Summary: You may have heard this term before but were not sure what it meant. In the simplest of definitions it's praying for someone else or on someone else's behalf. We should be interceding to help others both in our everyday lives and in our prayer lives.
INTRODUCTION: You may have heard this term before but were not sure what it meant. In the simplest of definitions it's praying for someone or on someone's behalf. When we intercede for someone we are advocating for them. Intercession happens in life. If someone we know is in trouble and we try to smooth things over with the one they're in trouble with we are interceding for them.
If someone we know doesn't have good standing with a person or group but we do, we intercede for them since the person or group would be more willing to listen to us than they would the person we're interceding for. This type of thing actually happened in the bible regarding Paul.
Paul had recently been converted but the memory of his former life of persecuting Christians was still very fresh. When he arrived in Jerusalem, Paul wanted to be accepted into the company of believers but they were skeptical, thinking he was there to arrest Christians. But Paul had an advocate in Barnabas. He interceded to the Apostles on Paul's behalf, vouching for his transformation. They listened to Barnabas because they knew his character and they considered him to be wise enough to determine if Paul was truly a changed man or not.
Therefore, the purpose for intercession is to cause favor to be shown to the party we're interceding for. Interceding shows that we care; not just about the person but also about establishing peace. Being a successful intercessor shows our character and good standing. When we are able to persuade someone because they trust our judgment we show ourselves to be respectable and honorable (like Jabez that we looked at last week).
Being an intercessor needs to be evident in our prayer life also. We should be interceding to God on behalf of others because there was someone who intercedes to God on our behalf. His name is Jesus
1) Jesus intercedes for us.
Under the old covenant, the advocate for the people was the priest. He interceded on behalf of himself and the people for their sins. And once a year the high priest was allowed into the innermost part of the temple, the Holy of Holies to meet with God and intercede.
But now, under the new covenant, we have a new advocate, Jesus. 1st Tim. 2:5 says that there is one mediator between us and God-Jesus. The prophecy of Isaiah 53:12 says that Jesus made intercession for the transgressors. We were separated from God because of our sin. And we could not take care of it ourselves-we needed Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross to pay our penalty he made a way for us to be reconciled to God. So when we accepted what Jesus did for us he advocated to the Father on our behalf and the Father accepted Jesus' intercession.
But it didn't stop there. Jesus continues to be our mediator; he continues to be our intercessor. In Romans 8:28, Paul encourages us by saying that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose which is to be conformed to the image of Jesus.
He continues his encouragement in vs. 31-34, "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? 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."
Did you catch the present tense of the word? Interceding, not interceded. Jesus continues to intercede for us. Paul goes on from there encouraging us to understand that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. It's such a comfort to know that no matter how bad life gets we still have Jesus interceding on our behalf. Whenever we sin Satan, the Accuser, tries to accuse and condemn us. But we are comforted to know that Jesus is overshadowing any accusation by his finished work on the cross that paid for what we did.
1st John 2:1-2, "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."
The goal is to not sin. But if we do, we're not doomed. God doesn't entertain Satan's finger pointing. I can see Satan before God when we sin saying, "Look at what he just did. He calls himself one of yours. What do you have to say for him now?" Jesus defends us by showing God his hands and feet saying, "my blood has covered him. He is clean." And try as he might, Satan has no answer for what Jesus has done to redeem us.