By Robert Halsey Pine
This is Christ praying to God in the presence of His disciples:
“Father, the hour has come, glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you; since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him…I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.” (John 17:1-8 NRSV).
Imagine witnessing Christ praying for Himself and for us to His Father. Christ is God with us so in one sense He is praying to himself. God’s purpose in coming to us through His Son was to teach us about His nature and to show us His love and forgiveness. In order to do this He had to come as one of us so that we could understand and believe. We are very much children in God’s eyes.
God loves us and wants us to love Him so much that through Jesus He teaches us how to pray to Him. Jesus as God with us continues to teach us in so many ways as He did to His disciples. This giving and taking back of His children is a wonderful thing that God is doing with Jesus. We are God’s and He gives us to His Son whom He has sent to teach us His true nature. Jesus did His job with us for God and as a finishing touch died for us on the cross for our salvation. In doing this he delivers us back to His Father. And through the Holy Spirit we have a connection with the Father and the Son who is at His Father’s right hand.
Picture the mother or the father that puts their child to bed at night. The child is helped by the parent to say a bedtime prayer. Maybe something like, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” And there is always the “God bless grandma and grandpa, and mommy and daddy, and Buster (the dog).” Think about the little child’s world. It is so simple. And mommy and daddy are so important. Even though the parent must discipline the child, it is a discipline of love that the child can sense. How much does a parent love its child and how much does the parent want to be loved by its child?
In Matthew 18:1-7 (NRSV) we learn that the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” “He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’”
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.