Thursday, October 29, 2009

REVIEW: The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus

Deffinbaugh, Robert L (Bob). The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus: Part 1 (John 17:1-5), 2004.

Available: http://bible.org/seriespage/high-priestly-prayer-jesus-part-i-john-171-5.

Reviewed by Christopher L. Sanchez, MBA, Seminary Student.

Focusing on the first five verses of what many refer to as “The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus”, Deffinbaugh begins a commentary series on John 17. These first five verses focus on the relationship between Jesus and his Father ultimately pointing to God’s Glory. Deffinbaugh uses eight observations (as he calls them) to illustrate his position concluding that every action of the Christian should serve the sole purpose of bringing Glory to God.

Deffinbaugh employs many passages of Scripture is illustrate his points giving the reader a great deal to consider. The conversational nature of Jesus’ prayer to the Father points Christians of our day toward the intimate relationship that Christ enjoyed with the Father and we too may enjoy. The second and third points are interesting where Deffinbaugh points out the link between Jesus’ prayer in John 17 and the Upper Room discourse earlier in John and the author’s own linking of our Lord’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. The importance of prayer is strongly reinforced and supported a great deal of Scripture.

After spending a great deal of time on his first three points, Deffinbaugh moves more quickly through the next four observations then again slowing to expound on his notion that the glorification Jesus has requested is accomplished by means of the cross of Calvary. Here the author uses more than ten Scripture references in support of this point explaining that through the entire process, God’s plan was unfolding according to His plan in His time.

Deffinbaugh concludes by pointing out the lessons to be found in the various prayers of Jesus and this prayer in particular. The principle lesson being the Glory of God and that the purpose of history is for God’s Glory. Prayer need not be lengthy though there is certainly nothing wrong with long prayers. Deffinbaugh reminds us that even Jesus’ more lengthy times of prayer as recorded in Scripture are rather brief.

Deffinbaugh uses a great deal of Scripture to illustrate each of the points he makes in this article. So much so that the seminarian who invested the time to thoroughly unpack each point further was surely edified by the study. Deffinbaugh demonstrates his many years as a minister of the Gospel and teacher by clearly laying out each well-supported point and challenging his readers to dig deep into God’s word. An admitted fan of word studies, I do believe that Deffinbaugh could have rounded out his observations by including a more thorough study of the word Glory as used in the Hebrew and Greek. While such a study could certainly have been equal in length to the article itself, it need not be to further assist the reader in more clearly understanding how Jesus meant it and how the Jews of the day would have understood Jesus’ words. Still, Deffinbaugh’s easy to follow writing style is a joy and is certainly profitable for his readers understanding of the first five verses of John 17. It is my sincere desire to read more of Deffinbaugh’s work posted on Bible.org.

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