“God…made Jesus perfect by suffering.” Heb 2:10 CEV
None of us has come close to experiencing what Jesus endured on the cross, yet we run from suffering. A lost job, a debilitating illness, a painful divorce—none of us escapes. Even “Jesus…had to suffer before he could learn what it really means to obey God” (Heb 5:8 CEV). Pain is a learning experience. The Bible says, “God…made Jesus perfect by suffering.” Philip Yancey writes: “God understood physical pain, having designed the nervous system that carries it to our brains…But had a Spirit ever felt physical pain? Not until the Incarnation. In thirty-three years on earth Jesus learned about…family squabbles…social rejection…verbal abuse and betrayal. And he learned too about pain. What it feels like to have an accuser leave the red imprint of his fingers on your face…to have a crude iron spike pounded through muscle, tendon, and skin. On earth, God learned all that. And because of Jesus, God hears our groans differently. The author of Hebrews marveled that whatever we are going through, God has gone through: ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but…one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin’ (Heb 4:15 NIV). We have a high priest who graduated from the school of suffering and ‘is able to be gentle with those who do not understand and who are doing wrong things’ (Heb 5:2 NCV)…We need no longer cry into the abyss, ‘Hey, [God], are you listening?’ By joining us on earth, Jesus gave visible, historical proof that God hears our groans and…groans along with us.” What a comfort!