11. The Prayerful Jesus

1.The prayerful Jesus

Luke 5:12-16

Herbert Lockyer writes: “Jesus loved to pray. Prayer was part of his life and was as involuntary as his breathing. Prayer was his regular habit and his last resort in every emergency”. Not many of Jesus’ actual prayers are recorded in the gospels, but the example of his praying is everywhere.

Mark records that Jesus got up early, while it was still dark, to pray (Chapter 1:35), he prayed late at night at irregular times during the day, he prayed before and after important events or when decisions needed to be made. He prayed through the night, often alone and sometimes with others. Jesus had no set place to pray, but he sought solitude. He would find that on a hillside, a mountain top or in the wilderness. He could also be alone in a crowd.  He would also retreat to Bethany the home of his three friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus or invite others to come aside with him to pray. He knew that anywhere is a good place to pray, God hears us from wherever we call on him. His prayers were often spontaneous, seldom organized and didn’t conform to a timetable. Jesus didn’t organize prayer meetings, but he did invite people to pray with him.

Jesus prayed at the great moments in his life (for example see Luke 6:12.13; 9:16,29;); He prayed for children (Matthew 19:13); he prayed for people by name (Luke 22:31,32); he prayed for his disciples (John 17); he prayed in order to perform miracles and he prayed in his own anguish and need. Nothing was too great or too insignificant to bring to his father in prayer. It was his source of wisdom and inspiration, the place of comfort and reassurance and the means by which he received the strength and power to fulfil his father’s will for his life. It was through prayer that Jesus gained approval and received authority and prayer sustained him in the most trying times of his life.

Jesus, the sinless son of God, the most remarkable person who ever lived depended on prayer. How much more should we be committed to a life of prayer? Jesus does not call us to attend prayer meetings, but to pray. He doesn’t suggest a particular time or place, but his example is to pray everywhere and at any time. His prayers were as familiar as a son speaking with his father, but they were reverent recognizing that his father is the Almighty God. His prayers were bold but humbly offered, he did not presume because of his position as a son but submitted to the will of his father. He brought his concerns to God, listened for the response and acted upon it.

Jesus gives us an example to follow. Prayer should come naturally to us always. There will be times when we meet with others to pray, as Jesus did, and there may be specific times set aside to pray, but prayer should be the breath of life. As we make decisions, struggle with life’s problems, need extra strength or energy, help in dealing with relationships or face painful experiences, prayer should come naturally to our thoughts. Nothing is insignificant to God, he cares about every hair on your head and every situation you find yourself in. Take it to him in prayer. Joseph Scriven wrote a poem in 1850 that became a well known him. Verse one contains these words:

What a Friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit,

O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer!

  1. Is prayer a part of your life, or something you leave to a special time?
  2. Is there anything you don’t pray about because you think it isn’t important enough?
  3. Do you naturally bring to God all the decisions you need to make?
  4. 祈禱的耶穌

 

路加福音 5:12-16

 

Herbert Lockyer 寫道:「耶穌喜愛祈禱。祈禱是他生活一部分,就如他的呼吸一樣自然。祈禱是他的常規習慣,也是在每次緊急關頭下的最後幫助。」福音書中記載耶穌的禱告內容並不多,但他禱告的例子卻無處不在。

馬可記載耶穌在天還黑的時候就一清早起來禱告(1章35節),他在晝夜不停地禱告,在重要事件前後或需要做決定時禱告。他整夜禱告,常常是獨自一人,有時與其他人一起。耶穌沒有指定的祈禱地點,但他尋求獨處。他會獨自一人在山上或曠野祈禱。他會到三位朋友馬利亞、馬大和拉撒路在伯大尼的家中,或邀請其他人與他一起祈禱。他知道任何地方都是適合祈禱的地方,無論我們在哪裡呼求上帝,上帝都會聆聽我們。他的祈禱通常是自發的,不一定是安排好的,也不符合任何時間表。耶穌沒有組織祈禱會,但他邀請人與他一起禱告。

耶穌在他生命中的重要時刻禱告(例如見路加福音 6:12.13;9:16,29;);他為孩子禱告(馬太福音 19:13);為人祈禱(路加福音 22:31,32);為門徒禱告(約翰福音 17);他為行神蹟奇事祈禱;他在自己的痛苦和需要中祈禱。世上沒有太大或太微不足道的事情不能帶到天父面前禱告。禱告是他智慧和靈感的源頭,是安慰和安息的地方,也給他力量來實現父親對他的旨意。耶穌通過祈禱獲得天父認可和權柄,祈禱在他生命中最艱難的時刻支撐著他。

耶穌—上帝無罪的兒子,是史上最偉大的人,也依靠祈禱,更何況是我們,我們不是更要委身禱告嗎?耶穌並沒有召開禱告會,而是呼召我們禱告。他沒有建議特定的時間或地點,他的榜樣是隨時隨地祈禱。他的祈禱就像兒子和父親說話一樣自然,但當中也認定他的父親是全能的上帝。他的祈禱是大膽而謙卑的,他沒有因為兒子的地位而自以為是,而是服從了父親的旨意。他把擔憂帶到上帝面前,傾聽,並以行動回應。

耶穌給了我們一個榜樣,禱告應該總是自然發生。有時我們會像耶穌那樣與其他人一起禱告,也可能有特定的時間來禱告,但禱告是生命的氣息。當我們做決定、面對生活困難、需要額外的力量和幫助處理人際關係問題或面對痛苦的經歷時,祈禱應該自然地浮現在我們思想中。對上帝來說,生命沒有什麼是太微不足道的事,衪關心你頭上的每一根頭髮和你所處的每個情況。在禱告中把這些帶到衪面前。Joseph Scriven 於 1850 年寫了一首後來成為家喻戶曉的詩。第一節寫道:

我們在耶穌裡有多麼好的朋友,

我們所有的罪孽和悲傷他都要承擔!

