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Psalm 51:1-171NIV New International Version Translations
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. 14 ave me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

clip_image073Background2Wesley’s Notes

A psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him after his affair with Bathsheba. David prays for pardon, ver. 1, 2. Confesses his sins, ver. 3 – 5. Prays for renewing grace, ver. 6 – 14. Promises unfeigned thankfulness, ver. 15 – 17. Prays for the whole church, ver, 18, 19.

Biblical Truths

Verse 4 – You only – Which is not to be, understood absolutely, because he had sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah, and many others; but comparatively. So the sense is, though I have sinned against my own conscience, and against others; yet nothing is more grievous to me, than that I have sinned against You (God).

Your sight – With gross contempt of You, whom I knew to be a spectator of my most secret actions.

Justified – This will be the fruit of my sin, that whatsoever severities You use towards me, it will be no blemish to Your righteousness, but Your justice will be glorified by all men.

Speak – Heb. in Your words, in all Your threats denounced against me.

Judge – When You execute Your sentence upon me.

Verse 5 – Surely – This is not only sin which I have reason to bewail before You; for this filthy stream leads me to a corrupt fountain: and upon a review of my heart, I find, that this heinous crime, was the proper fruit of my vile nature, which, ever was, and still is ready to commit ten thousand sins, as occasion offers.

Verse 6 – Truth – Uprightness of heart; and this may be added; as an aggravation of the sinfulness of original corruption, because it is contrary to the holy nature and will of God, which requires rectitude of heart: and, as an aggravation of his actual sin, that it was committed against that knowledge, which God had wrote in his heart.

Verse 7 – Hyssop – As lepers, are by thy appointment purified by the use of hyssop and other things, so do You cleanse me a leprous and polluted creature, by Your grace, and by that blood of Christ, which is signified by those ceremonial usages.

Verse 8 – Joy – By Your spirit, seal the pardon of my sins on my conscience, which will fill me with joy.

Rejoice – That my heart which has been sorely wounded may be comforted.

Verse 10 – Create – Work in me a holy frame of heart, whereby my inward filth may be purged away.

Steadfast – Heb. firm or constant, that my resolution may be fixed and unmovable.

Spirit – Temper or disposition of soul.

Verse 12 – The joy – The comfortable sense of Your saving grace, promised and granted to me, both for my present and everlasting salvation.

Willing – Or, ingenuous, or liberal, or princely. Which he seems to oppose to his own base and illiberal and disingenuous and servile spirit, which he had discovered in his wicked practices: a spirit, which may free me from the bondage of sin, and enable me cheerfully to run the way of God’s precepts.

Verse 14 – Your righteousness – Your clemency and goodness.

Verse 15 – My lips – Which are shut with shame and grief.

Verse 16 – Not … sacrifice – This is not to be understood absolutely, with respect to David’s crimes, which were not to be expiated by any sacrifice.

Verse 17 – A broken spirit – This is of more value than many sacrifices.

Items for Discussion

  • What is David actually doing here? Hint: Is he negotiating with God to be easy on him? Is he providing us with a true example of a repentant soul?
  • How do you define repentance?
  • Can you think of some modern examples of a poor repentant attitude?
  • How do we teach others to be repentant?
  • Is the world tolerant of repentance?
  • How is one’s belief in God and faith tied to their ability to be repentant?


John 17:6-19
6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.


Jesus prayed these words knowing that crucifixion would follow with the coming sunrise. The words are part of his final words, and final words have a history of being intense, focused and passionate. They were proceeding to the garden of Gethsemane. It adds much to the interest of this prayer that it was offered in the stillness of the night, in the open air, and in the peculiarly tender circumstances in which Jesus and his apostles were. It is the longest prayer recorded in the New Testament. It was offered on the most tender and solemn occasion that has ever occurred in our world, and it is perhaps the most sublime composition to be found anywhere. Jesus was about to die. Having expressed his love to his disciples, and made known to them his last desires, He now commends them to the protection and blessing of the God of grace. This prayer is moreover a specimen of the manner of his intercession, and evinces the interest which he felt in behalf of all who should become his followers in all ages of the world, who are in the world, hated by the world, yet up to the task (read “sanctified”) of doing mission with joy and hope.

Biblical Truths3Barnes’ Notes

Jesus prays for His disciples:

  1. to keep them in unity,
  2. to keep them from the evil one, and
  3. to sanctify them through the Word of God.

In His prayer, Jesus also provides several reasons to the question of why God should grant his petition.

    1. Notice Jesus’ words in verse 6:
      1. “…the men whom You have given Me out of the world.”
      2. “They were Yours, You gave them to Me…”
    2. Think about the following observation:
      1. The Father is possessor of all humanity as the Creator.”
      2.  “The Son by gift from the Father possesses the believing portion of humanity as its Redeemer.”
    1. They kept His Word – Jn 17:6b
    2. They knew that all things God gave Jesus came from God – Jn 17:7
    3. They received the words Jesus gave them, and believed He was sent by God – Jn 17:8
    1. Jesus’ prayer was for those who were both the Father’s and the Son’s – Jn 17:9-10a
    2. The Father would naturally have a similar concern for the disciples
    3. For they are not only the Disciples of Christ, but children of God!
    1. Jesus was glorified in His disciples – Jn 17:10b
    2. He is glorified when sinners become saints, for it is only by His blood and transforming power that such is possible
    3. If Jesus’ petition was not answered, then Jesus would not be glorified!
    1. Jesus was going back to the Father, leaving the disciples on earth – Jn 17:11
    2. He had preserved them all while on earth, save Judas as foretold – Jn 17:12
    3. Now leaving them, He wanted them to have His joy fulfilled in themselves – Jn 17:13
    1. Because they are not of this world – Jn 17:14-15
    2. Just as Jesus was not of this world – Jn 17:16
    3. Following Christ had put them at odds with the world!
    1. As Jesus was sent into the world by His Father – Jn 17:18a
    2. So Jesus was sending His disciples into the world – Jn 17:18b
      1. A world which hates them
      2. A world which rejected the Son of God
    1. For their sakes, He was willing to sanctify Himself – Jn 17:19a
      1. To set Himself apart for a holy purpose (the meaning of sanctification)
      2. Which He did by presenting Himself as the Lamb of God, to offer Himself for the sins of the world – cf. Jn 1:29
    2. That His disciples might also be sanctified by the truth – Jn 17:19b

Items for Discussion

  • What do we learn from studying how Christ prayed?
  • How does prayer help us in our world today?
  • Does Jesus still pray for us today?
  • What interferes with our ability to pray like Christ prays?
  • What are the benefits of public prayers?
  • Why should we also pray in private?

Discussion Challenge

  • How can our church advance the cause of prayer?
  • 1
    NIV New International Version Translations
  • 2
    Wesley’s Notes
  • 3
    Barnes’ Notes