“Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience…” (Heb. 5:8, NKJV).
A few weeks ago, I saw a drawing of Jesus leaning on a big rock, gazing up at the stars. Suddenly, I was inside the picture. I was watching Him, feeling Him. Then I understood. Just like we do when we look up at the immensity of the heavens, He must have felt so small, in a human body.
Before incarnation, He filled the universe with His omnipresence. Now He was a speck in that same universe. He became the size of a speck (how much more so when He was only an embryo in Mary’s womb!) in order to identify with our experience of smallness. He became tiny in order to learn a life of utter dependence on the Father, a life He would then be able to impart to us.
Hebrews tells us that Jesus learned obedience through His time on earth with human flesh and bones. I am awestruck by the thought of God needing to learn anything. To what degree He had emptied Himself, that this would be true! He learned obedience. He learned dependence. He left behind the self-sufficiency He eternally knew in Heaven and took on a frame that made Him entirely helpless on His own.
He did this for you, and for me. Jesus learned dependence so that He could model it for us. He learned dependence so He could know personally and experientially what it is that we ourselves are now learning: how to rely on Daddy for every single move we make, every single word we speak. He learned dependence so that He could later teach us, through Holy Spirit, what He Himself came to understand by living in a body like ours.
Father God was so proud of Him as He did this. Daddy’s inmost being was stirred up with overwhelmed love in response to His beloved Son humbling Himself to such vulnerability. Isaiah’s messianic prophecy beautifully expresses Abba’s heart towards Jesus in this state: “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles” (Isa. 42:6, NIV).
Daddy promised to faithfully hold Jesus’ hand the entire walk down His long road of constant, daily, desperate need for help. In uttermost tenderness, He promised to keep Him; to protect Him; to guard Him; to ensure His safety as He moved forward towards the fulfillment of His earthly destiny. He promised to accomplish His almighty purposes in and through Him, in spite of the weakness and vulnerability of His human body. He promised to be enough for His Son.
He promises the same to you. Do you need to feel chosen? He says to you, “I have called you.” Do you sometimes just wish that someone would hold you hand? He says to you, “I will take hold of your hand.” Do you feel small and vulnerable? He says to you, “I will keep you.” Do you worry that your life lacks purpose? He says to you, “I will make you a light…”
It’s okay to feel small. Jesus showed us how to do it. Just like Him, let’s lean into Daddy day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second. He’s got us. Nothing in all of creation can snatch us out of His hand.
As we lean into His embrace, He wants us to know that His heart swells up with delight at our decision to follow Him. As we, like Jesus, learn dependent obedience, He will be enough for us. He will call us, keep us, and hold us. He will fulfill His purposes for our lives. And He will never, ever let us go.
Have you ever thought of Jesus feeling small? What other human feelings do you think He experienced? Can feeling small; and feeling safe, secure, and cherished… go together?