Perfect through suffering


For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.—Hebrews 2:10 

I find it interesting that the passage from Luke today speaks of Jesus’ perfect knowledge (see J.C. Ryle’s comment) and this passage in Hebrews speaks of suffering as a means of “perfecting.” Here is an explanation from John Piper,  in a sermon, “Our Captain Made Perfect Through Suffering”

First, notice that these sufferings are seen as the means by which God “perfects” his Son. What does that mean? Does it mean that Jesus was sinfully imperfect and had to suffer in order to rid himself of sin? No, because this book, more than any other letter, is insistent that Christ was free from sin (4:15; 7:26; 9:14). What then? Hebrews 5:8–9 gives the answer:

Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.  And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.

Here being “made perfect” means “learning obedience” through suffering. This does not mean that he was once disobedient and then became obedient. It means that Jesus moved from untested obedience into suffering and then through suffering into tested and proven obedience. And this proving himself obedient through suffering was his “being perfected.”

Now the writer says (in Hebrews 2:10) that it was fitting for Christ to attain this proven perfection through sufferings. Why? Because Christ is leading many sons to glory and so he must succeed where we failed. We have all suffered and failed to be perfected by it. Instead we murmur and complain and get angry at God and his providence. In this way we will never attain the glory of God. Psalm 8 will never be true for us. Someone must come and rescue us and lead us to glory. And if Christ is going to lead us to glory, then he must succeed in sufferings where we failed. And that he did. He was perfected in them. He always obeyed when tested, even when tested with the most horrible sufferings. So he is a fitting Captain and Forerunner and Leader to glory. And the salvation he accomplished is the greater for this fittingness.

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