這是何等大的特權

一切都向上帝祈禱!

哦,我們常常失去的平安,

哦,我們承受了多少不必要的痛苦,

都是因為我們沒有在祈禱中

把一切事情帶到上帝面前!

 

  1. 祈禱是你生活的一部分,還是你在特殊情況下才會做的事?
  2. 你有什麼事情因為你認為不重要而不禱告嗎?
  3. 你會自然地把你需要做的所有決定都帶到上帝面前嗎?

 

 

  1. Slipping Away

Mark 6:30,31

There are a number of places in the gospels where the writers mention that Jesus went off by himself. In Mark 1:35 it is to a solitary place; Luke 5:15,16 says he went to the wilderness or as some translations have it, to a desolate place; Mark 6:30,31, the desert and Luke 11:1 it is a certain place. It is clear that he sought time alone, or with a few close friends to rest, recuperate and pray.

The passage in Mark 1 recounts a day that was very full. Jesus had healed people of disease, cast out demons and by the end of the day it seemed the whole city was crowded at his door. We cannot imagine a day such as that and how we would be drained of our energy and enthusiasm. What we would want is a good sleep and maybe to lay in bed a bit longer than usual. But that wasn’t for Jesus, in the morning when it was still dark, he went off to a lonely place to pray. We often find it hardest to pray when we are tired, Jesus found fresh energy in his prayer. We read that when the disciples couldn’t find him in the morning, they went hunting for him. When they found him, they tried to get to him to go back and serve the needs of the crowd, but Jesus had other plans, he wanted to go somewhere else and preach and heal other people.

On another day of healing the sick and casting out demons, his reputation had grown so much that “multitudes” gathered wanting to hear him and be healed of their sicknesses. Luke tells us in Chapter 5:16 that Jesus withdrew or slipped away by himself to the wilderness to pray. Jesus didn’t want popularity, or crowds. He was no celebrity preacher. He knew he had to get away, to spend time out of the limelight and pray. The way verse 16 reads is that he would frequently slip away, it is almost as if he sneaks off whenever he can – of course Jesus is never sneaky!

After Jesus appointed his disciples and sent them out to announce the Kingdom of God, Mark in his gospel records that King Herod executed the cousin of Jesus, John the Baptist (Mark 6:7-29). When the disciples returned they told Jesus all that they had done and reported the death of John. Jesus’ response was to invite the disciples to come away with him to a lonely place to rest. There were so many people and so many demands they were not even able to have lunch! Jesus knew that the disciples needed to find a space by themselves. They were excited, they had performed miracles, healed people, cast out demons. They many have wanted to bask in the success of their mission, or else they may have been high on adrenalin and the last thing they wanted was to rest. But Jesus knew want they needed, come away, rest, pray.

There are so many demands we all face that our days can become very full of activity. We become so ‘busy’ that we don’t have time to pray. Jesus knew that prayer was a priority, whatever else he had to do, no matter what other people expected of him, he needed time alone to pray. Martin Luther is quoted as saying” “Work, work from early until late. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Pray is indispensable if we want to be productive, if we want to stand firm in the battle we must “pray at all times in the Spirit”. God planned creation with rest in mind. He set a day aside to make sure we didn’t forget that, and yet it often seems that unless we fill every moment with some activity, we should feel guilty. When Jesus was tired, he prayed, and he slept. He should follow his example.

  1. Do you ever feel you are too ‘busy’ to pray?
  2. How often do you find yourself falling asleep when you pray?
  3. If one of the church leaders said they were taking a day off to pray, would you assume they were not working?
  4. 偷偷地溜走

馬可福音 6:30,31

福音書中有很多耶穌獨自一人、偷偷地溜走的例子。在馬可福音 1 章 35 節,他溜到一個僻靜的地方;在路加福音 5:15,16 ,他去了曠野,或如一些翻譯所說的荒涼之地;馬可福音 6:30,31,他到了沙漠,在路加福音 11:1 他到一個特定的地方。很明顯,耶穌尋求獨處的時間,或者與幾個親密的朋友一起休息,重新振作和祈禱。

馬可福音 1章中的這段話記述耶穌過了非常充實的一天。醫治病人並趕鬼,到了一天結束時,整個城市似乎都包圍著他。我們無法想像在這樣忙碌的一天我們將如何耗盡精力和心情。我們必想睡個好覺或更長時間躺在床上。但這不是耶穌。早上天還黑的時候,他就走到偏僻的地方祈禱。我們常常在疲倦時感到最難禱告,但耶穌在禱告中找到新的力量。當門徒早上找不到他時,他們就去找他,試圖請他回去滿足人群的需要,但耶穌有其他計劃,他要到其他地方傳道和醫治其他人。

耶穌又過了醫病趕鬼的一天,名聲遠播,許多人聚集想聽他的教誨和得醫治。路加在第 5 章 16 節告訴我們,耶穌自己引退,溜到曠野禱告。耶穌不要什麼人氣或粉絲。他不是什麼明星佈道家。他知道必須離開,遠離聚光燈,然後去祈禱。第16節告訴我們他經常偷偷地溜走,似乎他一有機會就溜走——當然耶穌從不偷偷摸摸的人!

