I’m sure that all of us here have a very high regard for Jesus. He is not only our savior but also God in the flesh. Scripture says that, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word…” (Hebrews 1:3 NIV) Other Scriptures talk about the fact that the universe was made through him (Hebrews 1:2) and that he is sinless (Hebrews 4:15).
Because Jesus is such an exalted person and we have such a high regard for Him, it’s difficult for us to imagine that He would ever need to have learned anything. Even worse, we would consider it almost sacrilegious to suggest that Jesus was once less than perfect. The fact is that Jesus did have to learn something, and He was not able to perfectly fulfill the role of Savior until He had learned it. In Hebrews 5:7-9 it says, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him…” (NIV)
Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered. It’s easy to be obedient when things are going the way we want them. But the real test comes when we are told to do something we don’t want to do. Jesus prayed that He would not have to die. The text says that He was heard. Ultimately Jesus was saved from death. He rose on the third day. But his prayer to be spared from having to die was answered with a “No!” It’s in those times when we are told, “no” that we learn to obey. It was His obedience which made Jesus perfect for the work of saving us.
The unleavened bread which symbolizes Christ’s broken body and the juice which symbolizes Christ’s blood, remind us each week of His obedience. More than that, the emblems are a personal reminder that we, too, are called to be obedient. Jesus told his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (John 15:9-10 NIV)
As we look back over the last week, I’m sure we are all aware that our obedience hasn’t been perfect. We often fall short of what we should be. Learning the lesson of obedience is not easy. But let’s not be discouraged. These emblems not only remind us of the need for obedience, but of Jesus’ love. We have another chance. We can confess our failures and move on. Let’s use this opportunity to rededicate ourselves to learning the lesson of obedience and remaining in Christ’s love.