Friday, January 04, 2019
The Vision (1.4.19): Christ, A Man of Prayer
Image: The "Cenacle," a traditionally suggested site for the Upper Room in Jerusalem.
John alone records Christ’s “High Priestly Prayer” in the upper room in John 17.
In his Expository Notes introducing John 17, J. C. Ryle observes: “The chapter we have now begun is the most remarkable in the Bible. It stands alone, and there is nothing like it.”
Ryle then points out that the Puritan expositor Matthew Henry observed, “this was a prayer after sermon, a prayer after sacrament, a family prayer, a parting prayer, a prayer before a sacrifice, a prayer which was a specimen of Christ’s intercession.”
Calvin notes that “doctrine has no power, if efficacy be not imparted to it from above.” So, we learn here from Christ’s example here that the ministry of teaching (doctrine) must be accompanied by the ministry of prayer.
The prayer can be divided into three parts:
Christ’s prayer for himself (vv. 1-5).
Christ’s prayer for the original disciples or apostles (vv. 6-19 (see esp. v. 9).
Christ’s prayer for future disciples (vv. 20-26). Christ prays for us! This anticipates his intercessory office in this age (Heb 7:25).
Throughout the Gospels Christ appears as a man of prayer. Typical is Luke 5:16 which says, “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness and prayed.”
So impressed were his disciples with Christ’s prayer life that they asked him to instruct them in this spiritual discipline. Luke 11:1: “And it came to pass as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
Christ did indeed teach his disciples what we now call the Lord’s prayer or the model prayer (see Matthew 6:9-13).
And he taught them by example through his spontaneous prayers. Compare Christ’s spontaneous prayer at the return of the 70 disciples whom he had sent out: “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Luke 10:21).
Christ even prayed for his enemies on the cross (see Luke 23:34).
Christ was a man of prayer, and we his disciples must “follow his steps” and be men and women of prayer also.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle