December 17, 2016

Hebrews 7:24-25 But because Jesus lives for ever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

In some ways this might seem to be no more than a legal technicality about Christ, but as such things tend to be, it’s very important. Jesus didn’t just do His job and then go away, He is on the job for eternity. It’s not at all that He’s eternally on the cross, as you might think from crucifixes, but that, resurrected and glorified, He cares for us eternally and so takes our side, speaking on our behalf before the Father. As the Revelation to John and various other places in the Bible proclaim, He is indeed going to return to earth as King, but in the mean time He’s occupying Himself with us, interceding for us. A lot of people don’t have a good handle on just what intercession is. defines it as, “1. an act or instance of interceding. 2. an interposing or pleading on behalf of another person. 3. a prayer to God on behalf of another. 4. Roman History. The interposing of a veto, as by a tribune.” It’s that 4th definition that was active when this was written, and it spawned all the other meanings. We forget that because of our sins, we are under sentence of death. (Romans 6:23) When Jesus intercedes for us, He is saying, “I veto that sentence. That person is pardoned because of my blood sacrifice.” (Actually, we don’t understand the whole system of blood sacrifices very well either.) That’s where definition 2 comes in: Jesus took our place, so instead of the punishment and death that we have earned, we gain His life and everything that goes with it. That’s glorious!

I have benefited a great deal from definition 3, with many people from my parents onward praying for me. I certainly need to “pay that forward,” praying for others, but I must remember that all human intercession depends on that of Christ. That’s not at all a bad thing, because apart from the grace of God embodied in Christ, an individual human being’s request would be totally insignificant. The whole point is, that grace is indeed available and I must never forget it, both receiving it and applying it to others. I am to apply that grace not just to my spiritual children but to all, even those who “despitefully use” me. (Matthew 5:44) Intercession isn’t for wimps! The movie, War Room, brings that out. It takes real strength to intercede, but God will supply all the strength I need for the task, if that is my choice. When I am to be increasingly like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18) and He is constantly interceding, then I had better be doing likewise!

Father, thank You for this reminder, and for prompting me to pray for a rather disagreeable person in the middle of my writing it. Help me apply all that You say to me, acting as Your agent on every level so that indeed, your Name may be counted as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done in and through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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