IN THE DAYS OF HIS FLESH HE OFFERED UP BOTH PRAYERS AND SUPPLICATIONS WITH LOUD CRYING AND TEARS: os en tais hemerais tes sarkos autou, deeseis te kai hiketerias pros ton dunamenon (PPPMSA) sozein (PAN) auton ek thanatou meta krauges ischuras kai dakruon prosenegkas (AAPMSN) kai eisakoustheis (APPMSN) apo tes eulabeias: (Heb 2:14; Jn 1:14; Ro 8:3; Galatians 4:4; 1Ti 3:16; 1Jn 4:3; 2John 1:7) (Psalms 22:1-21; 69:1; 88:1; Matthew 26:28-44; Mark 14:32-39; Leviticus 2:2; 4:4-14; John 17:1) (Matthew 27:46,50; Mark 15:34,37) (Isaiah 53:3,11; John 11:35)
OT PASSAGES QUOTED IN HEBREWS 5 - Click for complete list of OT Quotations/Allusions
KEY WORDS IN HEBREWS 5 - Click for complete list of Key Words in Hebrews
In the days of His flesh (cp Heb 2:14) - The writer again emphasizes the reality of our Lord's humanity and His participation in all the experiences of His people, which makes Him fit for having compassion on those for whom He mediates.
Flesh (4561)(sarx) in this context clearly does not refer to the fallen sin nature but signifies Christ's human nature not yet glorified, a nature with all its infirmities to which He was exposed such as hunger, thirst, weariness, labor, sorrow, grief, fear, pain, death itself.
A W Pink - During that time (days of His flesh) Christ was “a man of sorrows,” filled with them, never free from them; “and acquainted with grief,” as a companion that never departed from Him. No doubt there is special reference to the close of those days when His sorrows and trials came to a head. “The ‘days of His flesh’ mean the whole time of His humiliation—that period when He came among men as one of them, but still the Son of God, whose majesty was hid. (Christ Superior to Aaron )
Spurgeon - Our blessed Lord was in such a condition that He pleaded out of weakness with the God who was able to save. When our Lord was compassed with the weakness of flesh He was much in prayer. It would be an interesting exercise for the younger people to note all the times in which the Lord Jesus is said to have prayed. The occasions recorded are very numerous; but these are no doubt merely a few specimens of a far greater number. Jesus was habitually in prayer; He was praying even when His lips did not utter a sound. His heart was always in communion with the Great Father above. This is said to have been the case “in the days of his flesh.” This term is used to distinguish His life on earth from His former estate in glory. From of old the Son of God dwelt with the Father; but He was not then a partaker of human nature, and the eternal ages were not “the days of his flesh.” Then He could not have entered into that intimate sympathy with us that He now exercises since He has been born at Bethlehem and has died at Calvary. “The days of his flesh” intend this mortal life—the days of His weakness, humiliation, labor, and suffering. It is true that He wears our nature in heaven, for He said to His disciples after His resurrection, “Touch me and see; because a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39). But yet we should not call the period of His exaltation at the right hand of the Father “the days of his flesh.” He prays still: in fact, He continually makes intercession for the transgressors; but it is in another style from that in which He prayed “in the days of his flesh.”
As Ironside says "He trod the path of faith and took the place of dependence on the Father."
The writer now explains how in a sense Christ was under training for the priesthood, and thus he proceeds to describe the process of training.
A T Robertson - Here (He 5:7, 8, 9) the author turns to the other requirement of a high priest (human sympathy). Since Jesus was “without sin” (He 4:15) he did not have to offer sacrifices “for himself,” yet in all other points he felt the sympathy of the human high priest, even more so by reason of his victory over sin. (Hebrews 5 Word Pictures)
Hughes makes the point that "throughout this time on earth it was the custom of the incarnate Son to maintain fellowship with and to express his dependence on the Father by means of prayer and supplication (see Mk. 1:35; 6:46; Lk. 5:16; 6:12; Jn. 17:1ff., etc.).
Phil Newton - Our writer gives us a picture of the humanity of God the Son as He faithfully exercised His divinely appointed office of High Priest. In seeing Christ bearing the emblems of His mediatorial office the struggling believer can find new courage to press on in the face of trials, persecution, and even doubts. Paul reminds us concerning Christ, "Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men" (Phil 2:6, 7). As man Jesus Christ was not less than God. He remained God throughout His earthly pilgrimage. Yet, to use J. B. Phillips translation, "For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God's equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as mortal man." Jesus Christ lived as a Man-for that is exactly what He was (and is!).
