The Disciples Learn How To Pray – Part I

Eyewitness: p. 146
Eyewitness Stories: Matthew 6:5-8; Luke 11:1,2
The Message: Matthew 6:1-6
In Your Bible: Matthew 6:5-8; Luke 11:1,2

Jesus’ disciples heard that John the Baptist taught his disciples how to pray. Jesus guided them, “When you pray, say something like this. . . ” (Luke 11:9a Eyewitness Stories). The disciples learn how to pray.

Not a Public Performance

Jesus said, “Be careful not to do your good deeds publicly so others will admire you” (Matthew 6:1a Eyewitness Stories). He taught the Twelve not to act as the hypocrites did in the streets and synagogues specifically to be seen.

Where to Pray

A bit of misunderstanding may be found here. Some Scripture states Jesus said . . . “when you pray, go into your inner room [or closet some versions state], close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6 NASB).

I feel better wording here better comes from Eugene Peterson. Jesus says, “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” (Matthew 6:6 The Message).

Purpose of Quiet Prayer with God

Jesus often went alone and away from the disciples to pray. So today’s versions that mention a closet or inner room for prayer doesn’t seem comparable. The point is:

  • Be alone and quiet with the Father
  • Acknowledging his grace to forgive, his power and majesty
  • Come into his presence and let him into your entire life

Model Prayer

Yes, there are differences between the Matthew and Luke versions here. However, it appears that it was not the design of Christ that we should be tied to these specific words in prayer – this was a model! * Yes, the disciples learn how to pray.

Prayer: Father, thank you for this scaffold of prayer. It helps me focus on how awesome you are and my position in you.

Questions: As part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talked about “how not to pray.” How does this affect how you pray? How important is the time of day you pray?

* Matthew Henry Commentary,

The Agenda For Rejoicing

Eyewitness: pp. 137-138
Eyewitness stories: Luke 10: 1-24
The Message: Luke 10: 23,24

Jesus selected disciples to go to every town he planned to visit. The first are recorded in the Gospels of Matthew 10; Mark 6; and Luke 9. In these three Gospel chapters he sent his closest 12 disciples. Then it’s recorded in Luke 10, that Jesus sent an additional 72 disciples out too. They told people in these towns the good news, that the kingdom of God is near. Yes, the agenda for rejoicing

Sent Ones

Just as he had done before, Jesus gave all of them direction and authority to meet needs, heal the sick, and more. The direction (do what I [Jesus] tell you to do) and authority (Power in his Name) are key.

Message Received

When the disciples returned on each occasion, they rejoiced over their miraculous power over the evil one. Jesus corrected them. He pointed to the value of their task – their power to bring people into the Kingdom of God.

“The great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you — that’s the agenda for rejoicing” (Luke 10:19,20 The Message).

Bringing people into the Kingdom is the believers’ continual task. Jesus emphasizes that the messenger of the Gospel is also blessed . . .”Rejoice because citizenship in heaven has been recorded” (Luke 10:20b Eyewitness Stories).

True Blessing

Jesus then turned to his disciples privately. “Fortunate the eyes that see what you’re seeing! There are plenty of prophets and kings who would have given their right arm to see what you are seeing but never got so much as a glimpse, to hear what you are hearing but never got so much as a whisper” (Luke 10:23,24 The Message).

In a wonderful manner, many more people had the opportunity to know the agenda for rejoicing.

Prayer: Father, what a wonder you are! You use all willing believers’ of any age to bring your message to those who do not know You.

Questions: What differences do you see in these accounts of sending disciples out and their return with joy differ? How do you think the ministry of the 86 disciples impacted the Kingdom of God Imagine yourself as one of these 72 disciples.

Decisions Made with the Father

Eyewitness: pp. 134-136
Eyewitness Stories: John 8: 13-29
NLT: John 8: 17,18
The Message: John 8: 12-30

As Jesus taught in the Temple, the Pharisees challenged his authority. They claimed he lacked a second witness. Then they were disarmed by this truth: He said boldly stated . . . “My decisions are made with the Father” . . .(John 8: 16 Eyewitness Stories).

Two Witnesses

Jesus said, “Even though I speak for myself, my testimony is still true . . . You judge from a fleshly perspective, but I do not judge like you. My judgment is true because my decisions are made with the Father who sent me” (John 8: 14-16 Eyewitness Stories).

The Pharisees objected [to what Jesus claimed], “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on” (John 8: 13 The Message).

Jesus made more shocking statements to the Pharisees to validate himself. “Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other” (John 8: 17,18 NLT).

Joy in Pleasing God

The Jewish leaders were really confused by Jesus’ defense. They knew they had him in the outlandish claim everyone heard – calling God his Father.

Jesus then said, “I’m not making this up, but speaking only what the Father taught me. The One who sent me stays with me. He doesn’t abandon me. He sees how much joy I take in pleasing him.” When he put it in these terms, many people [hearing him] decided to believe (John 8: 28b,29 The Message).

Jesus restated, his entire existence is to please the Father and his decisions are made with the Father.

Prayer: Father, stay with me as you did with Jesus. I want to be in the wonder of your Presence.

Questions: When was the last time you chose let your own words defend you? Did you need a witness? How can we as believers take joy in pleasing God? This should be our wholehearted task. How do we make it possible?

Compassion For A Sinner

Eyewitness: p. 133
Eyewitness Stories: John 8: 1-11
NIV: John 8: 3-5
The Message: John 8: 6

In the account of the woman caught in adultery, we see the craftiness of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. They tried to trick Jesus into a position against Mosaic Law. Instead, Jesus points them to their own sin and challenged the woman to change her ways. Truly, Jesus’ shows compassion for a sinner.

The Law was Clear

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees . . .and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8: 3-5 NIV).

Writes with His Finger

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him (John 8:6 The Message). Much has been preached on when Jesus stoops down and writes on the ground with his finger. Today we may still wonder what he wrote.

Bible scholars * give insight here:
* Jesus bent down, to avoid seeing the lustful eyes of the accusers
* Later manuscripts (Armenian New Testament Translators) suggest that Jesus writes the sins of the men accusing her

How Did Jesus Treat The Woman

Jesus’ approach to this woman involved much more than what we see on the surface.

Again Bible Scholars * help here:

  • He gave her a chance to redeem herself
  • Jesus showed the power of forgiveness
  • He confronted her with a challenge to lead a sinless life

Jesus shows compassion for a sinner.

Prayer: Father, thank you for showing me your life-giving compassion even when I am guilty and know it.

Questions: What goes through your mind when you read this woman was caught in the act of adultery? Does your thought process immediately convict her? How is Jesus’ compassion for this woman different?

The Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of John, Volume 2, William Barclay, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1956, pp. 2-10.

Scriptures from: BibleGateway,com, John 8:1-11.