Reflections: April 16, 2021
Friday of the Second Week of Easter
By Alfonso Espinosa
In those days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. (Luke 6:12)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Anything you can say about God, you can say about any of the Three Persons of The Holy Trinity with one big exception to the rule: only the Son--very God of very God--took on flesh, becoming a man. So, we may say that Jesus created the heavens and the earth, and we may say that the Father saves us, and we may say that the Holy Spirit knows all things, but we may not say that the Father prayed or that the Holy Spirit struggled. No, it was only Jesus who did these things.
Philippians 2 describes what Jesus did as the God-man: "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant. . . he humbled himself" (Philippians 2:5, 7a & 8a). Our LORD always possessed the full power of God, but He voluntarily limited Himself ("made himself nothing") so that He was fully able to be like us in every way, except without sin. So Jesus, also as true man, truly prayed to the Heavenly Father. Jesus was always God, but we may correctly say, "He was a man praying to God."
And here is the big lesson for us about prayer: even Jesus who was a sinless person needed to pray. He felt the weight of sin in the world and the attacks of the devil. As a result, He yearned to pray. Lutheran Christians know how to pray: We engage in a two-way conversation. We hear God speaking to us through the Word of Christ and then we speak back to God in prayer, often just praying God's Word back to Him as we do in the psalms. If Jesus needed to pray, then we need to pray infinitely more. He heard the Father speak to Him as He had perfect communion with the Father, and He prayed to the Father. We emulate our Savior, take His Word into our hands and upon our lips and listen to God speak to us, and then we pray, since we are His baptized children. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lord Jesus, our Sabbath rest, You called the twelve apostles to go out into all the world to carry on Your proclamation of the kingdom of God and Your miracles of release. May Your Church with its apostolic foundation continue to announce the Good News that in You there is healing and forgiveness; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa is the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine, CA. He is also the author of two books: Faith That Sees Through the Culture and Faith That Engages the Culture.
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