Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Today’s Topic: Intercession
Today’s Text: Isaiah 53:12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
When I rose this morning I was still thinking about the wonder of my justification through Jesus Christ. When I got to the office to write today’s Connecting Point I was still thinking about it. There was maybe a little flesh being manifested when I wondered if anyone else really understood the magnitude and magnificence of what the Lord said yesterday about the sacrifice of Jesus. But whether or not they did, I did, and the Lord is deeply touching my heart with His grace.
Then I read for probably the 50th time in the last two months the last verse of Isaiah 53, and in a fresh way an old truth jumped out at me. Jesus was numbered with the transgressors – He became one of us!
I couldn’t help but think of the old Paul Harvey story of the birds. In case you don’t know it, here’s a link so you can listen to it. http://everydaychristian.com/blogs/post/9201/
Jesus, as God, became one of us so He could bear our sins and make intercession for us to the Father.
That got me to thinking about intercession – you know – when we go to God the Father and pray for someone else for their benefit. As I was contemplating that from the perspective of Jesus making intercession for us, the Lord put a clear thought in my mind – True intercession requires total identification.
This was the case with Jesus, who now sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes with Him on our behalf. Romans 8:34 says, Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. That is amazing – Jesus constantly talks to the Father on our behalf. In fact, the apostle John says Jesus is our advocate, defending us to the Father even when we sin. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)
But we must acknowledge that He is qualified to do that because He first totally identified with us in every way. The book of Hebrews states this clearly for us. Take the time to read and absorb these precious truths:
- For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:17-18)
- Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Jesus is able to intercede for us because He identifies with us. He identified with our sin. He identifies with our suffering. He identifies with our needs. He identifies with our circumstances and experiences. Therefore He can intercede on our behalf to the Father. He does this through His indwelling Holy Spirit. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27)
Just think, our intercessor not only knows us completely, but also knows the heart and mind of God completely. He identifies with both, which makes Him the perfect intercessor and able to meet our every need. That’s what Romans 8:28 means when Paul says, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Besides the huge blessing I have received from the truth of Jesus as my intercessor, there’s a huge challenge in this for me when it comes to how I pray for others. Can I really say I am interceding to the Father on behalf of someone if I have not first identified with the person for whom I am praying? Can I truly be interceding if I do not fully, as much as is humanly possible, identify with the Father’s heart for that person? How would my prayer life be changed if I really identified with others when I promised to pray for them?