Re: Jn 14:14 / Acts 7:59; Prayer to Christ

Date: Sat Feb 21 1998 - 23:06:33 EST

Dear Paul,

<< That seems resonable. Particularly when praying to Christ became
>commonplace. Regarding Acts 7:59, I wonder how we should take
>EPIKALOUMENON. Should we take it as equivalent in some sense to
>PROSEUKHOMAI in Matt. 6:9 and elsewhere, or
>is it used in a sense similar to Acts 25:11, 21, 25?
<< The significant difference, of course, is that in Acts 25 Paul is
 appealing to Caesar on earth, while in Acts 7:55 Stephen has just been given
 glimpse of heaven where Jesus is standing at the right hand of God the
 Father (Acts 7:55).>>

Well, why is that a significant difference? Also, it doesn't say he was at the
right hand of God the Father, does it? It just says "God."

<< Regardless, that Stephen calls upon Jesus to receive
 his spirit suggests an essential equality of Jesus with God the Father
 (cf. Lk 23:46 where Jesus Himself calls upon His Father in a similar
 situation). >>

Of course, EPIKALEW is not used in Luke 23:46, and in Act 7:59, as with the
use of EPIKALEW in Acts 25, the object of both Stephen and Paul is visible.
This is not the case with Luke 23:46. The fact that Stephen visibly saw Jesus,
and given the dire straits he was in, certainly makes his appeal appropriate.
But I fail to see how this appeal to a visible being constitutes a "prayer."
If I was in mortal danger, and if I saw Jesus at God's right hand, go ahead
and assume I am going to appeal to Jesus! Also, I don't see how such an appeal
involves "an essential equality of Jesus with God the Father." But, you do,
and that's alright with me.

<< It seems only if Stephen viewed God the Father and Jesus as
 essentially both equally QEOS (here we go again) would he request of
 Jesus the same thing Jesus requested of His Father. Otherwise, why not
 imitate Jesus completely, and direct his request to the Father?>>

Well, in Jesus' case I could ask you a similar question: If the Father and the
Holy Spirit are both equally THEOS, then why did Jesus appeal to the Father
and not the Holy Spirit in Luke 23:46? Still, I think the fact that he saw
Jesus at God's right hand, and the fact that those nearby began to stone him
on account of his claiming to have seen the one they had put to death, then
his mind naturally focused on the one (Jesus) at the center of the controvery
(and the main figure in his speech), the one Stephen knew would raise him from
the dead, Jesus, hO ARKHGOS THS ZWHS.---Acts 3:15; compare Acts. 5:31 TOUTON
Thank you for your insights.

Greg Stafford
University of Wisconsin

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