That is why the writer is pressing this point, for these struggling believers needed to see that Christ had set the way of obedience before them. They were to be strengthened by looking to Him who "learned obedience from the things which he suffered." Our writer could have said, "In the days of his humanity," in order to soften the effect of Christ being a man. But he chose to use the coarse, earthy sounding term sarx or flesh to emphasize that Jesus Christ's humanity and dependence upon the Father as a man was real. (Jesus Christ: Qualified as High Priest Hebrews 5:1-10)
Steven Cole comments on…
Offered (4374) (prosphero from prós = to, toward + phéro = bring, bear) means to bear toward, to carry or bring something into the presence of someone usually implying a transfer of something to that person to whom it is carried. It refers to an offering, whether of gifts, prayers, or sacrifices. Prosphero is a key verb in the book of Hebrews which has more than one-third of the NT uses (16x in Hebrews) with all the uses referring to a priestly act. Prosphero is an integral part of the sacrificial vocabulary in Septuagint (LXX) (>50x in Leviticus alone! Lev 1:2-3, 5, 13-15-note; Lev 2:1, 4, 8, 11-13-note; Lev 3:6, 9-note; Lev 4:23, 32-note; Lev 6:20-note; Lev 7:3, 8-9, 11-13, 18, 29-30, 33, 38-note; Lev 8:6-note; Lev 9:2, 9, 12-13, 15-17-note; "strange fire" = Lev 10:1, 15-note; Lev 12:6-7-note; Lev 14:23; Lev 16:9; Lev 17:4; Lev 21:6, 8, 17, 21; Lev 22:18, 21, 25; Lev 23:14-16, 20, 37; Lev 27:9, 11;)
Wuest - The word translated “offered” is prosphero which was used in the Septuagint (Lxx) of the priests bringing a sacrifice to the altars of God. The Levitical priests offered up blood sacrifices (He 9:6, 7-note, He 10:1-note). This Priest after the order of Melchizedek (He 5:10-note) offered up Himself (not just His blood but His body - He 10:10-note) as a blood sacrifice (He 9:14-note, He 9:26-note), but before doing this, brought another offering to God, a heart torn with anguish and suffering, a soul in which the conflict of the ages was raging, a contest in which God the Son was facing the powers of darkness, waging a battle for the lost race, a battle in which He was victor over death, and thus over him who had the power of death, the devil. (Hebrews Commentary online)
Prosphero - 47x in 45v in NAS - Matt 2:11; 4:24; 5:23f; 8:4, 16; 9:2, 32; 12:22; 14:35; 17:16; 18:24; 19:13; 22:19; 25:20; Mark 1:44; 2:4; 10:13; Luke 5:14; 18:15; 23:14, 36; John 16:2; 19:29; Acts 7:42; 8:18; 21:26; Heb 5:1, 3, 7; 8:3, 4; 9:7, 9, 14, 25, 28; 10:1, 2, 8, 11,12; 11:4, 17; 12:7. NAS = bringing(2), brought(12), deals(1), get(1), make an offering(1), offer(8), offered(12), offering(4), offers(1), present(2), presented(1), presenting(1).
Wuest - The writer now speaks of the training Messiah received for His work as priest. He also speaks of a prayer Messiah offered during His earthly life to the One who was able to save Him from death. The implication is clear that He prayed to be saved from death. There are two words in Greek which mean “from,” apo which means “from the edge of,” and ek which means “out from within.” The second is used here. The Messiah prayed to be saved out from within death. Had the inspired writer used apo, he would have reported our Lord as praying to be saved from dying a physical death. At no time in His life did He pray that prayer. The cup for Him in Gethsemane included two things, that He was to be made sin, and that the fellowship between Father and Son would be broken. Our Lord fully expected to be raised out from among the dead. Hence there was no need of such a petition. Furthermore, if He had prayed for escape from physical death, His prayer was not answered. And the writer to the Hebrews says that this prayer spoken of in Heb 5:7 was answered, which shows that escape from physical death was not in the writer’s mind. The prayer here was a petition to be saved out from under death. It was a prayer for resurrection, uttered on the Cross. It is believed, and with good reason, that our Lord uttered the entire twenty-second Psalm while hanging on the Cross. It is His own description of what took place there. Ps 22:1–13 speak of His heart sufferings; those due to His abandonment by God in Ps 22:1–6, those due to the fact that mankind spurned Him in Ps 22:7–13. His physical sufferings are described in Ps 22:14–18. His prayer for resurrection is recorded in Ps 22:19–21, and His thanksgiving for answered prayer in Ps 22:22–31. (Hebrews Commentary online)
Prayers (1162) (deesis [word study]) refers to urgent requests or supplications to meet a need and are exclusively addressed to God. Deesis refers to special, definite requests. Deesis in the New Testament always carries the idea of genuine entreaty and supplication before God. It implies a realization of need and a petition for its supply.
Deesis was used by the angel who assured the godly father of John the Baptist, "Do not be afraid (command to stop fearing indicating he already was fearful), Zacharias (means "Jehovah remembers"), for your petition (deesis - specifically their need for God to open his wife's womb) has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth (means "my God is an oath") will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John (means “Jehovah has shown grace”)” (Luke 1:13).
Luke uses deesis again of the disciples of John the Baptist, who were said to “often fast and offer prayers (deesis)" (Luke 5:33).
Deesis was used by Paul of his fervent prayer for the salvation of his fellow Israelites "Brethren, my heart's (deepest, consuming) desire and my prayer prayer (deesis - conveys idea of pleading and entreaty, of persistent petition) to God for them is for their salvation. (Ro 10:1-note).
Wuest - The word “prayers” is the translation of deesis which speaks of special, definite requests. The word comes from deo which means “I want, I need.” Thus, requests of this nature emphasize the fact that the suppliant is in need of the thing asked for. The word “supplications” is the translation of hiketería. (Hebrews Commentary online)
Supplications (2428) (hiketería [sole occurrence of this noun in the NT] form hiketes = a suppliant from hiko = to come to one) originally described an olive branch entwined with wood carried by a suppliant. In the Greek culture the suppliant would hold and wave to express their desperate prayer and desire. The idea then came to mean that which is being urgently requested by someone, in this case the God-Man! What a powerful picture of the depth of Christ's humility and the profundity of His prayers! We get a sense of this in Luke's description of our Lord in Gethsemane the night before He went to the cross, praying so intensely that His sweat was like drops of blood. His heart was broken at the prospect of bearing sin.
