Recently while on a painting job I let the book of Ecclesiastes play on my Bible app on my phone. Often times people think of this book as depressing (vanity of vanities, vexation of spirit, etc.). However, I believe the point the writer is making is that all the labor an toll of man is meaningless and in vain if we don’t master the one thing he leads us to:
Let us hear the conclusionof the whole matter, Fear God, and Keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. ~ Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Everything in this life truly is vain if we do not live with pleasing God as our motivation in life. Without this everything we do is in vain.
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him… Hebrews 5:8-9
What is the writer of Hebrews referring to when he says Jesus was made perfect by the things he suffered? Wasn’t Jesus already perfect, being without sin and one with God?
Certainly he was, but the writer of Hebrews is not addressing Jesus’s divine nature and oneness with God when he says Jesus was made perfect by the things he suffered. He is addressing Jesus’s oneness with human suffering and temptation, and if you will really catch on to what the writer of Hebrews is teaching us, your heart will leap with praise at the wondrous Savior God has given to us.
The writer of Hebrews emphasizes the reality of Jesus’s humanity and how Jesus (as a man) obtained an eternal priesthood through the things he suffered. In scripture, both the deity and humanity of Christ are expounded on. In Hebrews 1 the writer of Hebrews refers to Jesus as the One by whom God made the worlds, and the Lord who in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of his hands.
This very same Son who was with God, and was one with God as creator, is the one who also came and took on humanity in every respect so that he might make perfect reconciliation for our sins.
In chapter 2 the writer of Hebrews says the following:
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.~ Hebrews 2:14-17
His partaking of flesh and blood was in like manner as ourselves so that he could be the perfect intercessor and mediator between an infallible, Holy God, and sinful man. Though Jesus had no sin, he suffered in his flesh by being tempted in every way as we are tempted.
For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. ~ Hebrews 2:18
This is specifically what the writer of Hebrews is referring to when he says Jesus was made perfect by the things he suffered. Jesus became acquainted with the depths of human suffering in every respect so that he could be the perfect intercessor. It does not mean that Jesus was not perfect with regards to his divine nature and oneness with God, but was made perfect as the sacrifice and priest we needed from the humanity standpoint.For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. ~ Hebrews 4:15-5:11
Below is some (not all, but some) of what the New Testament has to say about obedience.
According to the apostle Peter, believers were chosen by the foreknowledge of God through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and cleansed from sin by his blood. ~ 1 Peter 1:2
God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him. ~ Acts 5:32
We are called to the obedience to the faith. ~ Romans 1:5; 16:26
By the obedience of Jesus many are made righteous. ~ Romans 5:19
We are servants to whom we yield our members (our bodies and mind) to obey. Thus we are either servants of sin that leads to death, or servants who obey God which leads to righteousness. ~ Romans 6:16
When we believe the gospel, we obey from the heart the doctrine of God we have heard. ~ Romans 6:17
The gospel is to be obeyed. ~ Romans 10:16; 1 Peter 4:17
We can be bewitched into not obeying the truth. ~ Galatians 3:1; 5:7
We run our race well when we obey the truth. ~ Galatians 5:7
Obedience is how we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. ~ Philippians 2:12
When Jesus returns he is taking vengeance on them that don’t know God, and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:8
We are to bring our imaginations and thoughts into obedience to Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:6
Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience by the things he suffered. And he was made perfect (through suffering) and has become the author of Salvation to all who obey him. ~ Hebrews 5: 8-9
We purify our souls by obeying the truth through the Holy Spirit which leads to a sincere love for others (our brethren in Christ), and so we are to love one another with a pure heart fervently. ~ 1 Peter 1:22