I have often written about how Christianity has idolized Jesus.
In many of the different sects within Christianity, he is considered not just the son of God, but God, himself, and as such, he is prayed to; he is asked for healing, and he is considered to be the one and only Savior.
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However, Yeshua never even implied any of this. In fact, throughout the Gospels, for every healing and miraculous act he performed, he gave the credit to either the faith of the person or to God the Father. Yeshua never took credit for any of the miraculous acts he did, and always gave all glory to God.
So, if Yeshua himself never took credit for what he did, and always gave glory to God, this is why I am wondering whether or not Yeshua actually hears our prayers.
If he is God, then he (obviously) hears them and answers them.
TIME OUT: Please do not respond arguing whether or not Yeshua and God
are one and the same because that is NOT the issue in this message.
If he is only the Messiah, sitting at the right hand of God (which is where Stephen said he saw him), and he takes our prayers to God, does he hear them before God does?
Is it possible Yeshua hears our prayers but God doesn’t? Wouldn’t that mean God only hears the prayers of those who do not accept Yeshua as the Messiah?
How about this? If we are to pray in Yeshua’s name, doesn’t that imply someone else is hearing the prayer? Isn’t that why we have to invoke the name of Yeshua, because the prayer is not going to Yeshua but someone else?
And who else could that be? Obviously, it is God, the Father.
Unless, of course, you are a member of one of the Christian religions that prays to saints. Now, instead of praying to the one who can answer our prayer, we are going to a retailer (saint), to bring it to the wholesaler (Yeshua), to bring it to the manufacturer (God).
This is why Jews could never be good Christians- we will never do retail when we have a direct line to the manufacturer.
In each of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John, Yeshua tells his disciples, in one way or another, that when they pray in his name, whatever they ask for they will receive. This seems to imply that Yeshua does hear prayers; after all, how can he assure their prayers will be answered if he doesn’t even hear them, right?
But he also says that the prayers will be answered so that the son can glorify the father, which means even if he does hear them, he doesn’t answer them; instead, he intercedes for us so that God will answer them.
Maybe we need to understand what Yeshua meant when he said to pray in his name?
In my quarter-century (plus) experience as a Believer and student of the Bible, I have found that the use of the word “name” throughout the Bible has been misunderstood by so many people. There are many, many times that God talks about his “name”, and the only time I can recall where he actually used the word “name” to mean his actual name, which for us would be what we are called by our friends and family, is when he talked to Moses at the burning bush. In Exodus 6:3, God told Moses that he appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai, but not as יהוה (the Tetragrammaton.)
Almost every other time the “name of the Lord” is used is not to reference the Tetragrammaton but in the cultural meaning of the term “my name”, which was not the word we use to identify a specific person but a reference to that person’s reputation and renown.
When God talks about his “name” or about others knowing his “name”, he doesn’t mean how to pronounce the Tetragrammaton, but who God is in relation to humanity: knowing his “name” is to know he is the God of Israel, he is all-powerful, and he is supreme. Knowing his “name” means knowing the wonders he performed and giving him the respect he deserves.
Now, when Yeshua says to pray in his name, is it possible he means the same thing that God meant? Is it possible that Yeshua never really meant for us to physically speak the words “In the name of Yeshua”, but rather because we are a believer in Yeshua that we are praying under his authority as the Messiah? Maybe we don’t have to actually pronounce his name? Maybe because we are one of his sheep, we are automatically praying “in his name”, i.e. under his renown and authority as the Messiah?
I don’t know. The more I try to understand this, the more complicated it becomes.
What I do believe, and (as always) this is what I believe from my understanding of the Bible and I am not telling you you have to agree, is that Yeshua is not the one we pray to or the one who hears our prayers: Yeshua is the Intercessor for our prayers, not the Interceptor of them.
And even though he is our Intercessor, that doesn’t mean he is in the loop- it means that as his, when we pray, we are praying in his name, i.e., under his authority as the Messiah.
Yeshua doesn’t have to handle our prayers as they go from our hearts to God.
I believe God is the only one who hears our prayers and the only one who answers them; when we pray in Yeshua’s name, it is telling God that we are one of Yeshua’s sheep, and as such God will give us, oh- how do I say this? – extra credit? Maybe our prayers get to go to the front of the line?
For whatever reason, when we pray in Yeshua’s name, God will do as we ask (so long as it is within his will) because it is what his son promised would happen. And by honoring his son’s promise, God glorifies himself, just the same way Yeshua glorified him every time he answered Yeshua’s prayers.
Praying in Yeshua’s name doesn’t mean he hears our prayers, and I also believe that whether or not we pronounce his name, God knows who we are and he knows what is in our heart, and he also knows we are Yeshua’s sheep.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt anything to say “In Yeshua’s name, I pray” because that is literally what he told us to do.
But if you ask me, I don’t think it is necessary to get God’s attention.
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Das ist alles for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!