The Learning, Listening Life of Our Lord: Prayer as Preparation for Persecution

“The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned” (Isaiah 50:4).

Like the special features on your favorite DVD, the Old Testament gives the inner thoughts and habits behind the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  What the Gospel gives in summary, the Old Testament often gives in brief, but gripping detail.  Such are the mockeries at Jesus’ trials:

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:5).

Beaten, blindfolded and slapped, with spitting and taunts of “Prophesy, Christ!  Who hit You?”, Jesus was mocked by the Jewish rulers.  Then, after further injustice, a sentence to be crucified, and scourging at the whipping post, Jesus was again mocked–this time by the Roman soldiers, with a crown of thorns and “Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 26:67-68; 27:27-31).  In all, we hear nothing from Jesus’ lips, and know nothing of His thoughts; but in the recesses of the prophetic books, we find that Jesus endured such mocking with His face “set…like flint,” hoping in the vindication of God and turning not away.  What gave Him the strength to endure so flint-faced and steadfast?

Prayer.  Not just a ritual nor a mere routine, but a daily, morning-by-morning experience of listening to God.

How about you?  Are you ready to experience the persecution that is promised to everyone who will “live godly in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:12)?  Will you be confident that it is truly God who wants you to go through such a trial?  Apart from consistent, daily, listening prayer before God, it is doubtful you will have gained the trained ear of a learner able to discern the will of God in Gethsemane.  After all, Jesus sweat over His cup.  Was there any other way? Having discerned the answer, He “was not rebellious, neither turned away back” (Isaiah 50:5).

The listening life of prayer.  It is the only thing the church is called upon to be busy with (Colossians 4:2).

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