1 Ch 9; Heb 5-6: Psalm 22
‘imitators of those who through faith and patience inherited the promises’
It is in such passages as today’s reading form the Hebrews that we dicover a unity in the Scriptures – all of the Scriptures pointing to the same End – which is the person of Christ Jesus. We have the words of Psalm 110, the Royal psalm which speaks of ‘a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek’ – itself a backward reference to the encounter of Abraham with Melchizedek in Genesis 14. Then again we hear of Abraham, or rather of God’s promise to Abraham and a reference ot the incident in Genesis 15 when God puts Abraham to sleep to bless him – ‘swearing by himself for he had no-one greater by whom to swear.
Hebrews is scattered with pictures of those who have endured to the end. But supremely it is a witness to The Faithful One – Jesus Christ – ‘who learned obedience through what he suffered’. This suffering as we considered yesterday is not the suffering which is the common lot of all humanity, it is the suffering which we undergo when who we are in Christ comes into conflict with the world in which we live, exemplified Perfectly in the crucifixion of Jesus.
What is more there is a strange note here which we might miss – that Jesus ‘learned obedience through what he suffered. It was not that he suffered because he was obedient, but that he learned obedience through what he suffered. In our suffering for the faith we share, as we exhort one another, we grow in obedience – and thus Christ becomes our source of Salvation.
For it is obedience that we are to learn. St Paul as he opens his gospel to the Romans, describes it in terms of the Obedience that comes through faith. Jesus warns those around him ‘why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?’ To listen to these words of Jesus is to suffer if we love him? ‘Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do what I say?.
All to often as Christians we imagine faith as something in our head – whereas it is nothing less than obedience to Christ, the faithful one – who through His obedience has opened a new and living way.