May 3 I Friday
1 Kings 14-15
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” —Hebrews 12:7
How much do we know about Jesus? If we take all four Gospels, which give us the historical record of His life, we have a total of about one month’s worth of information. That is very little about Jesus’s 33 years on earth, but John tells us if everything about Jesus was written down, the whole world would not contain the books that could have been written.
What we can ascertain is that Jesus was born into a hostile environment. He was conceived in the womb of an unwed mother and born in a manger. As a baby, He became a refugee, fleeing to Egypt with His parents. Eventually, they settled in an insignificant, obscure little town called Nazareth. Not the beginnings one would expect from someone who was born to save the human race!
In His growing years, Luke tells us, “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). But none of this growth was automatic, as if Jesus was God pretending to be a human being. Jesus became a real human being, where He had to learn and grow. When Jesus turned 30 years of age, his ministry began. At first, the crowds were impressed, but after listening to what He said, they rejected Him. John tells us, “For even His own brothers did not believe in Him” (John 7:5). This was foreshadowed in the Old Testament by the prophet Isaiah who said, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53:3).
Our danger is that we tend to put Jesus on a pedestal and detach Him from the real world of struggles, temptations and battles. We often depict Him in a long white robe that is perfectly clean with no dirt or soil marks. However, Jesus had dirty feet—metaphorically as well as literally—He lived in an environment that included cries, tears and suffering.
Jesus was not exempt from the influences of pain and suffering but through his predicaments, the author of Hebrews tells us, “...he learned obedience from what He suffered...” (Hebrews 5:8). God was working under the surface, molding and stretching, so that although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered. We too must recognize that some situations in our lives, which we would gladly cast off, are part of God’s plan in making us godly.
From Jesus’s humble beginnings to His humiliating death, He lived as the Father willed. As tempting as it is for us to wish that our life would be void of suffering, we ought to remind ourselves that Jesus did not live a glamourous life but He learned obedience in everything He endured.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for being an example of what it means to live in obedience to God as a human being. Help me to persevere through the sufferings in my life.