Conforming to the image of Christ
While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. Hebrews 5:7-9 The Lord Jesus Christ was subjected to hardship and suffering while He was here on earth. And as the writer of Hebrew said Christ “offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears.” This is the description of the agony that the Lord Jesus Christ went through when He was at the Garden of Gethsemane. With what He went through proved that He identifies with what we are going through in life. He identified with the testing that every believer is going through and the earnestness in praying. He modeled to us how we should persevere in our prayers. God’s goal for us when we came to trust Him as our Lord and Savior is our conformity to His image. This is how we will grow in spiritual maturity because He lives in us and that our lives be an expression of His glory. “And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory... We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ” (Colossians 1:27-28). While at the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked the Father to remove the cup of suffering that He will be facing when He will be delivered in the hands of the Roman soldiers. “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Matthew 26:39). We know that Jesus was not spared from dying at the cross. Yet the writer of Hebrews said, “God heard His prayers.” The answer to His prayers was not a deliverance from suffering and death but His full acceptance of the Father’s will and living it out as He experienced the cross. To help us conform to His image, there will be times that God’s answer to our prayers is not sparing us from difficult trials in life but a realization of His will even if it is in contradiction to our personal desire. There are times that His answer in our prayer when facing difficulties in life is providing the strength so we can say “Not my will but your will be done.” The Lord Jesus Christ “learned obedience from the things he suffered.” If we are to conform to His image, we too, will learn obedience through our suffering.
Noel De Guzman