“It was fitting that God . . . should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering" (Hebrews 2:10).
The whole earthly life of Jesus is summed up in one phrase. He was made “perfect through suffering.” But wasn’t Jesus perfect when he was born in the manger? And didn’t he live a sinless life? Wasn’t his death the death of an innocent man? Yes. He was morally perfect. That is one kind of perfection or completion.
But there is another kind of perfection or completion that comes only by experience. Jesus entered fully into the sufferings of this world and emerged victorious over them. He was completed in his experience on the earth by the things he suffered. That is why he may be called the “author” of our salvation.
Christ came to blaze the trail so we might follow him on to glory. But the trail is marked with suffering, with tears, with rejection, and it ultimately leads to the cross. Anyone who follows Jesus will end up where he ended up–outside Jerusalem on a hill shaped like a skull. He is not just leading us to heaven. He is leading us to glory. There is glory at the end of the Christian life. Jesus came from heaven so we might follow him in suffering and like him be made complete through suffering.
That explains so much that happens to us. What is God doing in your life and in mine? He is putting us through the Curriculum of Grace in the School of Suffering. School starts the moment we trust Christ and ends the day we die. How will we ever pass the test and win the degree? By keeping our eyes on Jesus. He’s the valedictorian of the class. He never failed a test. He blazed the trail through the School of Suffering that we might follow in his path. He is leading us to glory one step at a time.
Lord Jesus, we bow before you today. We gladly confess you as the Author of our salvation. Complete your work in us no matter what it takes so that we might reach the prize and one day be with you in glory. Amen.
Ray Pritchard pastored in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. Married to Marlene for 38 years, he enjoys being a husband, a father and a grandfather, riding his bike, and playing with Dudley and Gary, beloved basset hounds.