耶穌任命和派遣門徒去宣講上帝的國,馬可記載當時希律王處決了耶穌的表兄施洗約翰(馬可福音 6:7-29)。當門徒回來時,將他們所做的一切都告訴了耶穌,並報告約翰的死訊。耶穌的回應就是邀請門徒和他一起去偏僻的地方休息。當時人很多,他們的需要也很多,門徒連午飯都吃不下!耶穌知道門徒需要找一個地方。他們因為行了神蹟、醫好病人和趕鬼很興奮,腎上腺素高,可能想享受任務的成功。他們最不想做的就是停下來。但耶穌知道他們需要撤退、休息和祈禱。

我們每天都面臨著如此多的需求,以至我們的日子非常充實。我們變得如此忙碌,沒有時間祈禱。耶穌知道禱告是最重要中之最重要,無論他還需要做什麼,不管別人對他有什麼期望,他都需要時間獨自禱告。馬丁路德說:「我們工作,從早到晚工作。我真的有很多事情要做,所以我要首先花三小時祈禱。」如果我們想有成效,禱告是必不可少的,如果我們想在爭戰中站穩腳跟,我們必須「時刻在聖靈裡禱告。」當上帝計劃創造時,衪把休息包括在內。衪把一天分別為聖,確保我們不忘記休息,但我們每時每刻都想做一些活動,否則會感到內疚。耶穌累了,禱告,睡覺。我們也應以他為榜樣。

  1. 你有沒有覺得自己太「忙」而無法禱告?
  2. 你在禱告時睡著的頻率是多少?
  3. 如果一位教會領袖說他們請假一天祈禱,你會認為他們沒有工作嗎?

 

 

 

 

  1. Picking his team

Luke 6:12-16

As Jesus continued his tour of the towns and villages, healing people, teaching and casting out demons he gathered a number of followers. Some he called to follow him like Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew but other men and women joined him as well; some of the women are mentioned by name in Luke 8:2,3. But the time came for Jesus to select his team and so according to Luke he went off to a mountain to spend a whole night in prayer.

When daylight came Jesus went back down the mountain and called the disciples to him, from the group he chose 12 who are named in Luke 6:14,15. This 12 were called apostles which is a Greek word meaning messengers or delegates. This probably means that they were chosen to be his representatives, given a commission to announce the kingdom of God. There was nothing remarkable about these me. At least four of them were fishermen. Simon was a Zealot, a member of a group that was determined to overthrow the Roman government, violently if necessary. Matthew was paid by the Roman government to collect tax from the Jews and would have been viewed as a traitor. Judas Iscariot eventually betrayed Jesus and was a thief. If you or I were selecting a team to launch a missionary endeavour not many of these men would make the short list!

Jesus spent the night in prayer before choosing these men. He didn’t call for a resumé or a job application, he had spent time with them, they had given up everything to follow him and he didn’t make it easy. Now he went alone to the mountain and spent the night in prayer, discussing his need with his heavenly father. Jesus saw something in this group that others might not have seen. He was not convinced by social standing, status, education or even past failures. He looked beyond their fault and the expectations of others. They were an imperfect group that were going to be entrusted with the greatest challenge ever presented to mankind. They were God’s choice, and they were the right people.

When God chose you to be his child and disciple, he didn’t make that choice based on your achievements, your looks or qualifications or your track record. You weren’t without fault, perfect or good enough to be chosen. You were not better than, or more important than anyone else. He knew you would make mistakes, let him down and stumble and yet he chose you. God’s choice is made on the basis of his love and mercy. He has invited you to follow him and to be honoured to be called one of his disciples. It may be that he will give you a commission that brings you into leadership as well, this is a privilege and an awesome responsibility.

Jesus spent the night in prayer because those he chose to be apostles would be given a task that would challenge them in every way. He needed to pick the right team. Jesus continues to pray to the Father even now and still sets apart people to serve him and to build his church. You may not think you are good enough, or qualified or equipped for that, but he calls those he chooses, and he does not make mistakes.

When we need to make big decisions, do we make prayer a priority – before we decide? Or do we decide first and then ask God to bless the decision? Jesus, the son of God, spent a whole night in prayer and then announced his decision. The son and the father discussed together the team Jesus needed and Jesus appointed them. Remember to invite your heavenly father to discuss with you the important decisions in your life and then confidently make them knowing that he will guide your footsteps.

  1. What criteria would you have made your choice of apostles on?
  2. Have you ever felt the need to spend a whole night in prayer? Could you do it?
  3. Do you feel called to leadership but are reluctant because you don’t feel good enough?
  4. 挑選他的團隊

路加福音 6:12-16

耶穌穿梭各城鎮和村莊,醫治、教導和趕鬼,聚集了許多追隨者。他呼召一些人跟從他,例如彼得、安得烈、雅各、約翰和馬太。但也有其他人加入他的行列;路加福音 8:2-3 中提到一些婦女的名字。但是當耶穌選擇他的團隊時,他走到山上整夜禱告。

到了早晨,耶穌下山,呼召門徒跟從他。他從人群中挑選了 12 個人,他們在路加福音 6:14-15 中被提名。這 12 位被稱為使徒,這是一個希臘詞語,意思是使者或代表,意味著他們被選為耶穌的代表,受命宣揚上帝的國度。這些人沒有什麼了不起的。其中至少有四個是漁民。西蒙是一個要推翻羅馬政權的狂熱份子者,甚至必要時會用暴力。馬太是為羅馬政府向猶太人徵稅的叛徒。加略人猶大最終背叛耶穌,也是一個小偷。如果我們要挑選一個團隊來開展宣教工作,這些人當中不會有很多人會入圍!

