The Intercessory Work of Christ and of Prayer
Memory Verse: 1Peter 5:7
Prayer: That we might remember what Christ did for us in the garden and on the Cross for our salvation.
Key Verses: Isa. 53:10-12; Acts 17:31; Rom. 8:26-27; Heb. 1:1-3; Heb. 4:14-16;
We seek to consider one of the most important facts in the world, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us...” (Gal. 3:13). Every word is pregnant with precious meaning. We were under a death penalty without hope either in this world or the world to come (Rom. 6:23; Ez. 18:20; Gal. 3:10), but Christ came (Matt. 27:46; 1Pet. 1:18-19; Heb. 10:12-14) and hath redeemed us. Christ became the mediator between God and man (1Pet. 2:24,25; Isa. 53:5,6; 2Cor. 5:21). Like sheep we were going astray and could not come back on our own. But bless God, the great shepherd has come to find and return each one of His lost elect lambs. We see in Heb. 1:1-14, the great salvation that Jesus Christ has provided in becoming the mediator between lost man and a holy God.
Jesus Christ is the central figure of the world’s history. Really, history is His story. The history of the race since its inception has been the history of the preparation for His coming. The Old Testament foretells His coming in type, symbol, and direct prophecy. The history of His people Israel, is a story of expectations, of yearning, or preparation. The Word of God is the basis of Christianity. That Word is Jesus Christ. The Bible is the written word, Christ is the incarnate Word, the two together comprise the Living Word. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into this world (Gal. 4:4) by human parentage (Matt. 1:18). He was born of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary (Isa. 7:14, 9:6). Jesus Christ got His legal right to the throne, of His father David, through His step-father, Joseph (Matt. 1:16; through Solomon, Jer. 22:28-30), and He got His physical right to the throne through his mother (Luke 3:23). Jesus must be the actual seed of David to inherit the Davidic throne but as this could not be, since He did not receive seed from Joseph, the kingly line came to Jesus through Mary (her seed, Gen.3:15) from her ancestor David through Nathan, and not to Joseph from David through Solomon.
Judaism tracks much of it's lineage through the mother's line. In fact, that's the only way a Jewish person can guarantee that he/she is really Jewish. Matthew traced Jesus’ lineage through the legal parent, Joseph, his step-father; thus establishing Jesus' legal right to being the Messiah. Luke’s account traces Jesus back through the line of Mary which goes back through David's son Nathan. This establishes Jesus natural line of descent. Luke 3:23 states furthermore that Jesus himself, when he commenced his work, was about thirty years old, being the son, as the opinion was, of Joseph, the son of Heli,
The fact is well known that our souls as well as our bodies come from our parents. Personality is begotten, part of which is body and soul; the rest is spirit which comes from God (Gen. 2:7). The incarnation of Christ is a mystery incomprehensible to the finite mind; how that in the virgin birth the divine and the human were united (Matt. 1:23; Lu. 1:35; Jn. 1:14).
As the son of man Jesus Christ was subject to the ordinary physical limitations of human nature, such as hunger, thirst, weariness, pain and death. He exchanged his sovereignty with the Father for subordination in becoming one with man. He made Himself of no reputation when He humbled Himself to come into this wicked world (Phil. 2:5-8). Christ emptied Himself not of His deity nor of His attributes, but simply of the outward manifestation of His deity and the independent exercise of His attributes.
Some of the most important attributes that we notice about Jesus Christ while He lived, walked and worked among men were:
· Love (Eph. 3:17-19, 5:25; Jn. 15:9,12; Rom. 5:6-8)
· Meekness (2Tim. 2:24-25; 2Cor. 10:1; Jn. 21:15-17; Lu. 23:34)
· Humility (Zech. 9:9; Matt. 11:29; Jn. 13:4-5; 1Pet. 2:23)
Christ is the One who was “wounded for our transgressions.” What a glorious mystery. Even in His humiliation and incarnation, He manifested the glory of the Father (Jn. 1:14). He claims omnipotence in Matt. 28:18, omniscience in Jn. 2:24,25, and omnipresence in Matt. 28:20. These are all the attributes of God alone, so that we are driven irresistibly to one of two conclusions: either Jesus was indeed what He claimed - God come in the flesh, or else He was a fraud, a super-egotist, and a madman, for He claimed what no mere man could be. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life as a man. He never sinned, He never was late, He never forgot to pray, He never failed to witness, He was never anxious, He was never in a hurry, His life was always in the center of God’s will so that in John 17:4 He could say, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”
The “Office work” of Christ is threefold, that of Prophet, Priest and King. But He does not hold these offices conjointly but successively. His prophetic work extended from creation to His crucifixion. His priestly work extends from His crucifixion to the rapture of the believers. and His kingly work from His revelation at the close of the Tribulation period, until He surrenders the Kingdom to the Father (1Cor. 15:24-28). He is not in the office of King of Kings now, but He will be soon.
Christ’s present work is that of a High Priest. He is now “tarrying within the veil.” As the High Priest (Heb. 9:1-10) entered through the veil into the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement, to present the blood of the sacrifice and make intercession for the sins of the people, so Jesus entered into the “Holy of Holies” of the Heavenly Tabernacle when He ascended and passed through the veil of the cloud and disappeared from earthly view (Acts 1:9; Heb. 4:14, 7:11-28, 9:24). Heaven, not earth, is the sphere of Christ’s priestly ministry. A priest is a mediator - one who intercedes with a just God on behalf of guilty sinners (Lev. 4:16-18). The scope of the Old Testament priesthood was three-fold. First to offer sacrifices before the people; second to go within the veil to make intercession for the people; and third, to come forth to bless the people. As the great high priest, our Lord fulfills these three functions -- reconciliation, intercession and benediction.
There is much for our learning and edification in the study of the Old Testament sacrifices and ceremonies of the Tabernacle and Temple services. These things did not make the offered perfect, or they would not have ceased to be offered. Christ fulfilled all the types and symbols of the Old Testament (Heb. 10:1-10). Having, as our High Priest, taken His own blood within the veil, Jesus still tarries engaged in His High Priestly work, and will continue to tarry throughout this “Great Day of Atonement,” and at its close He will lay aside His High Priestly robes and come forth in His Kingly dress of “Glory and Beauty” to rule and reign in Kingly splendor.
As Christ is our mediator, He is also our advocate (1Jn. 2:1). The sinner does not need an advocate, he needs a Saviour. If Jesus is our advocate, then what is He our advocate for? Not for sin, for that was atoned for on the Cross. He is our advocate for the sins we commit since we became a Christian, since our sins have already been forgiven. There is a vast difference between a “Sinner’s Sins” and a “Believer’s Sins. We are sons, and when we sin we must be chastened to bring us into closer fellowship with the Father (Heb. 12:5-11).
As a child of God it is our blessed privilege, through the merits of Christ, to come boldly to the throne of Grace and pray and talk to our Heavenly Father (Heb. 4:14-16). Our problem is that all too often we are guilty of prayerlessness. We fail to use our heavenly privilege and grow weak and cold and thereby hinder the work of the church. Christ is waiting to hear from us and He has sent the Comforter (Jn. 16:7-14) to help us in our praying. We can be delivered from prayerlessness because it is one of the blessings of the New Covenant, so ask God for help (2Thess. 5:17; Jn. 16:24). Prayer power will bring the more abundant life (Jn. 10:10) which is the result of that overflowing life. Live in the word and you will have victory in Christ (Phil. 4:13), “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”