Lesson 8 -- third quarter 1997
July 20, 1997
Jesus--the Omniscient Creator Who knows splendor, wealth, glory, comfort and joy like none of us can begin to even faintly imagine. But He chose to come to Earth. What a step down! He chose to come to Earth, making His home and heritage among the planet's deprived. He didn't come at a time of great technological advances, nor did He come to find His place among the rich or even the middle class. He came to suffer.
Jesus--the Sovereign Almighty Whose power, authority and kingdom know no end. But he chose to come to Earth as a man. What a step down! He chose to come to Earth, making His home and heritage among history's most despised. He didn't come at the time of Israel's greatness, nor did He come to find His place among rulers and the powerful. He came as the Lowly One of Israel; He came to humble himself.
Why the suffering? Why the humbling? Because He came to learn.
He Who knows all came to learn? On the face of it, that seems like such a contradiction. How can God learn anything by experience? How can the Omniscient Jehovah learn anything more? Puzzling, isn't it. But consider this: God had never before experienced humanness as Jesus did. As a man, Jesus learned some things because He went through some things He had never experienced prior to His incarnation. He didn't learn anything He didn't already know, but He learned to know them from a flesh-and-blood human perspective. Mind boggling, isn't it. But then, so is God; so are His ways.
"Touched with the feeling of our infirmities." That's Jesus! No matter what we experience, no matter what may be our weaknesses and frustrations and limitations, Jesus is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows! Our High Priest can empathize with us because He was once one of us. You see, Jesus came to learn. And having learned, He can help us as no one else possibly can.
"Yet learned He obedience." He came to seek and to do the will of the Father. His meat (sustenance and delight) was doing His Father's will. He declared without reservation, "I do always those things that please Him" (John 8:29). As His mission on earth was building to its completion He told His disciples, "I have kept my Father's commandments" (John 15:10), and His Father, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do" (John 17:4). And when the choice was His own will or that of His Father, He chose His Father's.
We have a lot for which to thank Jesus. Today's lesson shows us another angle on the greatness of His love for us. Yes, ultimately He came to effect our salvation and sanctification. But never forget that He also came so that He might better identify with us, and thus be better able to help us in our times of need.
Whether you are suffering presently or whenever you face suffering in the future, remember your High Priest Who deliberately and purposefully came here to suffer...for your sake, no matter how you look at it.
Whether you are struggling with rebellion right now or whenever you face the temptation in the future, remember your High Priest Who chose to come here to learn obedience. Lean on Him; He will teach you what He has learned.