8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (Hebrews 5:8-9)
That first verse there has puzzled me a long time. How did Christ learn obedience by the things He suffered?
I know I have learned obedience, but hardly ever has it been by suffering, except from suffering the consequences of disobedience. How did Jesus learn from suffering when He did not disobey?
I’ve learned obedience by learning from other people’s mistakes, but that did not involve my suffering at all. I’ve learned the sweetness of obedience by enjoying the blessings afterward, but that certainly wasn’t suffering. I’ve been cajoled into obedience by parents and leaders, but I don’t know that can be called suffering either.
The only thing I can think of is if that suffering happened as Jesus had to make righteous choices and do His Father’s will. We are told elsewhere that Jesus said, “I do not my own will, but His that sent me.” We often think those righteous choices were easy and painless for Jesus, but what if they weren’t? What if it was just as hard for Him to give up His own will in favor of what Heavenly Father wanted as it is for anyone else? I wonder what kind of pain Jesus went through as He worked to reconcile His own will to Heavenly Father’s. Still, we know He yielded willingly. Every. Single. Time. Knowing what I know of my own stubbornness, that gives me a huge respect for Jesus’s righteousness.
It’s also possible that part of the learning obedience through suffering happened as Jesus was stretched by what Heavenly Father asked Him to do. Growing from grace to grace, He must have been stretched almost constantly.
Hmm, maybe I've learned obedience through suffering more than I thought.
What do you think? Can you think of any other way Jesus might have learned obedience through suffering?