“7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” [Hebrews 5:7-8]
There are times when the truth and power of a particular part of the Bible simply rocks my world, and without a doubt verses 7 & 8 of Hebrews 5 are one of those for me. Out of everything I see in the chapter, its these two verses that leap off the page at me.
Why? Because the implications of these two seemingly subtle verses will radically transform our prayer life when we realize the deeper truth they reveal.
Let’s unpack it for a moment.
First, Jesus provides a clear example of a man of prayer for us. He not only prayed, but He prayed with intensity and reverence…also translated “godly fear.” Verse 7 tells us specifically that He prayed with such intensity His prayers included loud crying out to God and literal tears.
We’re told in Luke 22 that He prayed with such intensity that He was sweating drops of blood. Now that is intense, my friends!
But hold that thought…because the intensity of His prayers is not what’s surprising.
We’re also told here in Hebrews 5 that His prayers were heard because of His reverence. That makes sense because His intensity reflected His reverence, but again…that isn’t the most intriguing thing for me.
What’s fascinating about this is that although He prayed to the one “who was able to save Him from death”…although He prayed intensely with great reverence…and although God heard those prayers…God waited!
Do you see it? The crazy, radical, ridiculous truth is that…
…JESUS STILL HAD TO ENDURE SUFFERING AND DEATH EVEN THOUGH GOD HEARD HIS PRAYER.
That is huge! Read it again…
“Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” [Hebrews 5:8]
That is life-changing and profoundly important!
Think about it. We know that by the power of God Jesus rose from the grave and lives today. So the one “who could save Him from death” actually did save Him from death. However, He did it after death. He did it after betrayal, after mocking, after suffering and ultimately after He died.
Do you understand what that means for us?
The reality is that God may hear our prayers, and He may still ask us to endure suffering in obedience. It was true even for Jesus. Wow!
Knowing that radically changes how we look at prayer, suffering…and even answers to prayer.
So here’s the thing…are you willing to learn obedience through suffering?
Is your prayer life marked with the kind of reverence that means you will do whatever He asks?
What if He doesn’t do what you want Him to do or do it the way you want Him to?
The last few verses of Chapter 4, they take on a whole new depth in light of Hebrews 5:7-8. Check it out:
“14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” [Hebrews 4:14-16]
Receiving mercy and finding grace to help us in our time of need does not always equate to preventing hardship or avoiding suffering. But it will always mean His power and presence are made perfect in our weakness, and we can endure anything in obedience…by His power.
Father – Thank you for giving us the privilege of approaching Your throne of grace with confidence. Thank you for hearing us when we pray. Give us the wisdom, courage and strength to do whatever You ask us to do. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.