Let us press on to maturity
The distinctive function of an Old Testament priest was to offer sacrifice. Thus, being a priest, Jesus had to offer sacrifice. Since He was not a Levite, He could not offer the sacrifices of the law, so He offered His own specific priestly sacrifice, which was prayer.
“He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him [God the Father] who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:7–8)
Jesus’ reverent obedience caused the Father to hear His prayers. He learned obedience through suffering. Jesus had to learn obedience, and we have to learn obedience in the same way. We find out what obedience is by obeying. We do not find it out by listening to sermons on obedience. Those may help us, but obedience has to be worked out, step by step, by obeying. Obedience brings suffering because it demands denial of one’s self-will. The key phrase in the obedience of Jesus was:
“Not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42)
Every step of obedience in the Christian life is one of self-denial. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself” (Matthew 16:24). That is painful, for the old ego does not like to be denied. Ego says, “I want,” “I’m important,” “This suits me,” “I feel good,” “I don’t want,” and the like. Following the Lord requires a continual denial of that ego.
In the above passage from Hebrews, God was talking to us about coming into maturity as sons through obedience. Jesus is the pattern. God brought Him to maturity through obedience. This is the pathway for you and me, too. This is the new and living way.
Thank You, Lord, that You are leading me onward. I proclaim that following the Lord requires a continual denial of my ego, and I choose to follow Jesus’ pattern in meeting this requirement. I shall press on to maturity. Amen.