Marcus Dods - The conjunction ("with… ")… in this verse is for emphasis. These supplications were accompanied “with strong crying and tears,” expressing the intensity of the prayers and so the keenness of the suffering. The “strong crying” is striking. Schöttgen quotes: “There are three kinds of prayers, each loftier than the preceding: prayer, crying, and tears. Prayer is silent, crying with raised voice, tears overcome all things.” (Hebrews 5 Expositor's Greek Testament Commentary - online)
Vincent writes that hiketeria "is properly an adjective, pertaining to or fit for suppliants, with (rhabdous) staves or (elaias) olive-branches understood. The olive-branch bound round with wool was held forth by a suppliant in token of his character as such. (Hebrews 5 Greek Word Studies)
Note that our Lord neither was saved from death nor did He ever pray to be saved from such. Furthermore He did He fear death as some teach. His mission as the Son of God was to enter our world and die. And yet what a testimony these tears provide regarding the reality of His manhood!
Ironside recounts that "Three times we read of His weeping. He wept at the grave of Lazarus as He contemplated the awful ravages that death had made, tears of loving sympathy. He wept as He looked upon Jerusalem and His prophetic soul saw the tribulations through which the devoted city must pass. And He wept in Gethsemane's garden as His holy soul shrank from drinking the cup of divine indignation against sin when He would hang on the cross. While the cup could not be averted, nevertheless He was heard because of His piety—that is, because of His godly fear, His reverence for the Father's will. And thus He who is the eternal Son who never knew what subjection meant, became man. As He walked the pilgrim path of suffering and rejection down here, He learned obedience by the things that He suffered. It is not that His will had to be subdued, but that from the moment when He assumed humanity He entered into new experiences. He who had always commanded learned practically what obedience meant. (Ironside Expository Commentary on Hebrews)
Spurgeon on with crying - This is to prove His infinite sympathy with His people, and how He was compassed with infirmity. Christ prayed. How near He comes to you and to me by this praying in an agony, even to a bloody sweat, with strong crying, and with weeping! Some of you know what that means, but it did, perhaps, seem to you that Christ could not know how to pray just so; yet He did. In the days of His flesh, He not only offered up prayer, but “prayers and supplications”—many of them, of different forms, and in different shapes—and these were accompanied with “strong crying and tears.” Possibly you have sometimes had a dread of death; so had your Lord—not a sinful fear of it, but that natural and perfectly innocent, yet very terrible dread that comes to a greater or less extent upon every living creature when in expectation of death. Jesus also comes very near to us because He was not literally heard and answered. He said, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matt 26:39). But the cup did not pass from Him. The better part of His prayer won the victory, and that was, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” You will be heard, too, if that is always the principal clause in your prayers; but you may not be heard by being delivered from the trouble. Even the prayer of faith is not always literally heard. God, sometimes, instead of taking away the sickness or the death, gives us grace that we may profit by the sickness, or that we may triumph in the hour of death. That is better than being literally heard; but even the most believing prayer may not meet with a literal answer. He “was heard as a result of His reverence”; yet He died, and you and I, in praying for ourselves, and praying for our friends, may pray an acceptable prayer, and be heard, yet they may die, or we may die.
Crying (2906) (krauge from krazo = to croak or cry) is a cry which a man does not choose to utter but is wrung from him in the stress of some tremendous tension or searing pain. Krauge is an onomatopoeic word, imitating the raven’s cry. It describes a crying, screaming, shrieking, shouting, Lat. clamor. The idea is a crying out as with a sharp cry or even a shout, as when one cries out in surprise (Mt 25:6), in support (Acts 23:9), in unrestrained brawling (Eph 4:31). In the present context this word pictures Jesus crying out loudly to God in prayer during His time of trial.
Wuest - This prayer was accompanied with strong cryings and tears. Those at the foot of the Cross must have heard this prayer, the strong cryings of a dying Man, but they could not have seen the tears that coursed down His face, marred and disfigured by the blows of sinners, covered with blood from the crown of thorns, for the darkness covered the land and hid His sufferings from the ribald mob. (Hebrews Commentary online)
Krauge - 6x in 6v in NAS - Matt 25:6; Luke 1:42; Acts 23:9; Eph 4:31; Heb 5:7; Rev 21:4. NAS = clamor(1), crying(2), shout(1), uproar(1), voice(1).
A T Robertson - No doubt the writer has in mind other times when Jesus shed tears (John 11:35; Luke 19:41), but Gethsemane chiefly. (Hebrews 5 Word Pictures)
The rabbis wrote that "There are three kinds of prayers, each loftier than the preceding-prayer, crying and tears. Prayer is made in silence; crying with raised voice; but tears overcome all things.
