Hebrews 5 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Jonathan Chou, Gracepoint Berkeley

What can I learn from the fact that even Jesus “offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death”?

Jesus’ suffering and prayers set for me an example of how to pray fervently, how to humble myself before God and cry out for other people and my own sins. As the weight of the sin of the world was laid on Jesus’ shoulders, he cried out prayers to God for our sins. Why the loud cries and tears? Because he was heartbroken at what he saw in the world: people who were going to crucify the son of God, people who were going about life oblivious to the coming judgment, whose lives are invested in worldly treasures that don’t last and are not rich toward God, and who are enslaved to their sins but think they’re free. He also saw my sins and the idols that I would be enslaved to, and that broke his heart to the point that he prayed and petitioned for me with loud cries and tears. What can I learn from this? If I actually see myself and see this world the way Jesus does, then my prayers have to be much more intense and fervent. Being an unemotional person is no excuse for dry prayers when there is a spiritual war going on around me as we reach out to the new students on campus, and as they are being tempted by all sorts of toxic things in college, from parties to peer pressure to ambition to escapism and addictions. How should I see this campus I’ve been placed on and how should I pray? I need to see this campus as Jesus saw people, harassed and helpless, sheep without a shepherd, and I need to cry out for them, for them to be protected from those toxic things and to have open hearts to receive the truth of the gospel message. I also need to cry out for my own sins and my selfish and small heart that hide and darken the light of the gospel message that should be coming out of me. What are the things that keep me from praying the way Jesus modeled for us? Sometimes it’s because I’m so preoccupied by things going on in my own life, that I’m not even taking time to think about other people and their needs. My view of other people also needs to be wholly shaped by the biblical perspective, where the categories with which I think about others are informed by the Bible. The worldly view of other people tells me that if they seem happy and successful, they’re all right, so leave them alone. The biblical view tells me that people who aren’t Christian are God’s lost children, and they are on their way toward eternal separation from God, and Christians are God’s ambassadors, called to go out and find his lost children and bring them back. When I take on that biblical perspective, then it becomes clear that I need to cry out for myself and for this campus to God, the only one who can save us. 

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Submitted by Ander Chen, Gracepoint Berkeley

What I can learn from the fact that even Jesus “offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death” is his humility. This picture of the son of God on his knees, in this world as a man shows me the attitude that I must have daily. Jesus humbled himself and took human form and as a result even he had to spend time in prayer to God just as I must.
 
Jesus learning obedience through what he suffered gives me the picture of what it looks like to learn as a follower of Christ. Jesus learned obedience to the Father by obeying God’s commands for his life and trusting in God’s plan for him. Because Jesus humbled himself on the cross, he had to undergo torture, beatings, mocking, verbal abuse and ultimately his death. But through it, he was ushered into God’s plan for mankind and because of his obedience to God, God was glorified.
 
The emphasis on prayer and petition largely sticks out to me because I know that I am called to imitate this in my own life. That means that prayer is to be a daily part of my life and a discipline I must continue grow into. Prayer cannot just be relegated to set times such as prayer meetings or prayer band times, but in my daily life. In humility, Jesus turned to God and entrusted his entire self to God’s plan. Personally, I have to do this daily practice of turning to God with my life, my time, my energy, and whatever resources I have. It’s dangerous when I don’t because my own pride takes over and when I try to engage in spiritual battle and ministry I depend only on my own limited wisdom and understanding. As a result, I do not learn obedience but grow in pride and only more distant from God. 
 
 What is the relationship between Jesus’ suffering and “eternal salvation for all who obey him?”  What sufferings are before me which God can use to help me learn obedience?
 
The relationship between Jesus’ suffering and “eternal salvation fro all who obey him” is that I will go through suffering of some sort which Jesus encountered. Not literally the same sufferings as humiliation, torture, crucifixion, and ultimately death but through criticism, verbal abuse, and rejection. Just as Apostle Paul calls Timothy to join with him in suffering for the gospel in 2 Timothy 1, so that is my calling as well. Christ suffered at the cost of his own life as did Apostles and Christian martyrs of old and recent all for the sake of sharing this news of eternal salvation. As I think about this fact how much more must I work and not let my insecurities or emotional discomfort and fears of “suffering” prevent me from sharing the gospel. I’ll probably never encounter anything to the scale or others living here in the US so how much more must I deny my flesh, my feelings, my comfort and be bold with the gospel and love people as Christ did. I am reminded of the eternal perspective 
 
 The “sufferings” which are before me that can help me to learn obedience is the task I have of being a ministering and discipling people on the Berkeley campus. What this means is I will have to expand my capacity to love people, pray for them, have their needs on my mind. It will be through this process of discipling people, bringing up character flaws and issues with people in which I may receive rejection and even criticism from. It means that when I am vulnerable with people and honest with them, they may take what I say and flat out reject me and situations can become tense. In the grand scheme of things, these aren’t really any great sufferings or even comparable to what Christ and others have encountered but I had to admit that it is hard for me. I know I have to stay faithful to this task and hold on to the vision in which I have for them. Through it, I will learn what it means to obey God’s commands to love, persevere, sacrifice, and serve. Praying and entrusting these people to God will also teach me humility as I lean not on my own understanding but of God’s and learn to embrace God’s plan for my life and not my own.

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