Category: Prayer

If Jesus is God, then why did He pray to Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane?

If Jesus is God, then why did He pray to Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane?

Recently on Facebook, a gentleman asked me this question.

His question, who was Jesus praying to?  Very good question… I liked it. And far after you and I are gone scholars will debate this. So…here is what I know.

Since the Bible affirms that Jesus is God, it is often perplexing to note that Jesus addresses God in prayer.  The answer is found in an understanding of the Trinity; 1 John 5:7, Romans 1:20, Acts 17:29, Colossians 2:29 (by the way, you will only find that teaching in the King James Bible).  Jesus is the second person of the Trinity.  We also know from John 1 that God (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us.  Jesus was fully God and fully human.  In His human form He was separated from the Trinity…and therefore needed to pray to God the Father (1st Person of the Trinity). 

Jesus is completely human, but He also has a divine nature.

GOD
He is worshiped (Matthew 2:2, 11; 14:33; 28:9)
He is prayed to (Acts 7:59; 1 Cor. 1:2)
He was called God (John 20:28; Heb. 1:8)
He was called Son of God (Mark 1:1)
He is sinless (1 Peter 2:22; Heb. 4:15)
He knew all things (John 21:17)
He gives eternal life (John 10:28; 17:2)
The fullness of deity dwells in Him (Colossians. 2:9)

MAN
He worshiped the Father (John 17)
He prayed to the Father (John 17:1)
He was called man (Mark 15:39; John 19:5).
He was called Son of Man (In the Greek it is like saying, Hey Dude) (John 9:35-37)
He was tempted (Matthew 4:1)
He grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52)
He died (Romans 5:8)  — HE WAS RESURRECTED!
He has a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39)

As a man, Jesus needed to pray.  When He was praying, he was not praying to Himself but to God the Father.

I hope this is helpful my friend. May God bless you as you…as WE try and understand His message to us.

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Keeping the Sabbath

Keeping the Sabbath

Rev. Kevin R Airrington
October 22, 2010

The 4th commandment tells us to keep the Sabbath Holy.  All through scripture we see this command.  Many Christians who love God, sort of hang their hat on this commandment.  And, there is nothing wrong with this, in fact, God bless them.  Jesus said if we love Him we would keep His commandments.  Although, He probably was not just speaking about the 10 commandments found in Exodus.   (John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”)  Christians that try and truly “keep the Sabbath” as we understand it, are really saying, “I LOVE YOU JESUS.”  Who can argue with that?

No Sabbath Day holder would ever disagree with the following statement, “The primary purpose of the Sabbath is for us to rest from our worldly labors and to seek God.”  As an avid student of the Creation account and the Bible in general, I can assure that God was not tired after is creation work was complete.   *God set aside a special time for His people.  We will discuss the last sentence in more depth later.  God blessed the Sabbath and sanctified it or set it aside for a holy purpose.  We are commanded to set aside time for a holy purpose.

In this essay, I would like to discuss why I chose to not go to church on Saturday and I do not honor some of the traditions surrounding the Sabbath.

  • *The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.
    1. Mark 2:23-28 “… The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
    2. Isaiah 58:13-14 The Sabbath was intended to be a delight, not a burden. The focus of the Sabbath should be on what we can do and not what we cannot do. (More on this later)  The Sabbath is a time we put down our own desires and spend time with God.
  • When is the Sabbath?
    1. Leviticus 23:32, “It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” This scripture is clear that on the 9th day of the month from evening to evening we should celebrate our Sabbath.   Is this every Saturday?  According to this passage it may not even be on Saturday to begin with.
    2. Saturday in Hebrew is Shabbat, which means rest.
      1. Except for the Sabbath day, the individual days of the week have no names, just numbers.
    3. When God created the heaven and the earth, there were no calendars. Thus, no way to tell us when the first day of the week was.  Perhaps He may have begun on a Wednesday and ended the following Monday.
    4. It is only from our tradition that we assume that God started His creation process on Sunday and ended on Friday.
    5. Rabbi Yose ben Halafta (Died in 160AD) changed the Jewish calendar. So even the Jewish calendar cannot be relied upon.
    6. Exodus 20:8-11 “remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.” “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

I THINK IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE DO NOT LET THE “DAY” BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE “INTENT”.  Don’t let the “day” become more important than the “intent”.