Hughes explains why Jesus was in such intense agony writing that "The agony of Christ at Gethsemane was occasioned by something other and deeper than the fear of physical death; for what He faced was not simply a painful death but also judgment—the judgment of a holy God against sin, our sin, which is the experience of the "second death" (Rev. 20:14-note; cf. He 9:27-note), the disintegrating experience of
Hence the terrible cry of dereliction from the cross: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mk. 15:34).
In a real but deeply mysterious manner, which no words of man can explain, the incarnate Son as he hung on the cross endured the desolating anguish of being torn away from his Father. He took our sins, the sins of the whole world (1Jn 2:2), upon himself at Calvary in order that there he might bear our judgment, the Righteous for the unrighteous (1Pe 2:24-note; 1Pe 3:18-note). It was then, on that cross, that "God made him who knew no sin to be sin for our sake, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2Co 5:21).
For this reason the second death has no power over those who by faith are one with Him Who as our Sin-Bearer endured the second death in our place; and for them the first death, which is the death of the body, holds no terror because the bodily resurrection of Jesus is the guarantee that they too will rise to everlasting life (1Co 15:20; 2Co 4:14).
The dread with which he approached the cross is explained, as Calvin says, by the fact that in the death that awaited him "he saw the curse of God and the necessity to wrestle with the total sum of human guilt and with the very powers of darkness themselves."
The "loud cries and tears" which accompanied Christ's supplication are to be understood, then, in relation to the indescribable darkness of the horror that he, our High Priest, was to pass through as, on the cross, he bore not only the defilement and guilt of the world's sin but also its judgment. At Gethsemane and at Calvary we see him enduring our hell so that we might be set free to enter into his heaven. (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews - recommended resource) (Bolding added)
Phil Newton describes Jesus' agonizing in Gethsemane this way - All of the purity of his soul would be opened to the pitch-black darkness of human sinfulness. Our lies, lusts, deceitfulness, anger, complaining, cheating accompanied an innumerable host of sins, saturating as a sponge in water upon the spotless bosom of Jesus Christ. Our rebellion against the Law of God and our unbelief in Him as a merciful Redeemer in all of its lurid detail strikes the Son. In His own being He felt the combined weight of the world's sins. That is why we find Him agonizing in the Garden as He fulfilled His high priestly office. He was soon to "appear before God" on our behalf, sprinkling His own blood upon the mercy seat, satisfying the divine cry of "Justice, Justice, Justice!" See Him bearing your sin. See Him agonizing over His separation from the Father. See how He feels the pains of hell upon His own spotless soul. And for whom? For someone who has known the glories of the gospel and is creeping back into the world or retreating to his own devices. Get your eyes off of your own complaints and your own self-pity! Look at Him who "offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears." What was he doing? As the only sinless man he was expressing the agony of bearing sin; and as the only great high priest he was submitting to the will of the Father. And the Father "heard Him because of His piety." He does not hear us because of our "piety" or godly fear. He hears us because of Jesus Christ! (1Ti 2:5, He 7:25-note) Rather than die in the Garden from the horrid weight of separation from the Father and bearing the weight of our sin, the Father sustained the Son through the trauma of the cross, so that he might declare, "It is finished!" (Jn 19:30-note) His prayers were heard and the answer came as he successfully bore the judgment of God for us (Gal 3:13, 1Pe 2:24, 25-note) at the Cross and then rose from the dead in victory (Acts 4:2, 17:32, 23:6, 24:21, 26:23, Ro 1:4-note, 1Co 15:21, 22, 54, 55 56 57, 1Pe 1:3-note). (Jesus Christ: Qualified as High Priest Hebrews 5:1-10) (Scripture References added)
A. W. Pink - Into what infinite depths of humiliation did the Son of God descend! How unspeakably dreadful was His anguish! What a hideous thing sin must be if such a sacrifice was required for its atonement! How real and terrible a thing is the wrath of God! What love moved Him to suffer so on our behalf! What must be the portion of those who despise and reject such a Saviour! (cp He 10:29-note) (Hebrews 5:5-7 Christ Superior to Aaron)
TO THE ONE ABLE TO SAVE HIM FROM DEATH: pros ton dunamenon (PPPMSA) sozein (PAN) auton ek thanatou: (Mt 26:52,53; Mk 14:36) (Heb 13:20; Ps 18:19,20; 22:21,24; 40:1, 2, 3; 69:13, 14, 15, 16; Is 49:8; Jn 11:42; Jn 17:4,5)
To the One able to save - Referring to God the Father. As Spurgeon says - The expression is startling; the Savior prayed to be saved. In His direst woe He prayed thoughtfully, and with a clear apprehension of the character of Him to whom He prayed. It is a great help in devotion to pray intelligently, knowing well the character of God to whom you are speaking. Jesus was about to die, and therefore the aspect under which He viewed the great Father was as “the one who was able to save him from death.” This passage may be read in two ways: it may mean that He would be saved from actually dying if it could be done consistently with the glorifying of the Father; or it may mean that He pleaded to be saved out of death, though He actually descended into it. The word may be rendered either from or out of. The Savior viewed the great Father as able to preserve Him in death from the power of death, so that He should triumph on the cross, and also as able to bring Him up again from among the dead. Remember how He said in the psalm: “You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; you will not give your faithful one to see the grave” (Psa 16:10). Jesus had faith in God concerning death, and prayed according to that faith. This brings our blessed Lord very near to us; He prayed in faith even as we do. He believed in the power of God to save Him from death, and even when cast down with fear He did not let go His hold on God. He pleaded just as you and I should plead, impelled by fear and encouraged by faith.
