SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
June 8, 2008
Christ is the High Priest Who Makes Intercession for Us
Key Verse: He [Christ] is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. – Hebrews 17:25
Famous baseball pitcher Orel Hershiser lacked confidence in himself until he started playing for Tommy Lasorda, the manager of the Dodgers. Lasorda called Hershiser aside one day and got in his face. Hershiser tells about this life-changing moment in his book, Out of the Blue.
Shouting at Hershiser, Lasorda said, “You don’t believe in yourself! You’re scared to pitch in the big leagues! You’ve got good stuff. If you didn’t, I wouldn’t have hired you. I’ve seen guys come and go, son, and you’ve got it! Be aggressive. Be a bulldog out there. That’s going to be your new name: Bulldog. With that name, you’ll scare the batters to death! Starting today, I want you to believe you are the best pitcher in baseball. Look at that hitter and say, ‘There is no way you can ever hit me.’ ”
What you believe about yourself makes a powerful difference. If you think of yourself as a poor sinner struggling to be a Christian, you will live like a poor sinner always harassed by Satan. You will experience defeat after defeat instead of victory after victory.
But what if you began to think
differently about yourself? What if you started thinking of yourself the way
God thinks of you? Look at what the Bible says about you once you receive Jesus
Christ as your Savior. You are a child of God, a son or daughter of God. You
are a saint, a citizen of heaven, set apart to live as a holy
If that is not enough to light your fire, think of this: Jesus Christ, the eternal High Priest of God, is constantly praying for you! Jesus is alive forever and he is interceding with God for you! He is not merely praying for the Pope, the Bishops, and important Christian leaders; he is praying for you!
If, as James reminds us, the prayer of a righteous person has great power (5:16), then imagine how much more power the prayers of Jesus have! Jesus is not only God with us (Emmanuel), he is God praying for you. Jesus knows everything about you and loves you in spite of your sins, and he is constantly interceding for you before the throne of God.
The old covenant with the Jews has been replaced by a new covenant. The blood of animals has been replaced with the blood of the Son of God. In the past many priests made many sacrifices on our behalf. But in the fullness of time Jesus has made with his own blood the one sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. God has made Jesus the great High Priest. As such he is the guarantee of your inclusion in the new covenant. Jesus, your High Priest, “continues forever” and his priesthood is “unchangeable.”
Here is how The Message describes what Jesus is doing for you:
Earlier there were a lot of priests, for they died and had to be replaced. But Jesus' priesthood is permanent. He's there from now to eternity to save everyone who comes to God through him, always on the job to speak up for them. (7:25)
The New Living Translation says it this way:
Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
What an encouragement that is – to know that no matter what is going on in your life, Jesus is always there for you! He hears your cries for help and he presents them to the Father on your behalf. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Andrew Murray has written brilliantly of the “great work of intercession.” Intercession is the most important “work” that Christians can do. Jesus is our example. He ever lives to intercede for us and he inspires us to intercede for one another. Pause to reflect on those persons who have been advocates and intercessors for you. It brings tears to my eyes to recall even a few of the friends who for years have called my name in prayer. No doubt you can name many who have gone to their knees in earnest prayer for you, interceding for you in tough times. Give thanks for each one! Resolve to become a more faithful intercessor for others.
The eternal Christ empowers us to live as priests in our homes. What a difference it makes to our children to know that their parents and grandparents intercede for them at the throne of grace. We cannot spare our loved ones the painful consequences of their behavior but we can plead with God to grant them help, hope, and healing.
When as an intercessor you stand in the gap between God and hurting people, you are imitating the great work of our Lord who “always lives to make intercession” for you. Give him praise, honor, and glory! And think of yourself as “more than a conqueror” because Jesus is interceding for you. You are not a bulldog like Orel Hershiser but you are a strong prayer warrior for Christ. His prayers for you are not wasted. He is continually renewing your hope and replenishing your strength so that you can complete the work he created you to do!
Be done with negative thinking! Come boldly daily to the throne of grace. Your High Priest is able to save to the uttermost! He understands your weaknesses. Receive the mercy he is ready to give you. Embrace the grace he offers to help you in every time of need. Live and love boldly for the Son of God intercedes for you! Glory!
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