Staff Corner - Pastor Greg Spires
In Luke 5:12-16, we read about an encounter that Jesus had with a man who had leprosy. This man didn’t just have leprosy; he was “full of leprosy.” Jesus touched the man (which was scandalous). More importantly, though, the man was immediately healed. Jesus told him to keep the healing to himself, but that was impossible. This report spread among the people, and soon Jesus found Himself amid “great crowds.”
Since Jesus' work was public ministry, most would assume that the crowds were a sign of great success and significance. Jesus, it seems, had “gone viral” in His day. With these crowds, He could leverage His influence to get His message out to the most people possible. Right?
Matthew 5:16 reads, “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” This verse is intended to be an intentional contrast with the great crowds. While it would be assumed that crowds were a sign of success, they were not for Jesus. Surprisingly, Jesus’ efforts throughout the Gospels show a desire to limit crowds as He did not find them useful for His work. The work of redemption does not require fame.
So, what did Jesus seek? Prayer.
In Luke 6:12, we find another time when Jesus prayed. Luke 6:12-13 read, “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles.”
Again, Jesus is seeking His Father in prayer all by Himself. He does so all night as He anticipates naming His disciples the next day. The first thing we should notice is how much Jesus depended on the Father. He wanted to do the Father’s will, and prayer was the only way to do it. Second, we should pay attention to how we evaluate His prayer’s effectiveness. After praying all night, He still chose Judas, the betrayer, as a disciple! We are reminded then that prayer is powerful because it is the way God’s will is worked out. Prayer is not primarily a means to get what we want to make life easier or avoid problems.
We have seen several things to think about concerning prayer on these occasions. But there is one more worth mentioning. How big of a deal is prayer if Jesus could not accomplish the Father’s will without it? It is a big deal. There is value in being willing to humbly consider how we might see prayer in the same way Jesus did.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in several passages as we consider what the Bible teaches about Prayer.
Praying with you,