As Jesus reminded Peter (Mt 26:52) “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? (Mt 26:53)
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus again testified to the saving ability of His Father "And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mk 14:36)
Don't misunderstand what he is saying. Jesus was not hoping to escape the cross because it was for this very purpose that He came to earth. In John's gospel Jesus declared "Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from (Greek = ek = out of - see Wuest's interesting comment above) this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. (John 12:27)
Save (4982)(sozo [word study]) means the Father could (present tense = continuously) rescue Jesus from Death, the great enemy of mortal men (1Co 15:26, 54, 55, 56, 57). Additional nuances of sozo include to protect, keep alive, preserve life, deliver, heal, be made whole.
Save Him from death - More literally this reads "save Him out of (Greek preposition "ek" = out of) death". The point is that Jesus was not asking to be saved from dying but to be saved out of death or in other words to be saved from remaining in death. He was not asking to avoid the Cross but to be assured of the resurrection (cf. Ps 16:8, 9, 10, 11)
MacDonald - Christ’s prayer was not that He might be saved from dying; after all, to die for sinners was His very purpose in coming to the world (John 12:27). His prayer was that He might be delivered out of death, that His soul might not be left in Hades. This prayer was answered when God raised Him from the dead. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
AND HE WAS HEARD BECAUSE OF HIS PIETY: kai eisakoustheis apo tes eulabeias: (Heb 12:28; Matthew 26:37,38; Mark 14:33,34; Luke 22:42, 43, 44; John 12:27,28)
Guzik asks an interesting question - If Jesus asked that the cup be taken away from Him (Luke 22:42), and the cup was not taken away, how can it be said that He was heard? Because His prayer was not to escape His Father’s will, but to accept it - and that prayer was definitely heard.
Spurgeon - To think that it should be said of your Lord that He was heard, even as you, a poor suppliant, are heard. Yet the cup did not pass from Him, neither was the bitterness thereof in the least abated. When we are compelled to bear our thorn in the flesh and receive no other answer than “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9), let us see our fellowship with Jesus and Jesus’ fellowship with us.
Because of His piety - He was heard on account of His good acceptance of what He was accomplishing as the High Priest.
Piety (2124) (eulabeia from eulabes = careful as to the realization of the presence and claims of God, reverencing God, pious, devout from eu = good, well, right + lambano = take hold ~ taking hold well) in the original Greek usage meant caution, circumspection, discretion and then reverence or veneration. The Lxx usage in Joshua conveys the idea of fear, anxiety or dread. The NT uses convey the idea of godly fear, reverence, reverent regard, reverent submission or reverent awe in the presence of God.
Eusebeia is a closely related word is similar to eulabeia in reflecting an attitude of one's inner being, but in addition produces an demonstration of that inner attitude in worship.
Wuest - KJV says "He was heard in that He feared." - The word for “feared” (NAS = piety) in the Greek text is not phobos, the ordinary word for fear, but eulabeia. The verb of the same root means “to act cautiously, to beware, to fear.” The picture in the word is that of a cautious taking hold of and a careful and respectful handling. Hence, it speaks of a pious, devout, and circumspect character, who in his prayer, takes into account all things, not only his own desire, but the will of the Father. (Hebrews Commentary online)
A T Robertson - The image in the word is that of a cautious taking hold and careful and respectful handling: hence piety of a devout and circumspect character, as that of Christ, who in his prayer took account of all things, not only his own desire, but his Father’s will… God was able to save him from death altogether. He did not do this. He was able to sustain him under the anguish of death, and to give him strength to suffer the Father’s will: he was also able to deliver him from death by resurrection: both these he did. It is not impossible that both these may be combined in the statement he was heard.
Vine writes that eulabeia "signifies, first, “caution”; then, “reverence, godly fear,” Heb. 5:7; 12:28… in general, “apprehension, but especially holy fear,” “that mingled fear and love which, combined, constitute the piety of man toward God; the OT places its emphasis on the fear, the NT… on the love, though there was love in the fear of God’s saints then, as there must be fear in their love now” (Trench, Synonyms) (Vine, W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. 1996. Nelson)
There are only 2 uses of eulabeia in the NT…
There are 2 uses in the Septuagint (LXX)…
The idea of eulabeia is that of being devoutly submissive. I wonder why my prayers don't seem to be heard so often? Could it be I lack this Philippians 2:5 attitude?
Our blessèd Savior sev’n times spoke
When on the cross our sins He took
And died lest men should perish.
Let us His last and dying words
In our remembrance cherish.
“Father, forgive these men; for, lo,
They truly know not what they do.”
So far His love extended.
Forgive us, Lord, for we, too, have
Through ignorance offended.
Now to the contrite thief He cries:
“Thou, verily, in Paradise
Shall meet Me ere tomorrow.”
Lord, take us to Thy kingdom soon
Who linger here in sorrow.
To weeping Mary, standing by,
“Behold thy Son,” now hear Him cry;
To John, “Behold thy mother.”
Provide, O Lord, for those we leave;
Let each befriend the other.
The Savior’s fourth word was “I thirst.”
O mighty Prince of Life, Thy thirst
For us and our salvation
Is truly great; do help us, then,
That we escape damnation.
