May this addition to dialogue give a biblical explanation On Jesus Praying.
Jesus’ prayer shows:
1. An example for us.
2. He identified with the frailties of our humanity.
3. The limitations of humanity that He lived within.
First, that simplest direct answer is found in John 12:27-30:
27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. [completion of Jesus response to Andrew and Phillip] 28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” 29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.
Jesus clearly states in verse 30, His prayer is for “your”sake, referring to His believers. He prayed as our example, but this passage also proved by the response from heaven (for these Israelites, strict monotheists) that God infinite (the eternal Spirit who inhabits eternity) in a tangible way confirmed/endorsed that God finite (the incarnate Expression of that Spirit, Jesus Christ) was Who He said He was.
This understanding of the reason Jesus prayed is confirmed in Jesus’ prayer found in John 17 (John 17:20) “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;”
Secondly, Jesus praying is proof that He was actually tempted in all points like we are yet without sin. In fact, the author of Hebrews encourages our prayer in the same context where that statement regarding His temptations is made:
Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
If Jesus, as God in the flesh, never faced a circumstance that drove Him to pray, we would struggle to believe that He really was tempted or tested in the same ways that we are. That Jesus faced adversity and testing is also evidenced by the short verses that indicated His growth as a human being was not just physical.
Luke 2:40 | Jesus’ Childhood at Nazareth
And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Growth never happens without some measure of pain. Strength comes through struggle. If Jesus grew and became strong in spirit, by natural law that result required pain and struggle. It’s said, “Wisdom comes from experience, and experience from failure.” While we know that Jesus never sinned, He may have made some cuts wrong in those first efforts in the carpenter’s trade. He may have smashed His thumb once or twice. Undoubtedly, He also observed some mistakes of others and as a boy learned lessons from those mistakes. The Word tells us He increased in wisdom and stature. We have no problem believing He grew in physical stature, so if we believe the Bible we must also believe He increased in wisdom.
Indeed, He was tempted in all points like we are. He was driven to pray. Even moments before the climax of His destiny, He prayed that the cup of destiny assigned to Him might pass. Jesus prayed because He was tested in all points like we are.
Thirdly, it bears exploring further how Jesus’ prayers reflect the distinction between God infinite and God finite. While similar to the preceding point, there is enough distinctive or additional aspects to it for us to see and consider. Jesus praying showed the limitations He had placed on Himself. Jesus (God finite) was the first of all His (God Infinite) creative work. His first creation was this physical creation of Himself.
He is the Lamb slain from foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). He is the physical declaration of the invisible God (John 1:18). He is the image (the eikon, Greek root for icon) of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).
Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
John 1:17-18 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
Psalms 119:142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.
Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
As this finite expression of God, Jesus would violate His finite nature if He even one time used any infinite/supernatural capacity of God for Himself as a finite human. Nobody before or since knew our Heavenly Father as this Man did. Every miracle of healing, salvation, and deliverance He performed is an insight to us of what our Father desires. Jesus’ refusal to use that power for Himself is most clearly seen in His great test of temptation. When the devil tempted Him in the wilderness to make bread of a stone, cast Himself to the earth from the pinnacle, or worship satan to gain the worship of all those under satan’s influence. In this test, He refused selfish, finite use of His infinite power. He examples for us the absence of self-centeredness & conceit.
Jesus did also make it clear as part of His discourse in the synagogue of Nazareth, that He would not be willing to heal Himself. Luke 4:23-24 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ” 24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.
So just as His praying proved to us He was really human, and tempted just as we are tempted. So also, His praying reveals that in His humanity He refused to operate with His infinite power and authority for His own benefit. His sacrifice was totally selfless.
As has been well said, many men want to be god; but only One God became a Man.
He desires you to know Him! His Word is a love letter to you! His Child!
Here O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord! Deuteronomy 6:4
My prayer is this contribution to dialogue about the Godhead is a blessing to you today ~ jwp