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The Prayer of Jesus in John 17:1-5

March 21, 2008 1 comment

This week I read an article called ‘The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus’ that is found in John 17:1-5. The author, Bob Deffinbaugh , Th.M., took a somewhat exegetical look at this passage with the purpose of identifying eight observations about this prayer that were significant to him. The article was interesting due to some new concepts that the author presented. I would like to respond to a few points that he made.

One of the first points that Deffinbaugh makes is that prayer should be conversation. He showed how Jesus’ prayer to the Father was a normal part of His conversation and not a separate, disconnected thought. Many prayers that I have heard or given in the past have been extremely formal because of the desire to show reverence to God. The odd thing about it is that I do not speak to my earthly father in the same way that I speak to my Heavenly Father. This is a difficult transition to make but has proved to be beneficial. Bringing together this disconnect will be important in helping people develop a closer relationship and intimacy to God.

Deffinbaugh recognized ” prayer is closely related to teaching and preaching.” We see pictures of Jesus throughout the gospels active in teaching and preaching, but always finding time for prayer. He kept His focus on the most important thing in the world and this is being in contact with His Father. How many endeavors do churches approach without first communicating with God? There can be a tendency at times to come up with plans and then expect God to bless the plans. Jesus left the model of seeking the wisdom of the Father first before attempting to minister. This allows for God power to be shown and His will to be completed. If the link between prayer and ministry is broken then the success of that ministry is left up to chance.

He also leaves a powerful reminder “there is no one style of prayer, and not even one consistent posture for prayer. What is consistent is our Lord’s submission to the will of His Father, and His constant desire to bring glory to the Father.” How easy that is to forget. The job of the Christian is to communicate with God in prayer, follow what he has heard, and do everything to God’s glory. If this process is followed we will never be in the dark about what it is that God wants us to do. We will know if we listen.

Jesus truly is our High Priest. He has set an example through this and other prayers of what initmacy with God looks like. He wants us to know the Father like He knows Him. He wants us to trust Him even if it means death. He wants us to depend on Him even though our common sense tells us otherwise. He wants us to share in ministry, but only after communicating with the Father. He wants us to experience prayer as a conversation with a loving God who is listening and active. This practice will produce a legion of believers who will be equiqqed to not only convert others to Christ, but also make other disciples as the Great Commission calls for.

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Categories: Jesus, John 17, prayer

Count It All Joy?

December 4, 2007 Leave a comment
James 1:1-4 (NIV):
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
Greetings.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I believe James teaches us three powerful lessons in this short passage of Scripture:

1) It is all about Jesus.

It is believed that James was the half brother of Jesus, yet he associates himself to Jesus by calling himself his servant. I am not sure about you, but if my older brother had the power to heal the sick, bring people back from the dead, change water into wine, and defeat the grave I would milk that fame for all its worth. James however realized that when it came down to it his earthly relationship to Jesus really was not that important. I believe that when each of us kills the part of us that desires fame and recognition for what we do we will be able to develop a mindset of giving all credit and glory to God. When everything becomes about Jesus then it becomes less about me.

2) Trials are an opportunity for growth.
From a worldly perspective this is really an ignorant statement. Who in their right mind is thinking about joy when they lose a job, going through a divorce, or been the victim of a violent crime. I believe James is trying to teach us that our mistakes or the negative situations that we go through can be a blessing in disguise. How could you ever comfort someone who is dealing with a disease if you have not experienced yourself? How could you talk to someone who just lost a child if you have not been through that situation already. James is not saying that it will be fun, but that we can gain so much if we focus on the blessing that is to come.

3) Maturity comes to those who do not give up when times get hard.
Have you ever had a goal that you gave up on too quickly because it got hard? Maybe it was a relationship. Maybe it was a degree you were working on. Maybe there was a language you attempted to learn. Maybe it was the diet you have stopped 100 times already. James simply tells us that we cannot be mature unless we endure. There are some things in our life that will be difficult and may be difficult for a long time, but if you do not give up God can make it a blessing for you.
So what do you think? What are some other things James may be trying to tell us in this passage?
Categories: James, James 1, Jesus, Joy, maturity, trials