The fifth, “My God, My God, O why
Forsake Me?” Hark, the awful cry!
Lord, Thou wast here forsaken
That we might be received on high;
Let this hope not be shaken.
The sixth, when victory was won,
“’Tis finished!” for Thy work was done.
Grant, Lord, that, onward pressing,
We may the work Thou dost impose
Fulfill with Thine own blessing.
The last, as woe and sufferings end,
“O God, My Father, I commend
Into Thy hands My Spirit.”
Be this, dear Lord, my dying wish;
O heavenly Father, hear it.
Whoe’er, by sense of sin oppressed,
Upon these words his thoughts will rest,
He joy and hope obtaineth
And through God’s love and boundless grace
A peaceful conscience gaineth.
O Jesus Christ, Thou Crucified,
Who hast for our offenses died,
Grant that we e’er may ponder
Thy wounds, Thy cross, Thy bitter death,
Both here below and yonder.
Morning and evening - Did this fear (The KJV - "and was heard in that he feared") arise from the infernal suggestion that He was utterly forsaken. There may be sterner trials than this, but surely it is one of the worst to be utterly forsaken?
It may be, this was the temptation; we think it was, because the appearance of an angel unto Him strengthening Him removed that fear. He was heard in that He feared; He was no more alone, but heaven was with Him. It may be that this is the reason of His coming three times to His disciples—as Hart puts it—
“Backwards and forwards thrice He ran,
He would see for Himself whether it were really true that all men had forsaken Him; He found them all asleep; but perhaps He gained some faint comfort from the thought that they were sleeping, not from treachery, but from sorrow, the spirit indeed was willing, but the flesh was weak. At any rate, He was heard in that He feared. Jesus was heard in His deepest woe; my soul, thou shalt be heard also. (Spurgeon, C. H.)
ALTHOUGH HE WAS A SON HE LEARNED OBEDIENCE FROM THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED: kaiper on (PAPMSN) huios emathen (3SAAI) aph on epathen (3SAAI) ten hupakoen aph on epathen (3SAAI) ten hupakoen: (Hebrews 1:5,8; 3:6) (He 10:5, 6, 7, 8, 9; Isaiah 50:5,6; Matthew 3:15; John 4:34; 6:38; 15:10; Philippians 2:8)
One might say that Jesus' "training for the priesthood" involved suffering, even though he was the Son of God. He certainly did not need to suffer in order to conquer or correct any disobedience.
He was - Was is in the present tense indicating Jesus has always been the Son of God (cp Jn 1:1, 14)
Spurgeon - It is put as if this might have been a case where the rod of the household could have been spared. That there should be suffering for enemies, that there should be sorrow for rebels against God, is natural and proper; but one might have thought that He would have spared His own Son, and that, in His case, there would be no learning of obedience by the things that He suffered. But, according to the text, sonship did not exempt the Lord Jesus Christ from suffering.
He learned (3129)(manthano [word study] related to the noun mathetes = disciple, literally a learner [but more just than a learner as explained below]! The shut mind is the end of discipleship!) has the basic meaning of directing one’s mind to something and producing an external effect. Manthano refers to teaching, learning, instructing, and discipling. Manthano means to genuinely understand and accept a teaching, to accept it as true and to apply it in one’s life. It was sometimes used of acquiring a life-long habit. So clearly this verb did not signify just acquisition of "head knowledge" (albeit Bible knowledge is a requirement) but included corresponding life change -- which should be true in all discipleship. As an aside, who are you discipling? If you have been a believer more than 5-10 years (this is not an absolute number - the point is that you have been a believer for sufficient time to have become proficient in the Scriptures and manifest a reasonable degree of growth in grace and knowledge of Christ 2Pe 3:18-note), then you should be actively, intentionally making disciples (I'm not talking about "accountability" groups but about making disciples by inculcating the Word of God [Mt 4:4] and living out the Word, without which NO growth in respect to salvation is possible [1Pe 2:2-note cp Mt 28:20]!) (Mt 28:18, 19, 20 - the actual command [aorist imperative] by Jesus is to "make disciples", 2Ti 2:2-note).
Obedience (5218)(hupakoe [word study] from hupó = under + akouo = hear) (see also verb hupakouo) literally means "hearing under", that is, listening from a subordinate position in which compliance with what is said is expected and intended.
Spurgeon - Is not that a wonderful thing? As man our Savior had to learn. He was of a teachable spirit, and the Lord Himself instructed him. All God’s children go to school, for it is written, “All your children shall be pupils of Yahweh” (Isa 54:13). The lesson is practical—we learn to obey. Our Lord took kindly to this lesson: He did always the things that pleased the Father. This is our time of schooling and discipline, and we are learning to obey, which is the highest and best lesson of all. How near this brings our Lord to us, that He should be a Son and should have to learn! We go to school to Christ and with Christ, and so we feel His fitness to be our compassionate High Priest… Obedience has to be learned experimentally. If a man is to learn a trade thoroughly, he must be apprenticed to it. A soldier, sitting at home and reading books, will not learn the deadly art of war. He must go to the barracks, and the camp, and the field of battle if he is to win victories and become a veteran. The dry land sailor, who never went even in a boat, would not know much about navigation, study hard as he might; he must go to sea to be a sailor. So obedience is a trade to which a man must be apprenticed until he has learned it, for it is not to be known in any other way. Even our blessed Lord could not have fully learned obedience by the observation in others of such an obedience as He had personally to render, for there was no one from whom He could thus learn.
