Throughout the scriptures God seeks an intercessor, someone to be His body, one who manifests Him to His world. An intercessor is one who stands between God and man. Many times the one for which you are interceding doesn’t even know what’s going on. Maybe this is the reason God has the one interceding to do it for them because they may be blind to their very own need at the moment.
The Apostle Paul was one such intercessor and he spoke often about it throughout his letters. In 1 Corinthians 6:17 he said, “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” In 2 Corinthians 4:12 “Death works in us, but life in you.” To the Galatians he groaned “My children, with whom I again in labor until Christ is formed in you” he also instructed us to “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”
In each of the Apostle Paul’s letters he tells us he prays that God would grant us wisdom and that we would come to know the fullness of our inheritance in Christ. He wants others to understand the depths of what Christ has done for us through the cross and truly receive all He offers us. He went through beatings, imprisonment, hunger, misunderstanding’s, death threats, shipwrecks etc. So he could tell others of the love of God found in Christ. There seemed to be no limit to what he would endure on behalf of others for the sake of Christ. This is what it means to intercede. In his letter to the Colossians he said, “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.”
Recently, my wife Tracey came to me in tears saying, “I just want to hear God’s voice!” She said, “lately it seems all I hear is the enemy! Why won’t God speak to me?” This set us up for quite the conversation about the work of interceding for others. We went through many verses and discussed what it meant to hear from God and the enemy. We all must learn what it means to be still and quiet to hear the still small voice of the Shepard.
Jesus told us, “My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.” He also said, “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Now I as thought about this it dawned on me. I don’t think Jesus is saying we can’t hear the voice of a stranger rather He’s saying we won’t follow it. In other words, we may have many thoughts and feelings dancing around in our hearts and minds but there’s only one voice we obey, and that’s God’s.
Jesus dying on the cross was the greatest act of intercessory work ever. Jesus, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God, hung on a cross in order to fill in the gap that was between God and man. In fact He was the only one who could accomplish such a work. But I want you to notice something with me if you will. Reading through Matthew’s account of the crucifixion, in chapter 27, you will discover the only voice Jesus heard was that of the enemy. The voice of the enemy came through loud and clear through the two thieves hanging on either side of him and those passing by. The Bible says, “those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” The chief priests, scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.'”
Jesus was right in the midst of His Father’s will while hanging on the cross listening to the taunts of the enemy. In fact it was then that Jesus felt more separated from the Father than ever. He cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
I suppose the lesson in all of this for me was realizing once again “Your (my) life is not your (my) own. We have been bought with a price. Sometimes God is doing things in and through us which may “look” or “feel” really bad or too heavy to bear. Once again this is why we are admonished to walk by faith and not by sight, or “feelings.” We have to believe it when Jesus told us He wouldn’t leave us as orphans, but would provide the comforter. While we tend to want to remain comfortable all the time, maybe the comforter was given because we were going to have many, many uncomfortable experiences interceding for others. Could it be those are the times when we feel the most isolated or forsaken? Do you remember how Jesus was tempted in the wilderness? Notice how it was after the 40 days of temptation when the angels came to minister to Him (Matthew 4:11).
We are told in Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.” While there is a peace that passes all understanding deep down in our inner man, frustration and stress may be all you see on the surface. When you find yourself interceding for others keep your eyes on Jesus…the author and finisher (perfecter) of our faith!