Why Do I Do This?


Why do I do this? "The Bible is like a telescope. If you look through it you can see worlds beyond, but if you look at it, you see only the telescope."-- Anon. I am learning to look through it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What is Jesus Praying?

None of us can promise those who are requesting prayers for them that we are praying for them constantly. In fact, people may not expect us to pray for them forever. However, the intercessory ministry of Jesus is very different. He is a priest for ever, thus he intercedes for us continually. His intercession is something that I can count on. For this I am grateful to him!

In an earlier blog (What happened to my unanswered prayers?), we were talking about our prayers being carried to the presence of God and offered in golden bowls. God does not consider any of our prayers as spam; he has no spam filter. Even those prayers of us that do not make sense to us, God considers them valuable. In this devotion, I would like to focus another aspect of prayer: the continuing intercessory ministry of Jesus.
The Book of Hebrews presents Jesus as an eternal high priest who continues his work beyond the cross in the heavenly realms. Chapter 7 verse 25 particularly focuses on the intercessory ministry of Jesus where we read: "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." Jesus is constantly interceding for us in the heavenly places. Now the question is, what is Jesus praying? For this we have to a similar posture that Jesus took while he was on earth. John 17 records the lengthiest prayer of Jesus, which is also known as the high priestly prayer of Jesus. In this passage, Jesus prays for himself (verses 1-5), for his disciples whom he is going to leave behind (6-19) and then for those who will believe in Jesus through the ministry of Jesus' disciples (20-26).
If this is a model of the high priestly prayer of Jesus, then there are two important aspects in this prayer. I think we can very confidently conclude that this would be what Jesus is still praying for us.
The first concern that Jesus presents before the God the Father has to do with our security. In his prayer for the disciples (verses 6-19), Jesus used the word "protect" three times (17:11, 12, 15). He is concerned about the safety of his disciples. They are in the world, which is hostile (See, 16:33). They have to face the hostility of those who oppose the gospel. This truth that Jesus is concerned about my security brings a lot of comfort to us; especially to those who are facing opposition in their life and ministry.
Second concern that Jesus expressed in his prayer is that we be sanctified by God (17:17-19). Sanctification is setting apart: separating some ordinary things for special use, particularly for God's use. For example, the vessels of the tabernacle where sanctified because they were ordinary vessels set apart for use in the Lord's house. They are now owned by God and used by God. That is what sanctification in the simplest sense. Jesus prayer is that his disciples be fully set apart for God's use and owned by Him. Each of us needs to realize that we are owned by God. We may be working for various organizations, which may not be explicitly religious/Christian. Jesus expects us to have realize that whatever walks of life we belong we belong to God in order to fulfill the purposes of God. In fact, we are lent to the places of our work by God. We need to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel (Phil 1:27).
None of us can promise those who are requesting prayers for them that we are praying for them constantly. In fact, people may not expect us to pray for them forever. However, the intercessory ministry of Jesus is very different. He is a priest for ever, thus he intercedes for us continually. His intercession is something that I can count on. For this I am grateful to him!