Suffered (3958)(pascho [word study]) means essentially what happens to a person or what they experience. It means to undergo something; to experience a sensation, to experience an impression from an outside source, to undergo an experience (usually difficult) and normally with the implication of physical or psychological suffering. Pascho can refer to experiencing something pleasant, but in the present context (and most NT contexts) it refers to experiencing something trying, distressing or painful.
Spurgeon - He was always obedient, but He had to learn experimentally what obedience meant, and He could not learn it by the things that He did; He had to learn it “from what he suffered.” And I believe that there are some of the most sanctified children of God who have been made so, by His grace, through the things that they have suffered. We may not all suffer alike; we may not all need the same kind of suffering; but I question whether any of us can truly learn obedience except by the things that we suffer. God had one Son without sin, but He never had a son without suffering. We may escape the rod if we are not of the family of God, but the true-born child must not, and would not if he might, avoid that chastisement of which all such are partakers.
Steven Cole comments that… When it says, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered,” it does not mean that He was formerly disobedient. The first phrase is better translated, “Son though He was.” It points to His position as God’s unique Son (He 5:5). Jesus “learned obedience” in the sense that He experienced what obedience means through what He suffered. He was always obedient to the Father’s will, but the proof of obedience is revealed in situations where obedience is not pleasant. Suppose that when my children were younger, I told you, “I have obedient kids. Let me prove it to you: Kids, eat your ice cream.” You would say, “That’s no test of obedience!” The real test would be, “Kids, clean your rooms!” Jesus experienced obedience to the maximum when He went to the cross. The author’s point is that Jesus is our perfect High Priest in that His prayers and obedience through His sufferings show that He can sympathize with us in our sufferings. Therefore, we should obediently persevere in trials through prayer. (Hebrews 5:1-10 The Kind of Priest You Need)
He learned obedience - The definite article ("the" in Greek) modifies obedience which identifies it as a specific or particular obedience which was required of Jesus in the days of His flesh.
Wayne Grudem explains how Jesus' learned obedience…
Wuest - The Authorized Version translates, “Who (Heb 5:7) though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience.” But there is no point in saying “though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience.” All believers are sons of God, and they learn obedience by the things which they suffer. There is no indefinite article in Greek comparable to the indefinite article in English. The absence of the definite article in Greek emphasizes quality or character. The translation should read, “Though He was Son by nature.” The deity of the Messiah is referred to here. The idea is, “Though He was the Son of God, God the Son, Very God of Very God, yet He learned obedience by the things He suffered.” The omniscient God knew what obedience was, but He never experienced it until He became incarnate in human flesh. Before His incarnation, He owed obedience to no one. There was no one greater than He to whom He could have rendered obedience. But now in incarnation, God the Son became obedient to God the Father. He learned experientially what obedience was. It was not that He had to learn to obey, for He said, “I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). Vincent says that “He required the special discipline of a severe human experience as a training for His office as a high priest who could be touched with the feeling of human infirmities. He did not need to be disciplined out of any inclination to disobedience; but as Alford puts it, ‘the special course of submission by which He became perfected as our high priest was gone through in time, and was a matter of acquirement and practice.’ This is no more strange than His growth in wisdom (Luke 2:52). Growth in experience was an essential part of His humanity.” (Hebrews Commentary online)
Vincent - Jesus did not have to learn to obey, see Jn 8:29; but he required the special discipline of a severe human experience as a training for his office as a high priest who could be touched with the feeling of human infirmities. He did not need to be disciplined out of any inclination to disobedience; but, as Alford puts it, “the special course of submission by which he became perfected as our high priest was gone through in time, and was a matter of acquirement and practice.” This is no more strange than His growth in wisdom, Lk 2:52. Growth in experience was an essential part of His humanity.
Marcus Dods writes that "it was through painful obedience, not by arrogant ambition he became Priest. The main statement is, He learned obedience and became perfect as Saviour."
The prophet Isaiah records these words of the Messiah - "The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient, Nor did I turn back. I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. (Isaiah 50:5-6)
There is a principle that it is in the school of suffering where we grow the most in obedience. We all know only too well that often the best way to learn sympathy is by having suffered what another is suffering. We can read about the pain of starvation and even see pictures on television of starving children in Africa, but we until we have gone hungry for a period, we cannot completely sympathize with the victims of starvation. Since suffering was the lot of the Son of God, we must never despise it as a tool of the Father's instruction in our lives. If suffering was the lot of our Savior and Lord, His disciples are called to follow in His steps (1Pe 2:21-note); cp 1Cor 11:1, 1Jn 2:6). Scripture does not teach that a dynamic faith will keep us from all suffering and in fact, more often a strong faith is associated with greater suffering! But do not let this deter you from pressing on toward the goal! The prize is eternally worthwhile!
