Who Intercedes? (Part 4)
Sometime Minister of Whitebbey Presbyterian Church, N. Ireland
William Rogers M.A., L.L.D.
‘But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.’
For What does Christ Intercede? If we are absolutely certain to get everything that Jesus asks for us, and it must be so, for Him the Father heareth always, how interesting the enquiry – Can we find out what Jesus asks for?
His intercession in Heaven is just a continuation of His intercession on earth. This being so, we have no difficulty in finding out what He has set His heart on getting for us.
1) Forgiveness. Does He really, moment by moment, ask for me, forgiveness? Can you doubt it? He looks on that mob that crucified Him and He says, ‘Father forgive them’. How much more does the Lord Jesus ask forgiveness moment by moment for every one that looks to Him? When the wrath of God was kindled against Israel, Aaron took his censer and offered incense and the plague was stayed.
But Jesus expressly says, ‘If any man’ and child of God, ‘sin we have an Advocate with the Father’. That is just the moment I am sinning, that moment, Jesus, the Great High priest is saying, ‘Father, Forgive’
If I ask forgiveness, I may doubt I get it, but if with the eye of faith, I see Jesus asking it for me, I have got the blessing – Forgiveness is mine.
2) He asks for us faith. ‘Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.’
Many a timid one venturing on the Christian life is afraid to launch out into the deep, and says, ‘I fear I shall fall away, I am afraid of the temptations, I’ll not be able to keep it.’ Oh believer, knowest thou not thy standing in grace every moment is due to this, Jesus is every moment praying for thee?
Look up, oh believer, Jesus is praying for thee this moment, praying that thou mayest have faith, strong faith, increasing faith and shall not our faith grow exceedingly, for Him the Father heareth always.
3) He asks for our holiness. What is the burden of the prayer of Him who prays for us? Sanctify them through thy truth. The deepest desire of the heart of Jesus is that we may be holy, holy in thought and word and deed – this is the very keynote of His prayer.
When I look in, I feel discouraged. The heart seems to be growing harder and harder, viler and viler. But no prayer of Jesus ever failed. God will hear Him. God does this very evening hear Him. Therefore as I look up and hear the voice of Jesus praying that I may be purified and made holy, I know that even at this moment, grace is flowing into my soul and that stream will broaden and deepen until I shall be filled with that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.
What bright prospects of present holiness the intercession of Christ opens to our view.
You can’t fail to get a blessing if you look to Jesus, your Great High Priest, who has set His heart upon your holiness.
4) Heaven. ‘Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.’
We speak of the perseverance of the saints, meaning that a believer can never finally fall away. In other words that every one that believes in Jesus will at last be found in Heaven. But on what ground does this doctrine rest? On the perseverance of Christ. It is not so much the perseverance of the saint as the perseverance of Christ.
The believer is as sure of Heaven as if he were already there. Why? Because no one can be lost for whom Jesus prays, ‘Father I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with Me where I am.’
Timid, trembling, doubting believer, thou mayst safely, calmly leave thy case in the hands of Jesus. His prayer for thee is, ‘That you may be with Him where He is.’ And Him the Father heareth always.
5) Our Prayers. Revelation 8:3,4: ‘And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.’
No prayer ever goes direct to God. It passes into the hands of Jesus. What is wrong in it, He corrects. If it is for God’s glory, He puts His name on the back of it. Now it is no longer my prayer, but the prayer of the Great High Priest, Him the Father heareth always. I find a wonderful encouragement to prayer, a wonderful assurance that prayer will be answered, in this truth: that Christ presents in His own name every prayer of mine, that is for God’s glory. I know that even now, whatever Jesus asks of God, God will give it Him. Christ prays for the Holy Spirit to be given us.
Believer, Christ spreads out before God thine every want, temptation, danger. Consider the Apostle and High Priest of thy profession, touched with a feeling of thine infirmities.
In prayer fix the eye on Christ’s intercession, a word from Him is more than all angels’ pleadings.
Surely thou wilt get a new departure in thy Christian life, thy heart will be enlarged with the expectations of such blessings as thou hast never yet experienced, if thou dost study the intercession of the Great High Priest, and keep looking to Jesus.