What is an intercessor? If you’ve heard or used the phrase “standing in the gap,” you
likely already have a good idea of all that an intercessor can be. Intercession is
simply the act of praying on someone else’s behalf. It is a means of intervening for them.
When we intercede in prayer for one another, it often starts from a place of
empathy—seeing and even feeling the pains of those we love, and being moved to pray on their behalf for some good to come of it, or for relief to result.
Jesus, then, is such an illuminating example of intercession.
In Isaiah, it was written that “he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (53:12). In Romans, we read that Jesus “is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (8:34). And in the gospels, there are such striking examples of His doing this for His disciples:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”
When I ponder these verses, which precede Peter’s denial of Christ, I wonder what would have happened had Jesus not prayed for Peter’s faith. Would Peter have gone into a state of deep despair over his failure, just as Judas did over his betrayal of the Messiah? Or would he have denied his feelings as well as Christ, choosing instead to go fishing, and never returning to join the other disciples?
We don’t have to find out, because Jesus did intercede for Him.
This puzzled me, though; if the Lord was able to successfully intercede for Peter, why didn’t he do the same for Judas?
As I asked this question in prayer, His response seemed simple enough:
The Lord loves those who love him and those who despitefully use him. I know the motives of the heart, and I know who will turn and whose heart is hardened.
Which led me to my next question: “Then whose hard hearts can be softened?”
His Intercession is Our Hope
I grew up in New York City in the 1950s, and as a kid, I remember how the streets would literally melt during a heat wave. This allowed us to take a bottle cap, scoop up some of the asphalt and fill the cap so that when the tar hardened it became a disc that we could flick with our fingers at our chosen targets. I remember the name of this game as “skullsies.” (Of course, a Google search brings up numerous other variations on its name).
So when the Lord gave me a picture of the streets of New York under the hot sun of the summer, it didn’t surprise me that His next words were:
If I can buckle the streets of New York, I can soften even the hardest of hearts. Your job is to ask.
I ever live to make intercession and I am before the Father continually. I orchestrate the circumstances so that people will be more open to receiving my Holy Spirit and hearing the words of truth. I loved Judas as much as I loved the other disciples, and wanted him to make the right choices, but his heart was corrupt and did not see the truth until too late. I stand ready to advocate for all.
These words resonated with me, and reminded me of what the author of Hebrews writes in chapter 7 about Jesus’s role as a priest. He lays out the following facts about His priesthood:
- That Jesus is a High Priest like no other “not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life”—meaning, because He lives forever! That alone means that He has power, and is willing and able to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:16).
- That His priesthood gives us “a better hope…by which we draw near to God” (Hebrews 7:19).
- That “Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant” than any priest who came before Him (Hebrews 7:22).
- That “because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood” and “always lives to intercede” for us (Hebrews 7:24-25).
- That Jesus is the equivalent of a heavenly Attorney General! He is the top lawyer in the land and has access to the highest court in the universe—to the Supreme Judge of All. However, unlike an earthly AG, He can never be replaced (Hebrews 7:23)!
Therefore, whenever we are contemplating an appeal to God, let us remember these three important truths about Jesus, our Intercessor:
- He lives forever.
- He truly meets our needs as a priest because He is sinless and sacrificed for our sins once and for all.
- He has continuous access to the God of Mercy because He is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He is Our Advocate
Returning to my prayer with Him, the Lord completed His instruction:
If I do not plead for you, who will? I am your Advocate; you need an advocate because you have an accuser. When you agree with the accuser, you give his words power. When you agree with me, you give Me power. Who better to advocate for you than me? I love you with an everlasting love, and I have loved you from the beginning. I am seated at the right hand of the Father and I can whisper into His ear whenever I need to. Though He knows what you need, He desires for you to come before us and present your petitions, the desires of your heart. We long to spend time with you. We long to have you sit at our feet and enjoy Our love!
I ever live to make intercession for you, so draw near to me, and I will draw near to you. My Holy Spirit is constantly wooing you and drawing you to Me; do not resist. Give into My love and come to Me.
The importance of My intercession is this: you have someone who is before the Father day and night for you. When you can’t draw near for any reason, know that I am near to Him and still representing you, even when you cannot represent yourself.
Know that I am always, ALWAYS, on your side.
Ask anything that is in My Father’s will, and I will give it to you. He delights in your delight; He joys in your joy. I exhort you to be bold in your petitions. Don’t hold back.
How comforting it is to know that we have as our champion someone who can melt the hardest hearts, and who is always looking out for our good! If nothing stood in the way of your heart truly grasping and believing that, how would it change the way you live and pray?
Let us be bold in our asking, expecting to receive more than we could ask and think because of the nature of Jesus, our Intercessor!