The Lord Jesus Praying in Luke (1)

Luke presents the Lord Jesus as the ideal man, the pattern man, man as God would have each of His own to be. He was perfectly human and humanly perfect. Christ had two perfect and complete natures in His one blessed person. He had full absolute deity and He had sinless holy humanity. He had to be both in order to be our Savior. He had to be a man in order to die, because God doesn’t die. And because He was the unique eternal Son of God He could suffer infinitely. His humanity made His sacrifice possible and His deity made His sacrifice of infinite value.

The author of the poem “Immanuel” is unknown but every line is precious.

Like man He walked
Like God He talked
His words were oracles
His works were miracles
Of man, the finest specimen
Of God, the true expression
Full-orbed humanity
Crowned with deity
No taint of iniquity
No trace of infirmity
“Ecco Homo,” behold the man
“Ecco Deus,” behold thy God
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail incarnate deity

No person ever lived who was so dependent on His God and Father as the Lord Jesus Christ. No gospel writer portrays this as much as Luke and in so many different circumstances. Luke records the Lord Jesus praying 10 times and eight of these times are only recorded by Luke. The first five incidents in which we read in Luke of the Lord Jesus praying are all recorded by Matthew and Mark, but only Luke tells us that He prayed on each of those five occasions. Luke is drawing attention to our Lord’s humanity when he records Him as praying so often. So also is the writer of Hebrews in 2:13 when he quotes Christ, “I will put My trust in Him.”

Prayer contributes to the perfect picture of our Lord Jesus as the perfect man. He continually exercised this grace of true dependence. In every vicissitude He was engaged in prayer. Luke shows His perfect attitude in His prayer life. He presents our Lord Jesus Christ continually in intimate communion with His Father. Luke allows us to glimpse into that holy intimacy that existed between the Father and the Son.

It is no wonder that the chief priests with the scribes and elders said (when He was on the cross), “He trusted in God let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him for He said I am the Son of God” (Matt 27:43). Matthew is showing the fulfillment of Psalm 22:8, written 1050 years before Calvary. The religious leaders watched the Lord Jesus critically for most of His public ministry. They were hoping to find a flaw in His character but they could not do so. They could tell by His very deportment that He fully trusted God. Now they were taunting Him with their words. The implication was that the predicament that He was in now was inconsistent with such a life of trust.

The religious leaders knew of His trust. But they did not know their own Scriptures! For the next two verses of Psalm 22 (vv9, 10) show that He trusted God more than it is possible for anyone else. “But Thou art He that took Me out of the womb Thou didst make Me hope (or “trust” in RV) when I was upon my mother’s breasts. Thou art My God from My mother’s belly.” Even as a baby on the virgin Mary’s breast, He was consciously trusting God. No other newborn infant ever did that. He perfectly trusted God every minute of His life from His mother’s womb and He went through infinite sufferings and was still trusting God. We see this in His words in Psalm 22:1, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

Besides the 10 times that Luke’s gospel records Him praying, Luke gives us four verses that show that it was His habit to resort to places of solitude to pray. “And when it was day He departed into a desert place” (4:42). “And the apostles when they returned told Him all that they had done and He took them and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida” (9:10). “And every day He was teaching in the temple and every night He went out and lodged in the mount that is called the Mount of Olives” (21:37 RV). This verse refers to the last five nights before the night of His betrayal. “And He came out and went as He was wont (or, “as His custom was” RV) to the Mount of Olives” (22:39).

Every saint should cultivate the habit of prayer. It will help us to pray more effectively in a crisis.

– To be continued