And so we see in the following passages that God places suffering in an interesting light …
Jesus suffered by taking on Himself our sins, and in this way He became far more than any human priest. He is able to deal gently with our sins because He is so fully aware of the sense of personal defilement by sin, even though He Himself was sinless (cp He 2:18-note, He 4:15-note)
Phil Newton asks "What did Jesus do throughout the earthly journey to the cross? He fully obeyed the Father. "Although He was a Son [or 'Son though He was'], He learned obedience from the things which He suffered." Let us come back to our first century audience. The bottom line was that they struggled with following or obeying Jesus Christ. Do you find yourself in the same position? Their faith was being called into question by their hesitation to obey. So the writer turns their attention-and ours-to Jesus Christ. We can rejoice that Jesus Christ obeyed the Father! The Son's obedience was with the full responsibility of being high priest for all the redeemed. We might pay closer attention to our obedience and actions when we have a responsibility because there is a sense of accountability for a right performance. Our eternities rested upon the obedience of Jesus Christ. Without His sinless life and perfect obedience, the Cross was useless. There was no adequate sacrifice if the sacrificial victim was polluted by the very sins that he was seeking to atone for. (Jesus Christ: Qualified as High Priest Hebrews 5:1-10)
Henry Morris explains the obedience of our Lord this way - What Jesus knew by omniscience (Ed: He was fully God), He "learned" by experience (Ed: He was at the same time Fully Man), thus "being made perfect"--not as God (for as God He was eternally perfect, by definition), but as Man.
As Guzik says "Jesus did not pass from disobedience to obedience. He learned obedience by actually obeying. Jesus did not learn how to obey; He learned what is involved in obedience. (Hebrews 5)
In short, Jesus learned the full meaning of the cost of obedience from the things which He suffered, and God therefore affirmed Him as the completely obedient, perfect High Priest, suitable to be the perfect offering and to be the very one to make that offering! In regard to practical application, we as weak men and women need that "genre" of High Priest weak, One Who knows and understands what we are going through (cp Heb 2:18).
As a modern poet says of the poets “We learned in suffering what we teach in song.”
William Barclay make a good point writing that "God speaks to men in many experiences of life, and not least in those which try their hearts and souls. But we can hear his voice only when we accept in reverence what comes to us (Ed: cf James 1:2, 1Thes 5:18, Php 4:11,12). If we accept it with resentment, the rebellious cries of our own heart make us deaf to the voice of God.
Steven Cole draws several lessons from this section of Hebrews. For example, on suffering to be expected "God’s love for us does not preclude His taking us through great trials. The Father loved the Son, and yet the cross was His destiny. He loves us, and yet brings us to glory through many sufferings.
John Piper - No one ever said that they learned their deepest lessons of life, or had their sweetest encounters with God, on the sunny days. People go deep with God when the drought comes (Don't Waste Your Life - download the book free).
C. H. Mackintosh, commenting on the death of Lazarus (John 11), said
C H Spurgeon in Morning and Evening - SUFFERING IS NECESSARY
Are you Suffering? Be Encouraged - We are told that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering (He 2:10KJV-note), therefore we who are sinful, and who are far from being perfect, must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering too. Shall the Head be crowned with thorns, and shall the other members of the body be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease?
Must Christ pass through seas of his Own blood to win the crown, and are we to walk to heaven dry shod in silver slippers? No, our Master’s experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true-born child of God must not, would not, escape it if he might. But there is one very comforting thought in the fact of Christ’s being made perfect through suffering- It is, that He can have complete sympathy with us.
He is not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. In this sympathy of Christ we find a sustaining power. One of the early martyrs said,
Believer, lay hold of this thought in all times of agony. Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you follow in His steps (1Pe 2:21-note). Find a sweet support in His sympathy; and remember that, to suffer is an honourable thing—to suffer for Christ is glory (Mt 5:10, 11, 12-notes). The apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do this (Acts 5:41). Just so far as the Lord shall give us grace to suffer for Christ (2Cor 12:9-note), to suffer with Christ, just so far does He honour us.
The jewels of a Christian
are his afflictions.
The regalia of the kings whom God hath anointed are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Let us not, therefore, shun being honoured. Let us not turn aside from being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us up. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him (2Ti 2:12-note).” (Spurgeon, C. H.)
The Upside Of Sorrow - Sorrow can be good for the soul. It can uncover hidden depths in ourselves and in God.
Sorrow causes us to think earnestly about ourselves. It makes us ponder our motives, our intentions, our interests. We get to know ourselves as never before.
Sorrow also helps us to see God as we've never seen Him. Job said, out of his terrible grief, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You" (Job 42:5).
Jesus, the perfect man, is described as "a man of sorrows," intimately acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). It is hard to fathom, but even the incarnate Son of God learned and grew through the heartaches He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). As we think about His sorrow and His concern for our sorrow, we gain a better appreciation for what God is trying to accomplish in us through the grief we bear.
The author of Ecclesiastes wrote, "Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better" (Ec 7:3). Those who don't let sorrow do its work, who deny it, trivialize it, or try to explain it away, remain shallow and indifferent. They never understand themselves or others very well. In fact, I think that before God can use us very much, we must first learn to mourn. —David H. Roper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
When God leads through valleys of trouble,
Getting In Shape - A woman went to a diet center to lose weight. The director took her to a full-length mirror. On it he outlined a figure and told her, "This is what I want you to look like at the end of the program."
God has a purpose in our heartache,
J C Philpot's devotional on He 5:8…
Octavius Winslow has the following devotional on Hebrews 5:8-9 -
"Not to be thought on, but with tides of joy;