This message was part of the ‘For Such a Time as This’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Gorton in late 2017. The full series included the following sermons:
This sermon was based on Hebrews 5:7-9
The Purpose of Jesus’ Prayer
7In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him
Obedience Can be Learnt
- Obedience is a difficult thing in the modern world. The individual is the most important, more important than a group/community. We view obedience as a loss of our own power. Obedience is receiving instruction from someone or something else. It’s about us dying a little bit – saying “Someone else, something else or a community is more important than me”
- It’s not glamourous – not exciting – but vital. Obedience to Jesus is a total game changer – sees lives changed – sick healed – churches planted – relationships restored. Obedience to Jesus moves his Kingdom forward. In his Kingdom – no more tears – suffering – sickness – poverty – death. Obedience to Jesus makes those things more likely!
- We don’t worship a God who demands obedience – but doesn’t understand us – he walked the earth for 30 years – lived as a man – worked a job – part of a family – had friends – knew the chaos difficulty of life. So the call to Follow him and to be obedient is given with Jesus as an example of how!
Obedience in Prayer
Jesus prayed, he often went off to pray, to a quiet place, before others woke he took time alone with his father.
He prayed when in difficulty, he prayed for people – for the sick. He prayed for resources. He prayed with emotion.
God is not disconnected from you, he doesn’t expect you to approach quietly and calmly, he knows what you need and what you are going through.
Obedience in Focus
- It is important to remember who we are praying to. Jesus prayed to his father who defeats death. He knew he’d be killed on the cross – he also knew that crucifixion – is an agonising death – a public humiliation that can last for days. Jesus knew he was praying to someone who could raise the dead – who can decide the course of history – Jesus was focussed.
- As we learn obedience we must remember who we are obedient to – Someone with power to beat death.
- When we focus on who we are praying to fear is overcome – because Jesus changes the rules of the Universe – he defeats death.
Obedience in Relationship
- Although he was a son, Jesus learned obedience. This is a glimpse into the relationship of Jesus to his Father – he was a son. The primary description of our relationship with God – we are his Children.
- He learned obedience – Does this mean Jesus was disobedient? Does it mean he didn’t understand what obedience was? That he needed to be taught? Neither – I think it means that he learnt what it was to be human, to have flesh, lots of competing desires.
- Humans are pulled in all sorts of directions, we may all want to be good but lots of things tempt us to live selfishly or worse – Jesus experienced all of those. Jesus was tempted to give up on God, to worship the world, to live for himself. But he was obedient – he learned what it was to be obedient. He did that because he was a son.
- Jesus knew he had a father – good fathers love their children, do anything for their children and want to bring up good kids and have a good relationship with them. A good father knows he can’t scare his children into obedience, can’t ignore your children into obedience, can’t threaten them into obedience, can’t beat them into obedience
- For sons and daughters obedience cannot come from fear. Obedience comes from relationship.
Obedience in Suffering
- Fascinating thing about Gethsemane – Jesus asked God for a plan B – he could see the pain & humiliation that was coming and he asked “Is there another way?” We must remember that about Jesus – he knew extreme difficulty. Yet in that moment he said – “not as I will, but your will be done”.
- Jesus made himself obedient – he said ‘I won’t get my own way – I will be satisfied with what you want’. True obedience is learnt when we say we will do what God wants not what we want. It’s an easy thing to say – it is very difficult to actually do.
Jesus was obedient
- His obedience took him to the cross – killed him
- His obedience – resurrected him – changed the entire Universe – because death no longer rules over us
- His obedience – gives us the chance to be obedient
- To lay down our lives – to turn away from our way of doing things – to live for God
- To be – bought back into relationship with God
- Jesus obedience – chance for us to live lives of obedience to him