Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

The Cost of Obedience

 

Hebrews 5:7-9  who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him 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.  And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.

 

In the Days of His Flesh

The Lord was not a superman type of man.  He was an ordinary type of man.  We understand that he had all the feelings and emotions of a normal person but experienced temptations and feelings and emotions without sinning.  When it came time to die on the cross, He agonized in anticipation of that event in the garden of Gethsemane like a normal man.  He agonized to the point that He was sweating great drops of blood.  He told His disciples that His soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.  It is my opinion that Satan was attacking Him and tried to convince Him that it would be better to die before the cross in order to avoid the agony that was coming.  But the Lord didn’t sin.  He did however vehemently cry with tears as a normal person would.   

 

Vehement Crying and Tears

The Bible records three times that the Lord cried.  He cried over Jerusalem in Luke 19:41.   Because the nation of Israel had rejected Him, the day was coming in the not too far distant future when the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed and the people in the city would be massacred.  Titus. the Roman general, fulfilled this prophecy.  The Lord knew that this judgement was coming.  There can be no doubt that He caused the judgement to come after giving the Jews the opportunity to change their minds about Him (repent) and receive Him as their Messiah.  But, even so, He was not happy with the fact that this judgement was coming.  He wept in view of it.  And I wonder if He isn’t weeping today over all of those who have had opportunity to be saved for eternity and for one reason or another have rejected Him and His claims.  Those of us who believe in the truth of the Bible agonize over those who are missing out on God’s salvation.  But our agony is nothing compared to the agony of the Lord.  He LOVED the whole world, not just the part of the world that has accepted Him. 

 

The Lord also cried at the grave of Lazarus in John 11.  He knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead but I believe He understood and sympathized with those who had lost a loved one.  They had thought that the Lord would come and heal His friend but He didn’t.  They didn’t know that the Lord had something better in mind.  He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.  I have often wondered how Lazarus felt about that but certainly his sisters were happy to have him back.  But while the Lord may have cried for a number of reasons, He certainly understood in a very human way the sorrows associated with losing a loved one.

 

And now He weeps in the Garden as He anticipates the Cross.  He will be bullied.  Psalm 22 tells us of the strong bulls of Bashan.  He will be mocked.  He will be scourged.  All the while He will be declared innocent by civil judges.  But all of this was necessary to fulfill Old Testament prophecies and for Him to SUFFER the just for us the unjust.

 

Salvation from Death

Many people seem to think that the cup that He wanted removed in the Garden was death on the cross.  But He was not saved from death on the cross.  However, He was saved from death according to this passage in Hebrews.  He says in the Garden, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me. (Matthew 26:38)."  Whatever He meant by that, that is the death from which He was delivered in this passage in Hebrews.  I believe that the cup he wanted removed had to do with the attack of Satan causing him to want death in the Garden.  Angels ministered to Him because of the oppression and mental agony that He was experiencing.  His mental suffering must have been as bad as his physical suffering.  I don’t think we understand how bad Satanic attack can be at times.  Thank God, we have the Lord to encourage us when Satan goes on a mad rampage. 

 

Experiencing Obedience

As I said earlier, the Lord was a normal man.  As a normal man He experienced the cost of obedience as a result of the Garden experience.  He didn’t learn how to be obedient, but He did experience obedience and He experienced its cost.  Today as Christians we want to be popular, successful (which means we want to make lots of money), we want to be accepted.  We don’t want the reproach that comes with obedience.  We have cast off many basic truths that are clearly taught in the Bible so that we don’t offend unbelievers who may visit with us in our church meetings.  The Jews said they were worshipping Jehovah and that they were the chosen people, yet they crucified the Messiah.  Religious people did the crucifying!  I wonder how many of us today who claim to be Christians in the United States have followed in the footsteps of Christ and have taken unpopular positions that please the Lord even though those positions are condemned by those that call themselves Christians in this world.  Have we "learned obedience?" 

 

Bruce Collins

 

Meditation for the weeks of November 27 and December 4, 2016

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