From Scripture there is no way we can tell when the Sabbath was.   Even from outside evidence all we know is in the Hebrew it means “rest” not specifically what day of the week it is.    We cannot simply compare it to our weekly calendar and say, “well, we are not complying”.

  • In today’s modern society it is impossible to keep the Sabbath.
    1. I am sure that, “Sabbath Holders have run into this before and have their answer. Which is fine, but I cannot get away from what the scripture says.
    2. Exodus 20:10, “But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:”
      1. If you use lights, gas, eat food or do anything that causes anyone else to work then you are not keeping the Sabbath.
      2. If your dog fetches your paper or your slippers you are not keeping the Sabbath.
  • There are other activities that the Bible tells us to refrain from in order to keep the Sabbath.
  • Going to Church…Worship on the Sabbath.
    1. Luke 4:16 is an example and Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves.
    2. We should go to church on the Sabbath and we need fellowship, uniting in worship and prayer.
    3. Today, it takes electricity to run the lights…causing people at the light company to work. If we flush the toilet then we cause the person at the water company to work.
  • What did Jesus do with the Sabbath day?
    1. While nowhere in scripture can we find an example of Jesus preaching on the 4th commandment, given He preached on the other 9, we do find examples example as in Luke 4:16 where Jesus entered into the Tabernacle on the Sabbath.
      1. This is different that “Keeping the Sabbath”. He did go to “Church”, showing us as in number 4 above that we need to be in church on the Sabbath.  Nothing more could or should be read into this.
      2. JESUS PREACHED ON ALL 10 OF THE 10 COMMANDMENTS EXCEPT THE 4TH COMMANDMENT, THERE IS NO PREACHING ON THE SABBATH BY JESUS.
        1. Jesus was clear in His teaching of the Sabbath, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath!”  He also proclaimed that HE WAS LORD OF THE SABBATH.  Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:28, Luke 6:5
        2. Isn’t someone who created something the owner of it?  Can’t they do whatsoever they please with it?  In this way, Jesus, being the Creator (John 1:3; Colossians 1:6), has every right to do whatever He pleases on the Sabbath, just as anyone of the disciples had when they were with Him.  That’s why Jesus said that He was Lord of the Sabbath.  The word Lord denotes sovereign rights and ownership so who can tell Jesus what He can and what He cannot do on the Sabbath?  Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of the day because they were making the Sabbath something that no one could possibly
    2. Matthew 12:5-6, “Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?…” Jesus was saying that even though the priests violated the Sabbath it was okay because there was something more important than the Sabbath.  The temple and the sacrificial rites were more important.
      1. Jesus, however, is more important than the temple and its sacrifices. The logical conclusion is that he is also more important than the Sabbath. Even before his death and resurrection, he was more important than the Sabbath.
      2. Although Christianity tends to reject the temple and the rites…the principle is still the same…”Some things are more important than the Sabbath.
  • The Pharisees needed to worry more about Jesus (The Holy One) instead of a holy activity on a holy day.
  1. Jesus then summarized his argument about the Sabbath and about his own identity: “If you had known what these words mean, `I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (verses 7-8).
  2. Jesus is telling the Pharisees that love for humans is more important than sticking to worship rituals.
  3. The Sabbath was holy only because God had designated it so, and here was God himself telling them He was Lord of the Sabbath.
  • Then they tried to set Jesus up in (V9-11). Healing on the Sabbath was work that was for forbidden.  Jesus replied, “If your sheep fell in a hole would you not get him out?”  Meaning, sometimes we have to do things even if on the Sabbath.  If your child drank a bottle of bleach…would you take him to the emergency room on the Sabbath?
  • There are other examples of Jesus healing on the Sabbath in the Gospels.
    1. John 5:1-18 — The Gospel of John has some additional stories about Jesus’ Sabbath activities, and they reinforce the emphases we have already seen. On the Sabbath, Jesus healed a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. And he told the man, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” (verse 8). The Jews accused the man of breaking the Sabbath because he was carrying his mat.
      1. I think accusing a man of breaking the Sabbath by carrying his mat his mat is an example from God’s Word of how we can get carried away with (no pun intended) our keeping of the Sabbath.
    2. Jesus risked His life by His activities on the Sabbath.
      1. Jesus never broke the Sabbath, nor did he teach others to break the Sabbath. But neither did he teach against circumcision and sacrifices. He could point out administrative problems, and present himself as the Lord, but it was not yet time to publicly reject any particular law (see John 16:12-13). But the implications are there.  When John describes Jesus as working on the Sabbath, he does not feel compelled to explain that Christians cannot. When Luke says that people are freed on the Sabbath, he does not feel compelled to qualify what he said. Jesus’ example regarding the Sabbath is liberty, not rules.
      2. If Sabbath work actually dishonored God, then the Sabbath would have priority over humans in need and sheep in pits, since correct worship of God is more important than human lives and sheep. If absolute rest were essential to worship, then Sabbath-keepers should let houses burn down, since that would only be a monetary loss, and God’s honor is far more important than our material goods. This indicates that the command to rest on a specific day is a ceremonial matter rather than a moral one. God’s spiritual law does not have any exceptions.