耶穌在揀選這些人之前整夜禱告。他不要什麼求職簡歷或申請表,他和他們一起渡過了一段時間,他們放棄了一切來跟隨他,他並沒有讓這過程變得容易。現在他獨自上山,整夜禱告,把他的需要交付天父。耶穌在這群人中認出了其他人可能沒有認出的特質。他對社會地位、教育水平,甚至過去的失敗都不感興趣。他看穿人的缺點和其他人的期望。他們並不是完美的群體,但將被賦予人類歷史上最大的挑戰。他們是上帝的選民,他們是適合的人。

當上帝選擇你成為衪孩子和門徒時,衪不是根據你的成就、外貌、資格或過往的記錄來作出選擇的。這不是因為你完美無缺,或優秀而被選中。你並不比其他人好或更重要。衪知道你會犯錯,讓衪失望和跌倒,但衪還是揀擇了你。上帝的選擇是基於衪的愛和憐憫。衪邀請你跟隨他,並榮幸地被稱為衪的門徒。衪也可能委託你成為領袖,這是一種特權,也是一種可敬的責任。

耶穌整夜禱告,因為他的使徒要面對充滿挑戰的任務。他要選擇合適的團隊。直到現在,耶穌仍在繼續向天父祈禱,並仍然差遣人侍奉他並建立他的教會。你可能覺得自己不夠好,不夠資格,沒有裝備,但他呼召他選民,他是不會犯錯的。

當我們要作重大決定時,會否先禱告——然後才決定?還是我們先決定,然後祈求上帝保佑?上帝的兒子耶穌整夜禱告,然後宣布他的決定。兒子和父親一起討論需要的團隊,耶穌才任命他們。記得邀請你的天父與你討論你生命中的重要決定,然後以信心知道他會指引你的腳步。

  1. 你挑選使徒的標準是什麼?
  2. 你有沒有覺得需要整夜禱告?你做到嗎?
  3. 你是否覺得自己被呼召做領袖,但因為感覺自己不夠好而不願意?

 

 

  1. Sifted like wheat

Luke 22:31,32

Most of those reading this post will know what a sieve is, you may even have one hidden away in a kitchen draw. A sieve in its simplest form is a mesh bowl or screen and is used for sifting things like flour, to remove imperfections or lumps from fine grains, or on a bigger scale in the mining industry it separates wanted from unwanted matter. A sieve can are also be used to separate good grain form chaff and this is how it would be understood in this passage. For the object being sifted this was a violent process involving a lot of shaking and what we read is that Satan had demanded permission to sift the disciples.

Satan was not interested in getting rid of the imperfections and keeping what was good, he wanted to shake up the disciples. Adrian Dieleman puts it this way: “Satan wants to place Peter in a sieve and sift him as wheat. He wants to shake him, throw him around, give him a rough time. Satan wants to sift Peter – he wants to demonstrate that Peter is chaff, a piece of foreign matter, something that does not belong. Satan wants to show Peter as a false believer. He wants to collect evidence that proves Peter is a fake. Satan has decided that Simon Peter must fall into temptation, that he must have a mighty big fall like Humpty Dumpty, that he must come crashing down.” The permission Satan seeks is to sift all of the disciples, it is expressed in the plural form, and it includes you and me.

The name Satan means the adversary or opponent, and he is relentlessly opposed to God’s rule and his plan to bring salvation to all those who believe. He starts with the disciples because they were those chosen by Jesus to proclaim the Kingdom. The Kingdom to come would be based on the confession of Peter that Jesus is the Christ, if Peter fails then the God’s plan is at risk.

When Satan brought his request to God it came as a demand, but the authority to grant or deny it rested with God. Satan operates within defined boundaries, and he may not overstep them. He could not touch Peter and the other disciples without God’s approval. God is sovereign, God is in control. He sets the boundaries, the limits, the borders for Satan. Satan can go only so far and no further. Satan can only do what God permits or allows him to do. This is a great comfort. Paul reminds us that there is no temptation we can experience that from which, God has not already provided a means of escape and James assures us that the trials we face produce endurance which in turn makes us perfect and complete.

Jesus turns to Peter and says to him: “but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” He called Peter by name and assured him of his prayer. He did not say he prayed that Peter would not be sifted, but that his faith would not fail. Jesus knew that the sifting was necessary, but it would not be so great as to cause Peter to fall. Peter did stumble, more than once, but Jesus lifted him back up each time. Hebrews 7:25 says about Jesus: “he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” The apostle Paul wrote the church at Rome: “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” He goes on to ask that if this is true, and of course it is, who or what can separate us from God’s love? And of course the answer is absolutely nothing, either in heaven or on earth or any other place. In fact in all of these things we are overwhelmingly conquerors. (Romans 8:34-39).

Juts like Peter, you will be sifted, your faith will be tested. You may be shaken up and tossed around, you may even feel a bit bruised and battered, but you will emerge victorious! Satan demands, but Jesus prays for you by name and God declares to Satan: ‘This far, but no further. This is my child and he/she is precious in my sight and you will not, cannot separate them from my love’.

