and explaining Scripture.

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    • Levi Thetford

      August 29, 2014 at 9:22 am

      I totally agree with what you’ve said. He had to identify and experience everything that sinners do, yet without sin. Thanks for the addition. This is why I love comments. Have a great day!!! Lord bless!!!

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  5. msauthorette

    August 29, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Definitely something to think about. I’ve always thought that Jesus suffering meant that He had to deal with being tempted by things, to do things, just as we humans are tempted, but that He was able to not sin, to resist all temptations, and never sullied His deity though He was God and man. I need to read through Hebrews again. Thanks for this post.

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    • Levi Thetford

      August 29, 2014 at 10:25 am

      He was tempted every bit like us but he never sinned like we do. I think we are saying the same thing.

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  6. †disciple†

    August 29, 2014 at 10:07 am

    The only thing we know about Jesus from the age of 12-30 is that he was obedient to his parents. Philippians says he became obedient to death on a cross. Remember that Jesus, sweat pouring like blood drops, cried out to his Father to take this cup from him. But….Gods will be done.

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  7. Kelly Grace

    August 29, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Hello Levi! I’ve missed your posts (no internet in the northern villages of Ghana)!
    I’ve always thought that Hebrews 4:14-16 shed additional light on Heb. 5:8-9.
    Jesus experienced in Gethsemane the same conflict we have when our will and God’s will don’t align, but He ‘learned’, or experienced what it’s like to obey.
    So, He is sympathetic to our plight, ‘He’s touched by the feeling of our infirmities’, yet He Himself never failed in faith.
    When He prayed, “nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done”, He showed us how faith opens the door to spiritual strength for doing God’s will in the hard places of our lives.
    And we have a perpetual invitation to come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need.
    He knows, by experience, and wants us to also ‘learn’ that God will never fail us when we trust ourselves to His will.
    What do you think?

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    • Levi Thetford

      August 29, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Hey, Kelly. Hope all is well in Ghana and that God is blessing. I agree with all you have said without question. Had Jesus not experienced all without sin He could not be our great High Priest. Blessings to you!!😀

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  8. Stacy Tolbert

    August 29, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Oh brother Levi, how I thank Jesus for His faithfulness through His suffering, even unto death, and I also thank our God for you and your faithfulness in posting theses on time wisdom filled post’ s of yours. Enjoy your day my brother.

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    • Levi Thetford

      August 29, 2014 at 11:21 am

      He is a great and mighty Savior. It’s hard to fathom how He must have felt setting foot on this sin stained earth. Thank you my brother!!!

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  9. Denine Taylor

    August 29, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Jesus is our example. Making away for us to also be obedient in our trials, temptations, and suffering… That we are also able to say “Not my will but Your will be done.” Romans 6:6-7 “for we know our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” and Gal 5:24-25 “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. SINCE WE LIVE BY THE SPIRIT, LET US KEEP IN STEP WITH THE SPIRIT. ….Just thinking out loud. Thanks Levi!!

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    • Levi Thetford

      August 29, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      Thank you Denine for additional thoughts to the subject. I agree with what you said! 😀

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      • Denine Taylor

        August 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm

        ok, I started to think some more. LOL We too “learn obedience through what we suffer.. yet, we have already been “made perfect” By Grace through faith.. the washing away of sin through Christ Jesus. Matt 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Dead to the flesh alive in Christ. For greater is He who is in me… Doing what Christ did. Denying self (our own will, obedient to the Father “Not my will, but yours, be done”) Sorry, hope you don’t mind my long windedness. Just working it all out in my mind.

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        • Denine Taylor

          August 29, 2014 at 1:59 pm

          The point then to obedience would you say is like Jesus is that we may bring Glory to the Father?

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          • Levi Thetford

            August 29, 2014 at 2:01 pm

            Yes, That is the point.

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            • Denine Taylor

              August 29, 2014 at 2:04 pm

              Ok, thanks!

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        • Levi Thetford

          August 29, 2014 at 2:13 pm

          Never too long a ? All that you said is true. My point in the study was that Jesus didn’t have to learn obedience but had to experience what we go through. He has felt every temptation and experienced every feeling and thought we ever have yet without sin. Therefore He can identify with us in all of our situations. This is great comfort as well. Make sense?

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          • Denine Taylor

            August 29, 2014 at 2:17 pm

            Yes, very much so. Thanks I much Appreciate it and you!

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          • Denine Taylor

            August 29, 2014 at 3:05 pm

            Obedience than is trusting and believing in who He is and what He has already done for us. For His Grace is sufficient in our weaknesses. For our spirits are willing yet our flesh at times is weak. We bring Him glory not by our ability to be perfect, but in knowing we are loved perfectly made perfect in Him. …. Still thinking ; )

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  10. geoffhorswood

    August 29, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Doesn’t the New Testament Greek word translated “perfect” have the sense of “complete”? In that sense, Jesus’ worthiness and qualification for His High Priestly role was made complete by what He suffered.
    In the same way, as you quite rightly point out, He “learned obedience” not in the sense of having been disobedient before, but in the sense of being tested and proven.

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    • Levi Thetford

      August 29, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      I think you’re quite right. From some of the great comments made i can see that I didn’t elaborate enough. Geoff, I try to keep my post as short as possible and yet try to get across my subject. I’m not sure that I’m being successful. Thanks for the additional great comment!!!

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  11. Skye

    August 30, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    “Always read in context and you will gain the message” Even your response to comments are full of wisdom. Love this, Dear Levi. ((I think you are very successful in your posts–just saying.))

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  12. SLIMJIM

    September 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Its very humbing to think that Christ in His humanity did have to learn submission. It is also an awesome truth that He can identify with us in our struggle

    Like

     

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