Summary

The only time Paul mentions the Sabbath by name is when he exhorts us not to judge one another concerning the Sabbath days (Colossians 2:16-17).  Respectfully, asking if I keep the Sabbath or I conform to the Sabbath is the wrong question.  I wonder how Jesus would have responded to that?  His answer may have got Him stoned.

The Sabbath was made for man and not the other way around is perhaps the most profound statement in this whole discussion.  God created the Sabbath for man…and God healed on the Sabbath and partook in other activities on the Sabbath.   Jesus’ example regarding the Sabbath is liberty, not rules.  What a blessing the Sabbath is.

There is also no way we can determine the exact day or days (sometimes it is plural) of the Sabbath.  There was no calendar when the Sabbath was created by God.  Even the scriptures seem unclear; calling it day, days and the 9th of the month.  My thinking is the “day” is not so important as is the “intent”.

The Bible says that we are not to cause others to work, not even strangers on the Sabbath.  There is no one…not one who can “keep the Sabbath”.  If this is all there is to the Sabbath.  There has to be more to the intent than a day or whether we do some work.

We see from the Apostles, the early church and Jesus (God) that the Sabbath is going to Church.  We also see in the same breath this is for fellowship, worship and prayer…not forsaking the assembling of one another.

Finally, we have Jesus’ own actions concerning the Sabbath.  Jesus did not (and this is not meant to be a mockery) hide in his house from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown.  He worked on the Sabbath and he went to Church on the Sabbath.  He even rebuked the Pharisees over the Sabbath telling them there were more important things like the Temple and people than the Sabbath.  Jesus is Lord over the Sabbath!

The Sabbath is very important to me as a Christian.  We need to just as the scriptures demand; keep the Sabbath Holy.   We need to set aside time for God.  Sundown to sundown…frankly, I don’t think this is enough.   The intent has got to be more important than the day.   I have joked with my Seventh-day Adventist friends saying, “I am a seven day Adventist” meaning, I try to keep every day holy.   However, I am like Paul; I am not judgmental on how anyone cho oses to honor the Sabbath.  If it is sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday…God bless them.  If they do this Wednesday…God bless them.  If it is Sunday morning in Church…God bless them.

I think we should be in worship and in church.  The point is we need to give God or time and that time needs to be holy and hollowed.  After all, He took the time to come down from Heaven, was beaten, tortured and murdered for us.  He deserves our worship; more worship than we can humanly give.   God wants more than our Saturdays.  He wants our Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays too!

Copyright © 2010 Kevin R. Airrington, Airrington Ministries

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