FREEDOM (nb: not self-expression!) – session six

So that was a hectic semester, and unlike you – I didn’t even have assignments or exams! Now that we are in a study free zone for a few weeks, I wanted to post my final thoughts on prayer for microPrime, with some concluding reflections on the Lord’s Prayer which has been my main passage throughout (Matt 6:9-13 & Luke 11:1-4).  Like the rest, session six is a somewhat stretchy read, approx. 5mins.

I encourage you (& myself!) to keep making the most of God’s gift of access to him in prayer during these brief uni holidays, because our current ‘freedom’ from study is dimly reflective of the deeper liberation we enjoy because of Jesus, as seen in the Lord’s Prayer.

MORE EXodus allusions

Jesus just keeps piling up (in the last few petitions of his prayer) the exodus themes and motifs which I have been pointing out all along.  For example:

“Give us today our daily bread”:  alludes to the manna which was the daily staple food for the exodus generation. Just enough manna for every Israelite, no more than a day’s worth delivered each morning. God’s people from the beginning have at their best moments recognised and even delighted in their need of God’s sustenance and provision. Even Jesus lived this way of utter dependence! And that is ‘liberation’ for us – simply because it is true; self-control is delusion!

humble dependence is liberation, self-control is delusion

“Forgive us our sins” – while enslaved in Egypt, Israel was perhaps more sinned against than sinning, but her sins certainly came to light once God rescued her – again and again and again! And yet, incredibly, time after time, God’s righteous anger at their sin was also atoned for by his provision (often through Moses.) God’s people have always existed as an entity by God’s intervening forgiveness! In this prayer, Jesus is just underlining that again for us. Confession is never a dead end, but always the way to freedom because of God’s provision of atonement for our sin.

his rescue is not our right of passage to self-expression

“Deliver us from the time of trial”:  the wilderness wanderings of Israel were indeed a time of testing (40 years!) because they failed to initially trust God’s enabling to enter the land. At the same time, God did eventually deliver them (or the next generation of Israel at least) safely into the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Perhaps there is nothing more central to our experience of being God’s children than that we live under his loving discipline – so we experience both his chastisement and his bounty, his training and his generosity, his correction and his blessing, his rebuke and his deliverance. All from the same place – the good, holy, loving, powerful heart of God. Fleeing constantly to this God can be hard (he will ask more of you than you expect, his rescue is not our right of passage to self-expression), but also he is the only safe ‘place’ of rescue!

jesus is a new exodus for god’s people

And so by teaching the Lord’s Prayer in this way, with so many allusions back to the Exodus,  Jesus is also proclaiming a new Exodus not just through his work, but also – in himself!

  • Jesus is the true bread come down from heaven!  No wonder he hosted so many feedings, and was the guest of honour at so many parties. And promised at eternal banquet with him!  Thanks for being our daily bread Jesus!
  • Jesus is the means of atonement for sin!  Thanks Jesus that just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness to stop the plague, you were lifted up on the cross so that everyone who believes in you may have eternal life!
  • Jesus wasn’t ‘cotton-balled’ from temptation! Ever wondered why the demonic is so prevalent in the gospels? Because the full forces of hell were focussing their attention on Jesus and his kingdom establishing work!  Far from being protected, even though he too prayed for “another way”, yet he was handed over to the evil of the crucifixion, in God’s good plan for the sake of ultimate deliverance; both his own in resurrection and ascended glory, and so also for those of us who are now also hidden “in him” (by faith). Whatever trials and temptations we endure, Jesus has gone before us and paved the way. Thanks Jesus for being our pioneer – the author and perfector of our deliverance.

Deliverance, freedom, liberation, exodus, …. salvation! However you put it, let’s continue to live in what Jesus has achieved, by praying through these brief uni holidays for our ongoing essentials, confessing our sin, and asking for future rescue in the times of testing that will be coming our way next semester in Spring Session!

resources

We will be resuming a more dymanic and relational Prime in Spring Session, with some modifications to suit the moment we are in. I invite you to participate to contribute to and benefit from the Credo training community as we keep learning to give ourselves for Christ. Visit credo.org.au/prime right now!