Friday, November 16, 2012

Who Should We Pray To

The question has been asked, as Christians ... who should we pray to ... Jesus, or God the Father?  Does it really matter?  God, or (the Godhead) is made up of three distinct beings or persons, the Father, the Son (the Word) and the Holy Spirit.  The usual title of the Godhead, (referred to as the three in one) is the Trinity.

Let's first consider Jesus, as the Word, who would later become the Son of God.

John 1:1-2 says ... "In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.  He was present originally with God."

Before time itself became a reality, Jesus was with God as the Word.  In fact John's words ... "the Word was God" ... clarifies who Jesus was before He became man.

John 1:14 ... "And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us ..."

Truthfully, I find I have a small difficulty wrapping my mind around the fact that Jesus was ... let me put it this way ... normal human flesh as a man on the outside, while at the same time, He was God on the inside.  You could also say it this way ... Jesus was God just wrapped in human flesh.

Because theology, the study of God teaches that ... God cannot be less than He is ... even when veiled in human flesh; the writer of Hebrews 1:3 says of Jesus, "... He is the perfect imprint and very image of God's nature ..."

The Apostle Paul also makes a revealing statement about Jesus in Colossians 1:15 ... "He is the exact likeness of the unseen God, the visible representation of the invisible ..."

Jesus is the express image of God's person.  The word "image" in Hebrews 1:3 is not the same Greek word used in 1st Corinthians 11:7 where it says, "... man is the image of God ..."  The word image used of man in Corinthians ... "suggests" ... God, as our shadow suggests us.  In Hebrews, speaking of Jesus, the word image means that He is ... "visibly exactly" ... what God is in essence.

Jesus, being the express image of God, is why He could say in John 14:9 ... "He that has seen me, has seen the Father."  They are one in the same ... and no, I can't explain it, except to say that Jesus now has the resurrected, glorified body of a man forever, having willingly given up His former position in Heaven to become the Son of God.

In Hebrews 1:6, God the Father said, "Let all the angels of God worship Him," meaning Jesus the Son.  So from this I say, if God wanted His angels to worship Jesus, I do not believe it would displease the Father if we also worship and give praise unto His Son.

Notice what God the Father said to His Son in Hebrews 1:8 ... "Your throne, O God, is forever ..."  The Father called Jesus, "God."  And He is.

In Philippians 2:6-11, Paul makes this statement speaking of Jesus ...

"Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant, in that He became like men and was born a human being.

And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!

Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

What more can be said by anyone that describes the position or rank Jesus holds within the Trinity Godhead as well as the Apostle Paul has here?  Paul may have penned the words, but it was the Holy Spirit that was the author.

Concerning the question ... who should we pray to?

In Matthew 6:9, Jesus taught His disciples to pray saying ... "Our Father ..."  As Jews, the disciples were used to praying to God, but now Jesus introduced God to them as their Heavenly Father, which alludes to God as no longer being untouchable.  

Jesus also said in John 14:13 ... "And I will do [I Myself will grant] whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], so that the Father may be glorified in the Son."

Jesus, knowing He would physically leave this earth said in John 16:23, "... when that time comes, you will ask Me nothing ..." (since I won't be here personally) "... ask the Father in my Name ..."

I believe we are to pray to the Father, in the Name of Jesus.  But, we don't want to get all bent out of shape if we hear someone start praying to Jesus.  He is ... Lord ... you know.

The danger then is being caught up in legalism trying to follow all the man made rules of prayer and worship ... such as how to pray or when to pray.  What about our bodily position?  Do we kneel, stand, sit or pace during prayer?  Do we lift our face to Heaven?  Should we pray out loud or silently?

Do not get caught up in legalism.

The Apostle Paul addresses this subject in Colossians 2:4-22 ... (edited for clarity)

"I say this in order that no one may mislead you ... See to it that no one carries you off or makes you captive by so-called philosophy and intellectualism following human tradition ... Having cancelled and blotted out the handwriting of the note with its legal regulations, decrees, and demands ... Jesus set aside and completely cleared it out of our way by nailing it to His cross.

Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath.  Let no one defraud you by acting as an umpire over you ... then why do you submit to rules and regulations such as ... do not handle this ... do not taste that ... do not even touch them ... referring to things all of which perish with being used.  To do this is to follow human precepts and doctrines."

In all of Paul's letters to the churches, he mentions both, God the father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Here in Colossians, Paul singles out Jesus with the phrase "in Him" which he uses more than once.

"For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature]."

"And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead ... Father, Son and Holy Spirit ... and reach full spiritual stature].  And He is the Head of all rule and authority ..."

Have I answered the question ... "who should we pray to" ... to your satisfaction?  Honestly, I'm not sure it matters ... as long as you realize you are going to the Father through Jesus.   

I believe in the Godhead, the Trinity, the three in one.  But as I have said before ... the One I am trusting in and looking for is my Lord ... and His name is Jesus.  And that doesn't bother the Father or the Holy Spirit at all.  They don't have a problem with Jesus.  It's man that has the problem. 

Well ... some men do.

All Scripture References ... Amplified Bible.

Comments welcome.

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