  1. Do you feel like you have been sifted?
  2. Is it a comfort to you to know that Jesus prays for you, by name?
  3. Jesus told Peter that when he was back on his feet, he should strengthen the others. Are you able to use your experience to strengthen and encourage others?
  4. 像麥子一樣過篩

路加福音 22:31,32

多數閱讀這篇文章的人都知道篩子是什麼,你甚至可能有一個藏在廚房的抽屜裡。篩子最簡單的形式是網狀碗或篩網,用於篩麵粉等東西和去除瑕疵或結塊。它也在採礦業發揮更大作用,將要與不要的物質分開。篩子也可從穀殼中將好的穀物分別出來,這就是這段經文的意思。對於被篩的東西,這是一個激烈的過程,有很多震動,我們讀到的故事是撒旦要求允許篩選門徒。

撒旦不是要去除不完美的東西,他要動搖門徒。 Adrian Dieleman 說:「撒旦要把彼得放在篩子裡,像篩麥子一樣篩他。他要動搖他,把他扔出去,給他艱難的經歷。撒旦要篩選彼得——要證明彼得只是瑕疵,外來的異物。撒旦想表明彼得是一個假信徒,要收集證明彼得是假的證據。撒旦決定彼得必須陷入試探,他必像 Humpty Dumpty 那樣墜落。」撒旦要求的是篩所有門徒,它以復數表達,因此這包括你和我。

撒旦這名字的意思是敵人或反對者,他無情地反對上帝的統治和衪為所有相信的人預備的救恩。他首先攻擊門徒,因為他們是耶穌揀選來宣揚天國的人。那將到來的國是建基於彼得能否承認耶穌是基督,如果彼得失敗了,那麼上帝的計劃就受到威脅。

撒旦向上帝提出請求,但授予或拒絕它的權力在上帝手中。撒旦只能在規定的界限內運作,不能在沒有神許可的情況下越過界限,他不能傷害彼得和其他門徒。上帝是至高無上的,掌管一切。他為撒旦設定了界限。撒旦只能在界限之內,只能做上帝允許的事情。這對我們來說是極大的安慰。保羅提醒我們,我們不會經歷上帝沒提供幫助的試探,雅各向我們保證,我們面臨的考驗會產生忍耐,而忍耐使我們變得完美和完整。

耶穌轉向彼得,對他說:「但我為你禱告,叫你的信心不會落空。」他叫彼得的名字,向他保證他的禱告。他並沒有祈求彼得不會被篩,而是祈求他的信心不會落空。耶穌知道篩是必要的,但不會讓彼得跌倒。彼得不止一次跌倒,但耶穌每次都把他扶起來。希伯來書 7 章 25 節說,「凡靠著耶穌親近上帝的人,他都能拯救到底,因為他常活著,為他們祈求。」使徒保羅寫信給羅馬教會時說:「基督耶穌是死了——但不僅如此,他還復活了——他在上帝的右邊,必定為我們祈求。」他繼續問這是否是真的,當然是真的,誰或什麼能讓我們與上帝的愛隔絕?答案當然是絕對沒有,無論在天堂還在地球或任何地方。事實上,在所有事情上,我們都是壓倒性的征服者 (羅馬書 8:34-39)。

你會像彼得一樣被篩,你的信心會受到考驗。你可能會被動搖,被折騰,你甚至會感到痛楚和破碎,但你會取得勝利!撒但有要求,但耶穌按著名字為你祈禱,上帝對撒旦宣告:「只可以到這地步,但不能超越。這是我的孩子,他/她在我看來很珍貴,你永不能也無法將他們與我的愛分開。」

  1. 你覺得你被篩了嗎?
  2. 當你知道耶穌按著名字為你祈禱,這對你來說是一種安慰嗎?
  3. 耶穌告訴彼得,當他重新站起來時,會幫助其他人變得更強壯。你能用你的經驗來幫助和鼓勵別人嗎?

 

  1. The Great Prayer

John 17

About 500 years ago the German teacher, Melanchthon wrote: “There is no voice which has ever been heard, either in heaven or in earth, more exalted, more holy, more fruitful, more sublime, than the prayer offered up by the Son to God Himself.” The longest of Jesus’ recorded prayers is chapter 17 of John’s gospel. Jesus had just finished speaking with the disciples about the things that were going to happen and how he needed to leave them for a while and then he lifted his eyes towards heaven. This was the customary posture for prayer. It is uncommon in our culture in which we usually bow our heads and close our eyes, but Jesus lifted his eyes and may even have had his arms outstretched as he prayed. He then proceeded with what is sometimes called his High Priestly prayer.

There are a number of themes in this prayer and it is very rich in meaning, too much to explore in a one page post! So, we will focus on just a few. The prayer is offered in the context of a giving God, and this is reflected in the number of times ‘giving’ or ‘gave’ appear in the first few verses. Jesus speaks of those who have been given to him by the Father. Immediately we are reminded that we belong. God our father has entrusted us into the care of his son, we belong to him. Because we belong, Jesus says that he prays for us, he guards us, and he keeps us (verses 9-12). We have the assurance that no one that has been entrusted to Jesus will be lost, all will be kept safe and secure.

