What We Mean When We Say Jesus Was 'Made Perfect' Through Suffering

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For in subjecting all things under him, He left nothing that is not subjected to him. Yet now we do not see all things subject to him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels to suffer death, crowned with glory and honor, so that He, by the grace of God, should experience death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all of One (Heb. 2:8-11).

We've all been to different schools where we learned different things. But every Christian attends one school in particular and learns one lesson. That school is suffering, and that lesson is how to become more perfectly like Jesus.

In Hebrews 2:10 we read this astonishing statement regarding Jesus' suffering: "For it was fitting for Him, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through suffering."

What does it mean that Jesus was made perfect through suffering? Jesus was perfect before He came to earth and suffered. But He became perfectly perfect through the experience of suffering. One Bible commentary explains it this way:

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Christ always has been perfect in a moral sense. He is sinless. The word translated perfect here frequently recurs throughout this letter. It signifies the completion of a process ..."its use here means that Jesus became fully qualified as pioneer of man's salvation by undergoing experience of human sufferings, inasmuch as through suffering is the way to salvation." Although Christ was morally perfect and sinless, his life and work were brought by suffering to a form of perfection or completion which cannot have been possible without them.

There are some things you can learn by watching others experience that you cannot completely understand until you share that experience.

So it is with Jesus. From heaven He watched our suffering and knew about suffering. But He added the experience of His suffering. In this way His learning was perfected so that He now completely understands our suffering.

Jesus, our King, came to earth to pioneer a path for His people to march into His eternal kingdom. This plan required our King to leave His throne in glory where angels served Him and come to the earth in humility to serve us. Our humble King Jesus suffered because of our sin and died to deliver us from death.

Today, our humble King has returned to His throne. Today Jesus can thoroughly empathize with you as you suffer. He has faced what you face, He has endured what you must endure and He has defeated what is opposing you. He loves you, He helps you and He has sent the Spirit so you have the power to endure suffering as He did.

Mark Driscoll is a Jesus-following, mission-leading, church-serving, people-loving, Bible-preaching pastor and the author of many books, including Spirit-Filled Jesus, which you can order here. He currently pastors The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his family. For all of pastor Mark Driscoll's Bible teaching, please visit markdriscoll.org or download the app. You can download a free devotional e-book from pastor Mark here.

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