Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Sunday, January 17, 2016

DJD117 - A Prayer of Life and Death

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Scripture: 

Luke 23:24

Starting Question:

What is the most important thing you have ever prayed for?

A Prayer of Life and Death

Two men, separated by hundreds of years, marched willingly to their deaths. Both stories are told in the Bible. One in the Old Testament. One in the New. 

Both were promised by angels.
One used this to prove he was special.
The other chose to live a humble life.

One did everything his parents told him not to do.
The other followed His Father’s instructions perfectly.

One died to bring death.
The other to bring life.

One brought hell to his enemies.
The other brought Heaven.

One made up riddles about himself.
The other fulfilled scripture about Himself.

Both had super-human strength.
One used it for himself.
The other used it for everyone else.

The last moments of Samson’s life were spent planning how he could, once again, kill as many people as possible. He had killed hundreds in his life, with his death he killed thousands. Judges says he killed more in his death then he did during his life. 

Samson had been blinded by his enemies for the many things he had done against them. When they shaved his head to remove his strength, they gouged out his eyes to remove his vision. They thought this would stop him. But, his hair grew back and his vision for killing his enemies also achieved a new height. 

They brought him out as entertainment during one of their religious festivals. As they all stood inside and on top of the temple to Dagon, Samson asked for his hands to be placed on the supporting pillars in the centre of the temple. They were drunk. Samson was  sober. He prayed for strength and pushed with all of his might. And the pillars collapsed. And the building imploded. And everyone died.

Jesus also prayed before He died. But, his prayer was very different. He looked down at the men who had just nailed him to a cross and saw them playing a game - to win His clothes. And he prayed, “Father forgive them because they don’t understand what they’re doing.” 

His prayer wasn’t just for the soldiers at the foot of the cross. It was for the men hanging with Him. And the people watching from a distance. And those who couldn’t bear to watch. And others, like you and me, who were not even born yet. “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”

And then Jesus died. 

But, unlike Samson’s story, Jesus’ prayer brought life, not death. The building didn’t collapse.  The world didn’t come tumbling down. In fact, things got better. In the death of the one man, Jesus, the Scriptures were fulfilled, The Father’s plan was finished, The Devil lost his power, Hell was defeated, death lost its sting and the doorway to Heaven was thrown open. 

And everyone was invited in.

Reflection Question:
How can we show forgiveness when we are treated badly? What prayer can we say?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?