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Jesus at prayer (Second part)

Luke’s prayer scenes … not only solidify Jesus’ relationship with the Father, but also serve as the arena in which Jesus’ status (and so, God’s purpose alive in Jesus) is revelaed to others. This is most evident in the context of Jesus’ prayers on the mount of transfiguration (9:28-29) and from the cross (23:34.46), and in Jesus’ self-affirmation as the one who reveals the Father in 10:21-24. Because Jesus is God’s Son, to overhear him in prayer is to encounter something of God’s character and purpose. This motif of disclosure may also be present in the account of Peter’s confession of Jesus as “the Messiah of God” in 9:18-20. Significantly, it was “when Jesus was praying alone”, that he asked his disciples concerning his identity. Luke thus casts the entire events as a prayer experience in which Jesus’ identity is disclosed. Similarly, the identity of the resurrected Jesus is revealed to Cleopas and his friend, not on the Emmaus road, nor even in scriptural exposition (though cf. 24:32), but in the blessing before the meal (24:30-31).

Prayer thus plays a significant role within the Lukan narrative. In scenes of prayer, Luke demonstrates in concrete ways for his readers Jesus’ exeperience of and relationship to God as God’s son. Moreover, Luke shows that something of the nature of God’s aim and of Jesus’ special relationship to God becomes evident to others in the context of Jesus’ experience of prayer. (From Joel B. Green, The Theology of the Gospel of Luke, Cambridge University Press 1995, pp. 59-60)

Simone Venturini

Scrittore

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