The second thing we are confident of is that we have the authority of his name. Because we belong to Jesus, then we have the right, and the privilege to “know the name” of the Father (6). He is the source of eternal life, “his “name” stands for all that he is and has done, most importantly in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. To know that name is to have one’s life constituted and sustained in the power of that name — to be protected and guarded in that name” (11,12). (Boyce). To be kept in the name of the Father is to rely on the authority of the Almighty God, the ruler of heaven and of earth. To know the name of the Father is to have confidence to trust in his authority to answer the prayers of his son.

The gift of the Father is passed on by his son, to those who have been entrusted to him. In verse 14 he claims he has given the words he received from his father to his disciples. This word is the life and teaching of Jesus, who is the ‘the word become flesh’ (John 1:14). It is this word that will sanctify or set apart those who believe in him. It is dependence on his teachings that will help us to grow in our relationship with him. It is faith in the Spirit of truth that will keep us secure. We have the revealed word of God made available to us in the pages of the Bible, as we deepen our knowledge and understanding of this word, we grow in our relationship with our Father. This then reminds us that we belong to him, and that we too can experience his love and protection.

God the Father sent Jesus into the world to bring hope and redemption to the lost, as Jesus concludes his prayer, he states that in the same way he is sending his followers into their world. He has entrusted you and me to take the truth about Jesus to those who are without hope. He knew that we would be met with opposition, and even persecution, but he is certain that the name of the Father, the unity that exists between He and the son and now within the church will keep us safe from the evil one. There will be trials and tests but through all of this our destiny and our eternal hope is sure. Jesus concludes his prayer with these words: “I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

  1. Do you know that you belong to your Father as a son or a daughter?
  2. How well do you know “the name of the Father”?
  3. Is your knowledge of the word of God growing and how does that give you confidence to face testing times?

 

  1. 偉大的祈禱

約翰福音 17

大約 500 年前,德國教師Melanchthon寫道:「在天上和地上沒有任何聲音比聖子獻給上帝的祈禱更崇高、更聖潔、更有成果、更偉大。」耶穌最長的禱告記錄是在約翰福音 17 章。 耶穌剛巧對門徒宣告將要發生的事以及他要離開,然後他舉目望天,這是當時普遍的祈禱姿勢。在我們的文化中,我們通常低頭閉上眼睛,但耶穌抬起眼睛,甚至可能伸出雙臂,繼續這被稱為「大祭司禱文」的禱告。

這個禱告有許多主題,含義非常豐富,在一頁內探索實在太多了!所以我們將只集中幾項。這禱告的背景是在一位慷慨的上帝面前,我們見到前幾節「給予」或「賜給」出現幾次。耶穌論到父賜給他的人,因此我們是屬於他的。我們的天父親將我們託付給衪的兒子,我們屬於他,耶穌應許為我們祈禱,保護和保守我們(第 9-12 節)。我們可以保證耶穌不會失去上帝託付給他的人,每人都會得到保障。

我們確信的第二件事是我們有他名的權柄。因為我們屬於耶穌,所以我們有特權「認識天父的名字」(6)。衪是永生的源頭,「衪的名字代表衪的一切所是和所做的,最重要的是耶穌的生、死和復活。認識這名字就是享有其權柄所賜下的生命——以那名字受保護和守護」(11,12)(Boyce)。奉父的名保守就是倚靠那掌管天地的全能上帝的權柄。認識天父的名字就是憑信心相信他的權柄應允兒子的祈禱。

父的恩賜經兒子傳給那託付給他的人。在第 14 節中,耶穌說他已將父的話教導門徒。這道是耶穌的生命和教導,他「道成肉身」(約翰福音 1:14)。正是這道將那相信他的人成聖及分別出來。依靠他的教導將幫助我們與他建立關係和在當中成長。我們對充滿真理的聖靈的信心將保守我們。我們已因著聖經得到上帝所啟示的話語,隨著我們對這道的認識和理解加深,我們在與天父的關係中成長。這提醒我們,我們是屬於他的,並會體驗他的愛和保守。

父差遣耶穌來到世上,為失喪的人帶來希望和救贖,當耶穌結束他的祈禱時,說他會同樣地差遣門徒進入世界裡。他委託你和我把真理帶給絕望的人。他知道我們會遭反對,甚至迫害,但他確信父的名、他與兒子之間的合一,以及教會內的合一,將使我們遠離邪惡。我們會遇到考驗和試煉,但通過這一切,我們確信永生和永恆的希望。耶穌以這樣的話結束他的禱告:「我已將你的名指示他們,還要指示他們,使你所愛我的愛在他們裡面,我也在他們裡面。」

  1. 你知道你以兒女的身分屬於你的父親嗎?
  2. 你對「父的名」了解多少?
  3. 你對上帝話語的認識是否在增長,這如何讓你有信心面對考驗?

 

 

 

  1. In the Garden

Matthew 26:36-46

After Jesus shared his final Passover meal with his disciples they went to the Garden of Gethsemane where he told his disciples to wait for him while he went alone to pray. Jesus knew that the time was very near for him to be betrayed, arrested and ultimately put to death. He needed to spend time with his father in preparation for what was to come, but also to encourage his disciples to be on their guard.

According to both Matthew and Mark, Jesus took Peter, James and John a little further and left the others behind. When he got near to the place he intended to pray, he said to those three that he was overwhelmed with sorrow and that they should watch with him while he went further. By asking them to watch he was asking that they stay alert but also to encourage him with their own prayer. Never before had Jesus confessed this level of personal grief and now he needed those closest to him to support him.

