A phrase in Hebrews this morning caused me to pause. Four words, I believe lifted off the page by the Spirit, which brought a realization. A realization that, if I’m honest with myself, I am probably more comfortable with the deity of Christ than I am with His humanity. That to think in terms of Jesus as fully God resonates more easily than to really think of Him as fully man. That to imagine the limitlessness of His power, majesty, and glory is easier, in a sense, than to truly appreciate the depths of humility He experienced in His incarnation.
The four words that have me chewing on this? Because of His reverence.
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.
(Hebrews 5:7 ESV)
The writer continues to paint a picture of our great High Priest. One able to “sympathize with our weaknesses”, one who “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin”, thus one who is able “to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 4:15, 2:18). He is Jesus, the Son of God, “who has passed through the heavens” (4:14). But can I fully comprehend all that His passing through the heavens and coming to earth meant for Him?
That the eternal God, the Alpha and Omega without beginning or end, would even have “days” and function in time and space is somewhat mind-stretching. That He would be compelled to pray–as all mere mortals, at times, are compelled to pray–to get Him through something that reduced Him to “loud cries and tears” is, if you think about it, kind of unfathomable. After all, we’re talking about Someone who “upholds the universe by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3)
But that He was heard because of His reverence? Really?
That’s why He was heard by Him who was able to raise Him from the grave and thus, save Him from death? Because the King of kings and Lord of lords demonstrated godly fear in the garden? Really? Because of that?
Nothing to do with fact that He is The Word of God? That when He speaks the armies of heaven fall in line, and that from His mouth comes a sharp two-edged sword (Rev. 19:13-16)? But rather, He was heard because He demonstrated awe-invoked fear? How can that be?
Can I even get what it meant for God to come in flesh? What it really entailed for Him to have “learned obedience through what He suffered” and be “made perfect” so that He might become the “source of eternal life” (Heb. 5:8-9)? I’m thinking not.
Man fully man. Confined in time and space as He experienced what could only be experienced through the days of His flesh. Knowing the need to pray and supplicate and depend on a loving Father to help Him in time of need. The Prince of Peace knowing such inner turmoil and anguish that it drove Him to loud cries and tears. Coming before the heaven He ruled in such veneration that that was the reason His prayers were heard. Heard because of His reverence.
Honestly, more than this mind can really noodle on. Almost too much to try and chew on.
Man of sorrows, what a Name
For the Son of Man who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
O’ what a Savior!
What unfathomable grace.
Glory to His Name!