Topic:Perfect Through Suffering
In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.
The earthly life of Jesus is referred to in one phrase, “perfect through what he suffered.” Was he not perfect when he came? When Jesus was a babe in Bethlehem’s manger, was he not perfect even then? When he was tempted in the desert and Satan tried to turn him from the cross, was he not already perfect? When he was feeding the five thousand, in compassionate ministry to the hungry multitudes, was he not perfect? Why then does it say he was perfected by suffering?
There are, of course, two perfections involved. He was perfect in his person all along, but he was not yet perfect in his work. A person may be perfect in health, perfect in body, perfect in strength, perfect in soundness of humanity, but not yet perfect in the work they are called to do. Suppose Jesus Christ had come full-grown into the world a week before he died. Suppose he had never been born as a baby and grown up into adult life, but had stepped into the earth full-grown as a man. Suppose he had uttered in one week’s time the Sermon on the Mount, the Olivet Discourse, the Upper Room Discourse and all the teachings that we have from his lips recorded in Scripture. Imagine that he came on Monday and on Friday they took him out and crucified him, hanging him on the cross, and that he died, bearing the sins of the world. Would he still have been a perfect Savior?
Certainly he would have been perfect as far as bearing our guilt is concerned — that only required a sinless Savior. But he would not have been perfect as far as bearing our infirmities, our weaknesses, is concerned. He would have been able to fit us for heaven, but never able to make us ready for earth right now. In such a case, we could always say, “How can God expect me to live a perfect life in my situation? After all, I’m only human! Christ has never been where I am. What does he know of my pressures, what does he know of what I’m up against?” But he was made perfect through his suffering. He does know, he does know!
He was a man who experienced fear and uncertainty. If we deny him this, we deny him his identification with us as humans. These were the temptations he faced, the pressures he withstood. Every fear is temptation, every sense of uncertainty is temptation. Of course he never acted out of uncertainty, he never spoke out of fear. The moment Jesus felt fear gripping his heart, he leaned back upon the full-flowing life of the indwelling Father and that fear was met by faith. The moment he felt uncertain, he rested back upon the indwelling wisdom of God and was immediately given a word that was the right word for the situation. Yet, because he fully entered into our fears and pressures, he is fully one with us and “able to bring many sons and daughters to glory.”
Lord, grant me depth, honesty, and earnestness that I may believe this marvelous ministry made available to me by the Lord Jesus in bringing many sons and daughters to glory through that which he suffered.
Jesus suffered intense temptation to sin, yet further chose to bear the sins of the world on the cross for our salvation. Do we grasp the depths of His suffering and His total identification with us in our sin and in our suffering?