Thursday, January 24, 2013

Totally Submitted & Utterly Dependent (Part 1)


Why should we make every effort to maximize time with God in prayer, and seek always to submit to Him and depend upon Him? Jesus did. And if Jesus needed to, how much more do we? 
(Adapted from a Sermon by Paul Washer)

In Luke 11:1 it says that Jesus was praying, and when He finished one of the disciples approached Him [perhaps amazed at seeing the Son of God communicating with His Father] and said, "Lord teach us to pray.." Notice that the disciples dared not interrupt the Son of God while He was in prayer (it says when He finished). There was something about the connection between Jesus and the Father that the disciples both saw/wanted but also knew better than to break. Notice also the disciples request, "Lord teach us to pray.." because the disciples never asked Jesus to teach them to preach or teach or cast out demons nor anything else that I can find. Think briefly about how you would assess someone as to what they might teach you. You ask someone to teach you about something which you see in their life as something which is exemplary or extraordinary which you have met no one else who could do X or Y like that person. The disciples could not believe what the saw or heard when Jesus prayed; therefore the request comes to be taught.

-Has anyone ever come to you and asked, "Teach me to pray!"?

Let's turn now to consider Jesus life and teaching on prayer, in brief:

Luke 5:16 (NASB) says that, "Jesus would often slip away to the wilderness to pray." The phrase slip away or withdraw can be likened to the same manner that we normally like to "slip away" from the busyness of life to something which brings rest or joy to us. Jesus found His rest and strength in prayer. Too often it seems that Jesus and the faith are things we'd like to slip away from to rest...  You know that you are walking with God when you slip away to Him. You can see this as an example in Matthew 14:23.

It says in Luke 6:12-13 that Jesus spent all night on a mountain praying and the next day is the one on which He chose the 12 apostles. When Jesus had to make important decisions, He was up all night in prayer to be sure He was submitted to the Father and depending on the Spirit. Do you make important decisions? Have you ever spent the whole night in prayer over one? If you believe that you can make important decisions with less prayer than Jesus, you have made yourself out to be stronger or more sanctified though neither of those presumptions is true. A similar time in Jesus ministry of praying all night was Matthew 26:36 where He prays in Gethsemane, doing war with what was to come. Jesus got up off His knees in Gethsemane submitted to the Father and dependent on the Spirit, such that He was prepared for what was to come.

It says in Luke 18:1 that Jesus taught the disciples with a parable that they ought to pray at all times and not lose heart. Side-note: do not say to yourself, I will pray always throughout the day (to practice the presence of God) and then never spend time in secret prayer with Him because you're too busy... You cannot begin to practice the presence of God throughout the day until you've been there in secret prayer.

Why was it necessary for Jesus to pray?

It should be enough to say that Jesus loved His Father and wanted to spend time with Him; however, there is more and some important examples for us. In Acts it says this:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—.." -Acts 2:22, (italics added)
Peter, in this sermon in Acts 2, reasons with the audience that Jesus who was a man, was testified to them by the mighty works and wonders which God did through Him. Peter adds at the end that they know this. Jesus lived the way that He did on earth as a man who was totally submitted to the Father and completely dependent on the Holy Spirit. Whenever a cult attacks Christianity, they will usually attack the deity of Jesus, and we have become so entrenched in defending His deity that we no longer comprehend what it means that He was a man. Jesus, being everything that He always was (Heb 1:3, Col 1:15-18, John 1:1-3), took on something that He never was, manhood(Col 1:19, John 1:14). The problem we often run into is that we relegate everything Jesus did to His deity and then excuse ourselves of needing to meet His perfect standard on the basis of His divine advantage. The thing is that Jesus lived the way that He did on earth, doing miracles, teaching, &c., as a man who was totally submitted to the Father and completely dependent on the Holy Spirit. Jesus makes Himself our model.

... Post Continued in Part 2 (to be posted tomorrow).

Sermon transcribed and adapted from:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFKQaxcR9XU