The Johannine Epistles (Day 5)

picAs I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have been completely “Geeking Out” over this whole 1 John class (you could say I’ve been “Greeking Out”), so my friend Dave Torres and I decided to get a picture with Dr. Yarbrough to for street cred on the heights of our “Geekiness” Smile.

Today’s class was much the same as yesterday’s. We opened up 1 John in our Greek New Testaments and kept working our way through it. One of the passages that we looked at was 1 John 3:21-22 – “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him; because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” As we reasoned through the text Dr. Yarbrough pointed out that many believers will despair upon reading a text like this, because on face value it seems to promise that whatever you ask in prayer you will automatically receive. The despair sets in when you ask for something, especially something good like the healing of a child or for a friend to get saved, and that doesn’t happen. One is left wondering how John can make a statement like this when God’s answer to prayer is often times “no”.

Dr. Yarbrough pointed out that it’s important to remember that we can’t allow ourselves to use only one verse to develop our theology of prayer. We must look to the whole of John’s writings to find out what all he believes about prayer. One of the most important tests for any theology of prayer is the “Gethsemane Test.” It’s easy to forget that Jesus prayed for something in Gethsemane (to be spared the agony of the cross) and that His request was denied. We must also put our theology of prayer through the “Judas Test”. Jesus wrestled with God all night in prayer when he chose the 12 disciples and he still chose Judas who would betray Him. The point is that God doesn’t always give us what we ask for in prayer, what He gives us in prayer is Himself. You see, prayer is not about getting something from God it is about communion with God. Certainly part of that communion is a reasoning with God in prayer, even a wrestling with God in prayer. We are to enter the throne room of God with boldness to make our requests known to Him, but at the end of it all we are to follow Jesus example in Gethsemane where he prayed “Not my will but yours be done.”

Friday is the last day of class for me as I’ll be heading back up to Cool in the afternoon. I’ve been especially blessed to sit under Dr. Yarbrough for these past few days and revisit the book of 1 John. But all good things must come to an end and it is definitely time for me to get back home.

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January 11 2013 05:57 am | Johannine Epistles

One Response to “The Johannine Epistles (Day 5)”

  1. Roxanne Stokes on 11 Jan 2013 at 9:30 am #

    Now this is a powerful message! Prayer IS more than asking and receiving, it IS about the relationship. Thanks for this reminder.