He found a secluded spot and fell on his face arms outstretched in a posture of humility and absolute submission to the will of the Father. On other occasions he lifted his eyes and hands heavenward, but not this time. He poured out his soul to his father asking that if it were possible, he be spared from the anguish and suffering that was to come but submitting to God’s will all the time knowing that it was not possible, and that he must endure suffering and death. After he prayed he returned to his friends and found them asleep. “Couldn’t you stay awake for even one hour?” he asked. Not long before Peter had pledged undying allegiance to Jesus saying that even if everybody else let him down, he never would, and now here he was asleep. Then Jesus said: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He didn’t condemn, yes he challenged but he didn’t chastise them for their weakness, instead he acknowledged their desire and encouraged them to watch and pray that they not enter temptation. Jesus did not tell them to pray that they would not be tempted, but that they would not enter into it. We cannot avoid temptation it comes to all of us in many forms, but we are encouraged not to dwell on it, not to entertain it and to resist it at the very first opportunity.

Jesus went again to pray, acknowledging that what was necessary couldn’t take place without him accepting the role he had to play. On returning to the disciples he once again found them asleep. This time no words were offered by Jesus and Mark notes that the disciples didn’t know what to say. They would have seen the sorrow and perhaps the disappointment in Jesus eyes and looked away.

Jesus went a third time and repeated his prayers. Luke records that an angel came and strengthened him, but his anguish was so great that his sweat became drops of blood. He went back to the disciples and again they were asleep. Luke states that they were so consumed by sorrow that they could not stay awake, but Jesus asks “Are you still resting and sleeping? It is time to get up, the one is who going to betray me is here”. Jesus asked his closest friends to stand with him in his deepest need, but they could not. They let him down and must have been ashamed and yet Jesus did not condemn. He understood their weakness. There will be times when you and I feel we have let Jesus down. We have not stood firm when we should have, stayed silent when we should have spoken, given up when we should have carried on. He does not condemn, but he recognizes our weakness and offers encouragement. His source of strength was in submitting to the will of his father, but he discovered that, only by total surrender and humility.

  1. If Jesus asked you to watch and pray with him for one hour could you do it?
  2. Have you experienced the level of submission that Jesus demonstrated when you have prayed for a particular need?
  3. When you let God down do you feel condemned? If Jesus does not condemn you, where does that condemnation come from?

 

  1. 在客西馬尼園

馬太福音 26:36-46

耶穌與門徒分享他最後的逾越節晚餐後,一起到了客西馬尼園,他吩咐門徒在那裡等他,他便獨自去禱告。耶穌知道他將被出賣、逮捕和最終被處決的時候已近了。他需要與天父共渡這時光,為即將來臨的事做準備,同時也需鼓勵門徒保持警惕。

根據馬太和馬可,耶穌帶著彼得、雅各和約翰走到更遠的地方,把其他人拋在後面。當他到祈禱的地方時,使告訴他們他悲痛萬分,要他們一起警醒。他的意思是保持警惕禱告,同時也通過祈禱來鼓勵他。耶穌從未承認過有這種程度的悲傷,現在他需要最親的人支持他。

他到了一個僻靜的地方,俯伏在地,謙遜地張開雙臂,絕對服從天父的旨意。他在其他場合可能向天仰望和舉手,但這次沒有。他向天父傾訴心事,祈求上帝如果可能的話,免他即將到來的痛苦和苦難,但他知道他必須忍受苦難和死亡,也要順服上帝的旨意。禱告後,他回到朋友身邊,發現他們睡著了。他問:「你就不能警醒一個小時嗎?」就在不久前,彼得發誓永遠效忠耶穌,更宣稱即使其他人讓耶穌失望,他也永遠不會,現在他在這裡睡著了。耶穌跟著說:「要警醒禱告,免得入了迷惑。你們心靈固然願意,肉體卻軟弱了。」他沒有譴責,只是提出挑戰,並沒有因為他們的軟弱而責備他們,而是承認他們的意願,鼓勵他們警醒祈禱,以免陷入試探。耶穌並沒有祈求上帝不讓他們受試探,而是幫助他們不要進入試探中。我們無法避免誘惑,它以種種形式在我們生命中出現,但我們在鼓勵下可以不沉迷於它,不被它影響,一有機會就抵制它。

耶穌再次禱告,接受他所須面對和成就的事情。當他回到門徒那裡,發現他們又睡著了。這一次耶穌沒有說任何話。馬可指到門徒不知道該說什麼。他們很可能看到耶穌眼中的悲傷和失望,移開視線。

耶穌第三次去重複他的禱告。路加記載有一位天使來加添力量給他,但他的痛苦甚大,甚至他的汗水變成了血滴。他回到門徒那裡,他們又睡著了。路加說他們被悲傷所吞噬,無法警醒,但耶穌問:「你還在休息和睡覺嗎?起來了,要背叛我的人已到了。」耶穌請他最親密的朋友在他最需要的時候陪伴他,但他們做不到,讓他失望,一定是感到羞恥,但耶穌並沒有譴責他們。他理解他們的弱點。有時你和我都覺得我們讓耶穌失望。在應該說話的時侯沒有堅持,應該堅持的時候卻放棄。耶穌不譴責,他承認我們的弱點,並鼓勵我們。他的力量源泉是服從天父的旨意,但他完全順服和謙卑才做到。

  1. 如果耶穌要你和他一起守望禱告一小時,你能做到嗎?
  2. 當你為特定的需要禱告時,有否經歷過像耶穌的順服?
  3. 當你讓上帝失望時,你有否感到被譴責?如果耶穌不定你的罪,那麼定罪從哪裡來?

