“who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear” (Hebrews 5:7).
In speaking of Jesus, Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 5:7 will now go on to elaborate upon that passage with an example from His life.
First, Hebrews 5:7 sets the parameters for our look at this verse with the phrase “in the days of His flesh.” This tells us that the context for this passage involves Jesus’ earthly ministry. Next, comes a reference to “prayers and supplications.” “Prayer” describes general communication with God, while a “supplication” arises from a specific need or urgent request. Other phrases that convey the meaning behind the word “supplication” include “an appeal,” “a petition,” or “a plea.”
This passage then follows with a reference to “…vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death.” This likely refers to Jesus’ experience in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to His crucifixion. While Jesus’ Gethsemane experience appears in all four gospel accounts of His life, the Book of Luke offers one of the more detailed depictions of this event…
“Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’ And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’
Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, ‘Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.'” (Luke 22:39-46).
Thus, as one Pastoral commentator observes, “the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gesthemane (Matthew 26:36-39; Luke 22:44) proves He knows what it is like to struggle with the difficulty of obedience, yet He obeyed perfectly.” (1)
(1) Guzik, Dave, Hebrews 5 – Jesus, A Priest Forever (verses 7-8)