Hebrews 5:7-10

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

The author of Hebrews gives us insight into what was involved in Jesus’ calling. It was no easy task that lay before him. He was designated by God to be high priest. The will of his Father was that he might be the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, and that involved suffering.

Jesus knew suffering. No other place in the New Testament does an author use such expressions of intensity as the author of Hebrews does here. “Jesus offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears….” Think about that for a moment. The night Jesus prayed to his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane he faced an agony you and I will never know. Jesus was about to experience a pain so deep, it caused him to sweat drops of blood. While there would be physical pain, yes, I can’t help but think Jesus’ greatest source of pain was the abandonment he would and did experience from his Father. We know this to be true because we hear him cry out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

And so, in the face of deep suffering, Jesus cried out. He cried out loudly. He cried out with tears. He offered his prayers and petitions to a Father who heard. Even though the cup did not pass from Jesus,  and even though he was not removed from the path before Him, he was heard. God the Father, heard the cries of his Son and met him there.

As we walk through our own valleys of the shadow of death, we too face many places of agony and suffering. Crushed to dust, tear stained, and weak, we cry loudly, “Please let this cup pass from me!” We fight, we wrestle, we resist at all costs. We come to the place where Jesus did, when we find we have but two choices before us. We either clench our fists and harden our hearts in rebellion, or we surrender all, every last place of self-sufficiency, every last bit of independence, and bend our will to the sovereignty of a God who hears. This is the road of obedience. This is the road all God’s children must walk. We learn obedience through our suffering. God uses suffering to teach us obedience so that he might have his way through us. Jesus’ obedience led to the salvation of mankind.

The places of our deepest suffering are much bigger than ourselves and our own state of affairs. God is about a work, and he is calling us to it, but he can only use those whose wills have been fully surrendered to his. Jesus cried out his prayers and brought his petitions before the Lord, and when the answer was clear, Jesus chose obedience. Suffering teaches us obedience and obedience yields the fruit of peace. As we follow Jesus’ example and learn this reverent submission, we find true peace. We become as “weaned children” who no longer throw fits when things don’t go our way, but trust the providence and sovereignty of a good Father who works only for the good of those who are his. Psalm 131:2 says, “For I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.” When we release our grip, we find that the One who holds us has never released his.