I’m reading Hebrews 5 this morning and I can’t help but think how dull I can be at times concerning the incarnation of Christ. The babe in the manger . . . the Lamb of God on the cross. Not that I don’t appreciate it . . . not that I’m not in awe of it . . . but that I become so comfortable with it that I fail to fully enter into what it meant for Jesus, God Himself, to become flesh and enter the human experience. This morning’s reading helped stoke the fire of wonder of Immanuel . . . God with us!!
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. Although He was a son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. (Hebrews 5:7-8 ESV)
“The days of His flesh” . . . that’s how the ESV refers to Jesus’ time on earth. The God who is spirit determines to be bound by flesh and blood. The eternal Creator enters the arena of His creation, The inexhaustible King of Kings becomes a servant who sleeps at night in order to toil by day. And I’m reminded that He who was used to receiving the prayers of His people, put Himself in a position where He “offered up” His own prayers and supplications . . . in godly fear, passionately and desperately, crying out to the One able to save Him from death. Talk about your role reversal.
And then think about the fact that the Son of God was heard because of His reverence. He so fully entered into the human reality, that He, Himself, stood on earth and looked up . . . humbling Himself with godly fear as He peered towards the throne in heaven with His name on it. He was in big trouble and so he cried out. Only One could help Him and with godly fear . . . with reverential submission . . . in the full awareness of how big and awesome God is and how small man is in comparison . . . He prayed . . . just like any other man or woman would cast themselves before their God. Can I really fathom what is was for the Son of God to cry out to heaven with godly fear? Isn’t it really beyond understanding how He could so fully enter into my experience without leveraging any of His “favored status” as the Prince of Glory and the Bright and Morning Star?
And then the kicker! Omniscient God . . . All-Knowing God . . . the Source of all Understanding . . . this same God “learned obedience” by the things which He suffered. He who created the human experience determined to fully experience it Himself. Ok . . . so go figure that one out! I can’t . . . I don’t understand it . . . I only know that it’s true . . . I know that I have a High Priest who can sympathize with my struggles and weakness and provide help in time of need because He is “one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb.2:18, 4:15). In His Sovereign counsels He determined it necessary to participate in something that could only be experientially known by being “in flesh.” In His infinite wisdom He determined that a piece was missing from the puzzle and that it could only be put in place by learning obedience through suffering. He purposed that perfection . . . completeness . . . could only be achieved through Immanuel.
And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him . . . (Hebrews 5:9 ESV)
My God, in the Person of the Son, became flesh . . . with no “hidden helps” . . . so that He might be the author of eternal salvation (NKJV). Oh . . . how could I ever be casual in my consideration of “the days of His flesh?” Oh, the depths to which God went in order to redeem my soul!!! May I never take for granted what it meant for Jesus to make Himself of “no reputation” . . . to take the form of a bondservant . . . to come in the likeness of man . . . to humble Himself and become obedient . . . obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Php. 2:7-8)
Thank You O’ Source of My Salvation for the days of Your flesh. That by entering my experience, I might, through Your overflowing grace, enter Yours!
To You be all glory!