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Did Jesus Pray to Himself ?

Jesus' prayers open our understanding to the majesty of the Incarnation, for
through them we grasp the divine-human relationship etween !od and His
"on# $rinitarians often refer to statements Jesus made aout His father,
including those in His prayers, in an e%ort to prove that two persons were
involved - who they identify as !od the "on and !od the &ather# "ince they
reason that only persons and not natures communicate with each other, they
regard the prayers as clear evidence that Jesus is a separate person from
'the &ather'# (oreover, they cite Jesus' remar)s aout the &ather as scriptural
support for the $rinitarian theory# However, the prayers and remar)s y Jesus
destroy any concept of !od as eing a trinity of co-e*ual, and co-e+istent
$he ,ile clearly distinguishes !od the &ather from His "on# $he "on was orn
in ,ethlehem, ut the eternal !od does not )now a eginning# $he "on grew
into maturity - physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually# He ecame tired,
hungry, weary, sleepy - just as other men# -lthough He did not commit sin,
He was tempted in all points as other men are tempted# He su%ered from the
trials in Jerusalem and died on the cross-just as the two thieves also died#
!od does not grow, nor can He die# $hese facts alone clearly distinguish the
"on from the &ather#
$he ,ile tells us that the man .hrist Jesus is the mediator etween !od and
men /I $imothy 0123# !od is one, ut a mediator serves more than one - He
stood etween !od and man)ind, e%ecting reconciliation# 4nly as a man
could Jesus e our sacri5ce, mediator, advocate, and high priest, acting on
our ehalf for our justi5cation#
Jesus o%ered Himself as a spotless lam to !od# Having lived as a human
eing, He o%ered the lood from His own ody as the asis for the
forgiveness of our sins# !od did not die on the cross, nor did a divine eternal
person o%er lood from a divine eternal ody# -s the "on of !od Jesus o%ered
His own human ody and His own earthly lood to !od# $he distinction
etween !od and His "on can also e seen in the events after the cruci5+ion#
!od raised Jesus from the dead /6omans 7819, :phesians 71083, gave Him all
power in heaven and earth /(atthew 0;17;3, made Him <ord and .hrist /-cts
01=>3, and e+alted His name to e aove every name in heaven, on earth,
and eneath the earth /Philippians 0193# If the "on had een a co-e*ual
person in the !odhead, this e+altation would not have een possile, for He
would have had these positions and attriutes from eternity# It is evident,
therefore, that the "on of !od was not a second divine person in the
,ilical facts reveal that Jesus lived as an authentic human eing, that He did
not merely assume the appearance of ?esh /73# $herefore we should not e
surprised that He prayed to !od, see)ing strength, guidance, and assurance#
(oreover, we should not e surprised that Jesus had a will distinct from !od
/03, that He was truly human in spirit and soul, that He possessed a self-
awareness of His humanity# @e are not to suppose, however, that the human
Jesus was not di%erent from other people, for only He was egotten y the
Holy !host# !od was His immediate &ather# He is rightfully called the 'only
egotten of the &ather'# His miraculous irth meant that His humanity was
not tainted with corruption, and through Him !od could reveal Himself to us
in redemptive love#
Jesus' prayers to !od the &ather came from His human life, from the
Incarnation# His prayers were not those of one divine person to another divine
person of !od, ut those of an authentic human praying to the one true !od#
Prayer is ased on an inferior eing in supplication efore a superior eing# If
the one praying is e*ual in power and authority to the one to whom he is
praying, there is no genuine prayer /=3# - conversation can e held etween
two e*uals, ut an omnipotent person does not need to pray for help from an
e*ual# :ven intercessory prayers are meaningless unless the one praying is
inferior to the one to whom he prays /A3# If he were of e*ual power,
)nowledge, and wisdom, he could ta)e care of the needs of those for whom
he prays without as)ing help of another# If Jesus prayed as '!od the "on',
then !od the "on is inferior to !od the &ather# ,ut such inferiority destroys
the $rinitarian theory /23 In sumitting His will to the &ather, Jesus confessed
that His will was inferior1 'Bevertheless not my will, ut thine, e done' /<u)e
001A03# He also stated the he did not see) to do His own will, ut the will of
the &ather /John 21=83# If the "on had een an eternal divine person sharing
e*ual power and )nowledge, and wisdom with two other persons in the
trinity, His will could not have een inferior to theirs#
Jesus also stated that the &ather was greater than He was1 '(y &ather is
greater than I' /John 7A10;3# It is asurd to say that this statement was made
y a co-e*ual, eternal person in a trinity# Jesus was not spea)ing as !od, ut
as the "on of !od# (oreover, Jesus said, 'the "on can do nothing of himself,
ut what he seeth the &ather do1 for what things soever He doeth, these also
doeth the "on li)ewise' /John 21793# He credits the &ather as the source of His
wor)s, as having the power to give life, and the authority to e+ecute
judgment /John 2179-=83# If the "on were an e*ual person in a trinity, He
