A Long-Distance Race
Mighty God, You are not just my commander, You are my commander-in-chief. Help me to be obedient without reserve.
Read Hebrews 5:1–10
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Jesus—he is the greatest One to know; the wisest One to follow; the perfect One to trust; the faithful One to serve; and the highest One to love” (Roy Hession).
In my conversations with Jehovah’s Witnesses we come back time and again to who Jesus is. Not only is this the key to our confronting those who deny Jesus’ deity, it is also essential to understanding and interpreting the Scriptures for our own living. The writer of Hebrews has been demonstrating this through his use of well-known passages he now applies to Christ—a model for us in handling Old Testament references. The kingdom, the Law, the national identity of the Hebrew people—all are fulfilled in Jesus. Knowing these Scriptures illuminates our understanding of Jesus and the new covenant he inaugurates.
In particular, today’s reading brings together the paradoxes of Jesus’ identity: deity and humanity; glory and humility. He is fully God yet he is called into his role, he submits, he learns obedience. What can this possibly mean? Some suggest that the picture is the company owner’s son learning the business he will one day inherit by rotating around the different sectors, experiencing all their dimensions. We must be careful, however, not to cast Jesus as less than perfect in his incarnation and certainly not less than divine.
It is more useful to see Jesus giving us an example of persistence to follow. In an age when we expect things to be instant and results obvious, Jesus’ refusal to take shortcuts in his mission is a challenge. “When the disciples expressed horror about his cross, he told them about theirs… The act of taking up the cross may [be for us] a crisis. But following after Christ and denying oneself is a daily, painful, costly reality that cannot be achieved by a sudden crisis, but only by a lifetime of constantly renewed dedication and obedient responsiveness to all that God requires of his people and equips them to do” (Raymond Brown).
“Father… take this cup… yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). How does this statement challenge you?
Heavenly Father, putting Your priorities before mine does not come easily for me. I long to do this but I need an infusion of Your power to see it done.