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The Prayers of Jesus – Part One

30 May
Prayers of Jesus - 1

from Google Images

In Luke 11:1 we find Jesus praying in a certain place. Luke records Jesus praying eleven times, and Luke 11:1 is the seventh time Jesus is found at prayer in Luke’s Gospel.[1] It appears to me that whenever Luke records Jesus at prayer, something happened immediately afterward that seems to show us what Jesus was probably praying about. For example, the first time Jesus is recorded at prayer in Luke is immediately following his baptism (Luke 3:21), and immediately the heavens opened. Not only were the heavens parted, but, according to the fourth Gospel, they stand open (John 1:51).[2]That is, they remain open even today. Blessing, in the person of Jesus (Isaiah 64:1), came down out of heaven and now the powers of heaven are available to mankind, and this has occurred, because Jesus prayed.

Luke recorded Jesus praying another time (Luke 5:16), and afterward he healed the man stricken with palsy (Luke 5:17-26). This man depicted the condition of God’s people. They were unable to help themselves, due to their sins. As a result of Jesus’ prayer, power was present to heal them (Luke 5:17). That is, God, because Jesus prayed, was ready to heal the Jewish nation in the persons of the Pharisees and doctors of the Law who had come from all over Galilee and Judea. Nevertheless, they wouldn’t admit their own sin and could bring themselves to say only that they never saw things explained the way Jesus taught (Mark 2:12), and the things they saw that day were strange and quite unexpected (Luke 5:26). That is, they were confronted with a paradox, but as noted later, they wouldn’t allow themselves to accept Jesus’ doctrine (Luke 6:1-11).

The third time Jesus prayed is seen in Luke 6:12, which was the night before he chose twelve men to be with him, whom he called Apostles. It was this group who was sent out to preach the Gospel to all nations, and because of their faithfulness, we have the Gospel today. Jesus was again at prayer in Luke 9:18. Immediately following this even, he asked his disciples who they thought he was. Speaking for the rest, Peter offered his great confession, that Jesus was the Messiah (Luke 9:20). The most important thing, however, was not Peter’s confession, although that is important. Rather, it is the fact that Peter, unawares, heard the voice of God (Matthew 16:17). Jesus prayed, and Peter heard that still small voice within, and it was clear enough to bring him to confidently announce Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16).

The fifth time Luke records Jesus at prayer is when he was transfigured before Peter, James and John (Luke 9:28-36). It is evident that the disciples didn’t appreciate the vision at the time (Luke 9:33), but afterward they did appreciate and understand what had occurred (2Peter 1:16-18). Jesus appeared to them in glory, and, as he did so, he spoke of his crucifixion (Luke 9:31)! Jesus’ death is inextricably interwoven in his glory. The Apostles had no idea what Jesus had showed them, and often spoke of it among themselves before Jesus’ crucifixion (Luke 9:36; cf. Mark 9:10). It is the glory of God to hide a matter, but the glory of man to uncover it (Proverbs 25:2). The salvation of mankind, which came to us through Jesus’ crucifixion, is hidden (1Peter 1:10-11) in the Law and the Prophets (Moses and Elijah in Luke 9:33), and, although it reeks of shame (Hebrews 12:2), confusion and foolishness to man (1Corinthians 1:23), it is the glory of God that he would do such a thing out of love for us, and it is to our honor that we search out its precious secrets.

The sixth time Luke records Jesus at prayer is found in Luke 10:21, just after the Seventy return from their mission on which Jesus had sent them. While they were gone, Jesus beheld Satan fall from the heavens to the earth (Luke 10:18; cf. Revelation 12:7-9). In this prayer Jesus praises God as Lord of heaven and of earth. Spiritual warfare is revealed in Jesus’ prayer, and God is victorious in that Satan and his messengers have been cast out, and God has gained a beachhead on the earth. His Kingdom of Heaven had begun on earth, as the Seventy reported of the demons being subject to their authority as representatives of Jesus (Luke 10:17). Nevertheless, the significance of these things had been withheld from the wise and prudent of this world, but they were revealed to the followers of Jesus (Luke 10:21). The movers and shakers of this world busy themselves with what they consider important. Yet, Jesus followers simply spread the Gospel, gaining ground (hearts) for the Kingdom of God, and it is all done unawares to the kings and princes of this world.

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[1] In this study I intend to comment on Jesus’ first six prayers. For the final five see my study: The Prayers of Jesus – Part Two.

[2] According to Robertson’s Word Pictures and Vine’s Word Studies the Greek verb anoigo (G455 – ‘opened’ at John 1:51 in the KJV) is in the perfect participle active. This reveals a condition that remains true after the completed act. That is, the state of the opening of the heavens remained true after they were opened by God. The heavens weren’t closed afterward.

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Posted by on May 30, 2017 in Gospel of Luke

 

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