would have these attriutes innately within himselfC He could not derive them
from a superior &ather>#
,ut we should not suppose that His humanity detracted from His deity# Jesus
was not the incarnation of one person of a trinity, ut he was the incarnation
of the fullness of !od - everything that !od is was in Him# $hus the ,ile says
the '!od was manifest in the ?esh' /I $im =17>3 and that 'in Him DJesusE
dwelleth all the fullness of the !odhead odily' /.olossians 0193# -s !od
incarnate, He identi5ed Himself with the &ather1 'I and my &ather are one'
/John 781=8C =7-==3C
'If ye had )nown me, ye should have )nown my &ather also1 and from
henceforth ye )now him, and have seen him ### he that has seen me hath
seen the &ather' /John 7A1F-93# -s !od with us, Jesus revealed His deity,
identifying Himself as the !od of -raham and the 4ne who revealed Himself
to (oses as the I -( /John ;10A, 2;3#
Jesus was oth !od and man# -lthough this union is sometimes referred to as
!od-man, this term may e misleading, for it may lead some people to thin)
of Him as a demigod# 4n the other hand, it is e*ually incorrect to refer to Him
as a anointed man# -lthough *uantitatively !od cannot e con5ned to a
ody, *ualitatively he could reside in a ody# Beither was Jesus a part-human,
ut he was man in the full sense# He was fully !od and fully man# He
possessed oth the nature of !od and the nature of man# He was aware that
He was He was !od and that He was man# He could and did spea) and act as
a man, and he could and did spea) and act as !od# -s a man, he did not
)now the day or hour when the "on would come in power and glory /(ar)
7=1003C as !od he forgave sins# ,oth His humanity and deity, although fused
into His one eing, remained distinct within His one personality# -dmittedly,
the Incarnation is a mystery eyond the comprehension of the human mind#
Did Jesus pray to Himself ? Bo, not when we understand that Jesus was oth
!od and man# In His deity Jesus did not pray, for !od does not need to pray
to anyone# -s a man, Jesus prayed to !od, not to his humanity /F3# He did not
pray to Himself as humanity, ut to the one true !od, to the same !od who
dwelled in His humanity and who also inhaits the universe# Bo further
e+planation is given, and none is needed# Does Jesus pray now since his
e+altation ? $he answer is no# He prayed in the days of His ?esh /Herews
21F3# $he wor) of the mediation was 5nished through His death on the cross
at .alvary /Herews 917A-723# $here is no more sacri5ce for sins, for once and
for all time His lood was shed for the remission of sins /Herews 781703#
Gnli)e the 4ld $estament priests, he does not continually o%er sacri5ces for
sins# $here is no more o%ering, ut there remains remission of sins for those
who repent and are aptiHed in the name of Jesus .hrist /Herews 7817;, -cts
01=;3# His present role as intercessor consists not only of daily prayers ut the
application of the ene5t of the cross to our lives /6omans ;1=AC 7 John 71F-9C
Jesus said, '-t that day ye shall as) in my name1 and I say not unto you, that I
will pray the &ather for you1 for the &ather himself loveth you, ecause ye
have loved me, and elieved that I came out from !od# I came forth from the
&ather, and am come into the world1 again I leave the world and go to the
&ather' /John 7>10>-0;3# Jesus does not pray now, ut as !od He hears and
answers prayers prayed in His name#
7# $hat is, he was not a phantasm, as some !nostics held# Jesus was *uite
real, from irth to death#
0# -s a man, while in the ?esh
=# In recent years, heretical teachers have often e+ploited a asic
misconception of the nature of !od and man in proposing a form and attitude
of prayer not demonstrated y scripture# :+amples include J# .opeland, &#
Price, and others in the '@ord of &aith' movement, such as graduates of
Hagin's 6hema ,ile school# In the imalance resulting from improper
understanding, these people have suggested oth the 'commanding of !od'
as 'co-e*ual heirs with Jesus', and that Jesus was indeed, no di%erent that
'orn-again man'# In the editor's opinion, all such distortions clearly conclude
in lasphemy#
A# In the *uality of inferiority, the author does not include voluntary
sumission# - prayer to a saint, or angel is therefor without ,ile asis,
e+cept as a petition to one in authority# @e are not led to elieve that
ascended saints have more authority that those who are ?esh ound, on
earth, thus there is no support given for prayers to heavenly powers, other
than to !od the &ather, in the name of Jesus .hrist#
2# $hus we agree that the scriptures do not teach suordinatism, such as do
/>3 "eeing numerous proofs that sonship is not in e*uality with fatherhood,
the *uestion must e as)ed, 'In what dimensions then is the "on e*ual to the
&ather, if distinct, or does such e*uality only pertain to those aspects in which
the &ather and "on are indistinct ?'
F# @hile some contend that this suggests that Jesus is schiHophrenic, or split
in personality, once again, it is important to understand the di%erence
etween nature and person# @e are also reminded that Jesus, as man, set the
pattern for all 'followers of Jesus' who would through the new irth ecome
and aide as sons, or children of !od# His prayer illustrates the prayer of all
who are of a human nature#