And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, Lord…
We have here a simple illustration of the silent involuntary influence of our Lord. One of His disciples had observed Him praying, and struck with the grandeur and sweetness of the act, he asks to be taught how to pray. Without a commandment but by the power of His example, He influenced His disciple.
I. IT IS A REAL INFLUENCE THAT OF EXAMPLE. He who is most a child of God in faith, hope, and love, is most of a king for God over himself and over others, wielding an irresistible power, and gaining widest triumphs.
II. EXAMPLE OF THE INFLUENCE OF EXAMPLE. You see it in Christ in this incident. Teach me to pray, said the disciple; but he had more than half learned the lesson when he had looked on Christ praying. The evangelists never pause to extol the life of the Master. To tell the life was best to praise it. On the way to the cross, Jesus does not recommend patience — He is patience. On the cross, He does not speak of love — He is love as He never was before.
III. THE APPLICATION OF THIS TRUTH.
1. TO those who need encouragement. Some feel much the uselessness of their lives — no money, little knowledge, or eloquence. But you are not useless if you are true to what is pure and gentle and brave — true to Christ. Influence is not the less powerful because it is silent.
2. This truth speaks to those who need warning. Remember that no one lives to himself. The influence of selfish aims, unregulated tempers, illiberal gifts, goes forth where you little think, and does evil you would dread to acknowledge. What a minister for evil the very presence of an unrevered man is wherever he goes. But if you come to Jesus, though with souls most feeble and most sinful, you may become through Him most magnetic and mighty for the highest issues and the widest influences.
(Dr. W. Graham.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.