Can there be anything more encouraging than to know that, in our weakness, in our sin, in our struggle with temptation, in our doubt or despair, none other than Jesus Christ himself intercedes for us, and that that intercession really is effective? Moreover, Christ is not pleading passionately before a stony, reluctant God. Not a bit of it! He is the enthroned Priest-King whose will is exactly in line with the Father’s. So he asks whatever he wills from his heavenly Father (and ours) who always hears and always grants his request. He and the Father are one, so what he asks is what the Father is willing and wanting to grant. In fact, as has been said, “Our Lord’s life in heaven is His prayer.”
But what is the nature and content of this intercessory prayer, made on our behalf? We have a clue from two instances of Christ’s prayers when on earth, both of which took place on the same night, the night of his betrayal. To Simon Peter he said, “I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus had prayed for Simon Peter that his faith would be strong, that he would repent when he fell, and that consequently he would strengthen and encourage his brothers. Then John 17 gives us the prayer that is commonly called Christ’s high priestly prayer, where he prays for his disciples and for those who would believe through them. (That includes us!) He prays:
- for our protection from the evil one, and the full measure of his joy in us.
- that we may be “set apart” by the truth of God’s word.
- for a oneness that testifies to the incarnate Christ, and God’s love for the world.
- for us ultimately to share his glory, and continually experience God’s love.
So, by his intercession, “he is able to save completely those who come to God through him.” His work of salvation was completed on the Cross, but it is being continually applied from the Throne. F.F. Bruce wrote: “His once-completed self-offering is utterly acceptable and efficacious; his contact with the Father is immediate and unbroken; his priestly ministry on his people’s behalf is never-ending, and therefore the salvation which he secures to them is absolute.”
Warmest greetings in Christ,
Chairman, Saffron Walden Bible Focus