Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. – Hebrews 5:8
There’s an expression my family and I use to keep life in perspective whenever we feel like grumbling about little inconveniences.
“I know, it’s such a first-world problem,” we say.
When the internet is down at our rural home, Amazon delivery is late, or the hot water runs cold after too many showers, it’s easy to grumble – but we try to instead to be thankful for an internet connection that works more often than not, free Prime delivery, and generally abundant hot water.
The small stuff we encounter does not compare with the suffering of people around the world, and we realize that.
We thank God for it every day.
But God has promised that all believers will, some day, endure suffering.
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. – Philippians 1:29
According to Strong’s, the word suffer here implies that we will be acted upon in a way that will make us feel strong emotion.
We will be mistreated, and we won’t like it! We’ll experience heartache for the cause of Christ.
But as you know, the Lord doesn’t allow any experience to go to waste. He lovingly uses even our suffering for our ultimate good.
Even Jesus Himself was perfected by His suffering, as today’s Scripture points out. From my human perspective, the phrase “learned he obedience” (Heb. 5:8) seems to mean that the Son of God didn’t already know everything – that He still had lessons to learn as the Son of man.
But as commentator David Guzik explains, “Jesus did not pass from obedience to disobedience….Jesus did not learn how to obey; He learned what is involved in obedience” (Blue Letter Bible app).
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. – Hebrews 4:15
Unlike Christ, however, we mere humans need to learn both how to obey and what is involved in obedience.
And, according to Scripture, suffering for the cause of Christ will teach us those valuable lessons. Suffering will shape our will to that of the Father’s as it increases our need for Him. It will force us to grow our roots deeply into the soil of Scripture, that we may withstand any battering that may come our way.
That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. – Ephesians 3:17b-19