Scriptures

If Jesus Is God, Does That Mean He Was Praying To Himself?

Introduction

It’s not my aim to prove the Deity of Christ in this study, although we will take a glimpse of His Deity, but here i want to to simply help us understand why Jesus prayed to the Father, even though He was God in the flesh.

The questioned posed here is a common question which some Christians struggle to understand or explain to others and it’s a question which other religious groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Oneness Pentecostals use to try and ‘prove’ that Jesus couldn’t have been God in the flesh.

The simple fact is that God is a Spirit, John 4:24, and Jesus was and is a physical being. So, while the two are one, John 10:30, they are also separate entities. Think of Jesus as the physical form of God.

‘The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.’ Colossians 1:15

When Jesus said that He and His Father are One, He was saying that though He has the form of a man, He also has the same divine nature as God the Father, this is exactly what Paul stated in Philippians 2:5-8. Jesus, therefore, has two natures, He is both God and man.

‘In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!’ Philippians 2:5-8

It’s clear from Paul’s words that while Jesus was on Earth, He put aside His Godly powers and made Himself only human, working through the power of the Holy Spirit, in submission to God’s will for Him, and praying to the Father for guidance.

He did this to give us an example of how we should live, working through the power of the Holy Spirit, in submission to God’s will for our lives, and praying to the Father for guidance.

Other’s knew Jesus was God

According to the New Testament there were several people who knew that Jesus was God in the flesh, the Gospel writer John knew that Jesus was God, John 1:1, the apostle Paul knew that Jesus was God, Colossians 1:15, the Hebrew writer knew that Jesus was God, Hebrews 1:3 and of course Jesus Himself knew that He was God, John 10:30 / Hebrews 1:8.

The Humanity Of Christ

Remember we’re speaking about the humanity of Jesus, as a man, He like the rest of us, got tired and hungry, He cried, He got angry, saddened etc, all these references speak of His humanity, that is Jesus being a real man.

Passages of Scripture which describe Jesus’ limitations are referring to His humanity. He lived His life as a true man, depending upon His heavenly Father day by day, just as we are expected to do. Even His miracles and supernatural knowledge were enabled by the Holy Spirit, not accomplished by switching back and forth between His divine and human natures.

Jesus was completely human, but He also has a divine nature, notice the following:

As God

Jesus is worshipped. Matthew 2:2 / Matthew 2:11 Matthew 14:33 Matthew 28:9
Jesus is prayed to. Acts 7:59 / 1 Corinthians 1:2
Jesus was called God. John 20:28 / Hebrews 1:8
Jesus was called Son of God. Mark 1:1
Jesus is sinless. 1 Peter 2:22 / Hebrews 4:15
Jesus knew all things. John 21:17
Jesus gives eternal life. John 10:28 / John 17:2
The fullness of deity dwells in Jesus. Colossians 2:9

As A Man

Jesus worshipped the Father. John 17
Jesus prayed to the Father. John 17:1
Jesus was called man. Mark 15:39 / John 19:5
Jesus was called Son of Man. John 9:35-37                                     Jesus was tempted. Matthew 4:1
Jesus grew in wisdom. Luke 2:52
Jesus died. Romans 5:8
Jesus has a body of flesh and bones. Luke 24:39

Why Did Jesus Pray To The Father Despite Being God Himself?

Like so much of Jesus’ life as a man He left us an example to follow, which includes praying, remember the disciples didn’t know how to pray so Jesus had to teach them how to pray, Matthew 6:10-14 / Luke 11:1.

While on earth He modelled dependence on God and that prayer is more important even than food or rest. God is our source of life and strength and hope and we must remain connected to Him, we must remain connected to God the Father through Christ. Jesus demonstrated this by remaining in visible fellowship with the Father.

‘Jesus humbled himself and took on the form of a man’. Philippians 2:8

‘For this reason, he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.’ Hebrews 2:17-18

Jesus was fully God and fully man and He left us an example of what we must do when we hunger, thirst, get weary and sorrowful, just like Jesus we should cry out to our Father in Heaven. It’s all about our relationship with the Father and Jesus gave us the supreme example in prayer, John 13:15.

Conclusion

As a man, Jesus needed to pray and when He was praying, He wasn’t praying to Himself but to God the Father. Jesus prayed to God the Father because it was an appropriate, natural, and essential part of His mission on earth. His prayers set an example for us grow in intimacy with our Heavenly Father.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

John 1:1

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