When we enter Holy Week our thoughts are on the cross and the sacrifice Jesus made for us all. One of our Lord’s actions during the night before His crucifixion serves as an example for us to follow. He prayed.
The Gospels teach us that prayer was a habit of the Lord. In Luke 6 we read of a night spent in prayer before Jesus chose the twelve disciples. We read of his withdrawing to pray in Mark 6 before Jesus walked on the water. As the Lord faced opportunities and challenges He spent generous amounts of time in solitude, talking with the Father.
Jesus prayed during the hours that followed the Last Supper. Our Savior’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane is recorded in John 17. One of the most noteworthy topics of his prayers for believers to consider today is the prayer Jesus made for unity. “‘I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’” (John 17:23)
Unity among the believers had a purpose. It was evidence of God’s love through sending the Son into the world to die for our sins. For us to achieve this as an answer to our Lord’s prayer that night is challenging! Believers may decide to not talk about certain things so we will not be in opposition. The church may determine to avoid working through potentially divisive matters, but wouldn’t it be better to simply focus on Jesus and obey his teachings?
Jesus taught us to seek first His Kingdom. It takes us out of the position of driving hard for what we want, and cause us to earnestly aim for the Lord’s truth and plan. When we’re about the task of making disciples rather than making ourselves happy, we’re in tune with Jesus and his priorities.
In his classic work, The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer makes the issue even more clear.
“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.”
Rich spiritual fellowship will most certainly follow when we focus on Jesus. Let’s be tuned to Him, this Holy Week, and every week!
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com