 

 

  1. On the Cross

Matthew 27:4-55

All the events of Jesus life led up to this final act. He was betrayed by one of his trusted followers, arrested and brought before a sham court, tortured, ridiculed and humiliated. One of his closest friends denied that he even knew him and the rest of his disciples ran away. The crowds that had cheered him, now called for his blood and having stripped him of his clothes the soldiers even gambled to see who would get them. Nailed to a cross he was hoisted between two criminals and subjected to the cruelest form of death possible. In the last moments of his life, he offered prayers to his father and forgiveness to his tormentors.

The gospel writers offer slightly different versions of what Jesus said on the cross but Matthew records Jesus’ cry of anguish or as some would call it the cry of dereliction as the first “thing he cries out. Dereliction is an old word which means complete abandonment and is found in Jesus’ words “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In this moment of extreme suffering Jesus felt abandoned, he knew that he was not for he was quoting Psalm 22 which ends in victory and triumph. God had not abandoned Jesus and Jesus had not given up on God. He had been abandoned to death, separated for the first and only time in eternity from the love of his father as he carried the guilt and penalty of the sins of all of mankind. There will be times when we feel that God has abandoned us, he has not. We feel alone, left with the enormity of our suffering, but God is with us and he sustains us.

Luke records that Jesus looked around at those who had put him on the cross, were even then insulting and ridiculing him and turning to his father he called out: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). They had been blinded by the devil; they didn’t know the part they were playing in this supernatural drama. They were not the enemy, they were victims of the enemy and Jesus asked for them to be forgiven. When we are hurting, feeling broken and let down, maybe even ridiculed and insulted, it is difficult not to see the offender as anything but an enemy that should be punished. Jesus sets the standard, even on the cross he seeks forgiveness for his oppressors.

After this episode Luke records that Jesus committed his Spirit into the hands of his Father. His mind returning to Psalm 22 and the certainty of God’s deliverance. He entrusted his whole life to his Father confident that His will would be done and he would be rescued from the claims of death. John records the last words of Jesus as: “It is finished”. He cries out to God that he done all that he came to earth to do, his work was complete it was finished. The sacrifice that took away the penalty and power of sin had been offered. The temple curtain was torn in two, the entrance to the Holy Place was open. Through him we now have bold and confident access to the throne of grace.

  1. Have you ever felt abandoned by God?
  2. How do you know that he never leaves you or forsakes you?
  3. Are you able to ask God’s forgiveness for those who have hurt you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 在十字架上

馬太福音 27:4-55

耶穌生平的所有事件都是為了這最後一幕。他被自己信任的門徒出賣,被捕並被帶到一個虛假的法庭,受折磨、嘲笑和羞辱。他最親密的朋友甚至不認他,其餘的門徒都逃跑了。先前為他歡呼的人群現在要求他被處死。士兵們剝光了他的衣服,甚至以賭著的形式分配。他被釘在十字架上,被吊在兩個罪犯之間,並遭受最殘忍的死刑。他在生命的最後時刻向天父祈禱,為那些折磨他的人祈禱。

福音書作者對耶穌在十字架上所說的話提供了略有不同的版本,馬太記錄了耶穌痛苦的呼喊,是有人稱之為被遺棄的呼喊。遺棄是一個古老的詞,意思是完全被放棄,出現在耶穌的話中:「我的上帝,我的上帝,你為什麼離棄我?」在這極度痛苦的時刻。耶穌感到被遺棄,其實他知道他沒有,因為他引用了以勝利告終的詩篇 22篇。上帝並沒有拋棄耶穌,耶穌也沒有放棄上帝。他被遺棄至死,在永恆中唯一一次與父親的愛分離,因為他背負了全人類的罪孽和懲罰。有時我們會覺得上帝拋棄了我們,但衪沒有。我們有時感到孤獨,受巨大的痛苦,但上帝與我們同在,他支撐著我們。

路加記載,耶穌環顧那些把他釘在十字架上的人,甚至侮辱他的人,他轉向天父喊道:「父親,赦免他們,因為他們所做的,他們不知道」(路加福音 23 章34節)。他們被魔鬼蒙蔽了雙眼,沒有意識自己在這超自然故事中扮演的角色。他們並不是仇敵,而是仇敵的受害者,耶穌為他們求寬恕。當我們受到傷害,感到沮喪和失望,甚至可能受到嘲笑和侮辱時,很難不把他人視為應受懲罰的敵人。耶穌卻為我們設定了標準,即使在十字架上他也為他的壓迫者尋求寬恕。

此後,路加記載耶穌將他的靈交在他天父的手中。他的思緒回到詩篇 22 篇中上帝拯救的應許。他將自己整個生命託付給父,相信衪的旨意成就,把他從死亡中拯救出來。約翰記錄耶穌的遺言為:「成了。」他向上帝宣告他已完成了他來到世上的一切使命,他的工作已完成了。他為罪的刑罰和權勢的祭已經獻上了。聖殿的幔子裂為兩半,上帝聖所的入口已敞開了。通過耶穌,我們現在可以憑信心地進入施恩寶座面前。

  1. 你曾經有被上帝拋棄的感覺嗎?
  2. 你怎麼知道衪從不離開你或拋棄你?
  3. 你能為那些曾傷害你的人祈求上帝的寬恕嗎?