Sunday 24th May | Sermon
JESUS IS OUR INTERCESSOR
Bible Reading : John 17 : 9 -11
I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
This morning I will start with one of Paul Wharton stories, “A young girl was quite fond of her little doll. One day not watching where she was going, she tripped and fell. When she got up she found her doll was badly damaged. Her brother, who saw all this, laughed when he saw the broken doll. “Laugh all you want,” she told him, “but I am going to pray to God to fix my doll.”
‘Oh, yeah? He won’t even answer you,” jeered the brother.
“I’ll bet he will,” the girl replied with complete conviction.
The girl began to pray and her brother went away to play. When he returned a few hours later there was the doll, still in pieces. “Looks like you lost the bet,” he taunted. “God didn’t answer you at all.”
“oh yes he did,” the girl replied, “God said, ‘No.’”
Apparently, today we will talk about intercession prayer. Intercede is the root word of intercession, according to Word Power Dictionary which means “intervene on behalf of another.” Intercession in the noun of the root which is “the action of interceding’ in other definition ‘the saying of a prayer on behalf of another person.” Intercessor is the doer of this kind of prayer. Intercession is prayer on behalf of another, and naturally arises from the instinct of human heart, not merely prompted by affection and interest, but recognizing that God’s relation to man is not merely individual, but social. Religion thus involves man’s relations to his/her fellow man/woman, just as man’s and woman’s social position intercession with one on behalf of another is a common incident, becoming, in the development of society, the functions of appointed officials; as in legal and courtly procedure, so in religion, the spontaneous and affectionate prayer to God on behalf of another grows into the regular and orderly service of a duly appointed priesthood.
The meaning of the word is determined by its use in 1 Timothy 2:1, “I exhort, therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all and men”; where the different kinds of prayer appear to be distinguished. Considerable discussion has arises on the exact meaning of these words. Augustine refers them to the liturgy of Holy communion. This seems to be importing the significance of the various parts of the ceremony as observed at a time much later than the date of the passage in question. “Supplications” ‘and prayer’ refer to general and specific petitions; “intercessions” will then have the meaning of a request concerning others.
Intercession is thus based upon the natural tendency of the heart filled by love and a deep sympathetic sense of relation to others. Christ’s prayer is the highest example and pattern of this form of prayer. His intercessions for his disciples, for His crucifiers, are recorded the following characteristics are to be found:
. It is based upon the intimate relation of Jesus to the Father. This gives to such prayer its justification; may it be said, its right.
2. It follows the completest fulfilment of duty. It is not the mere expression of desire, even for others. It is the crown of effort on their behalf. He has revealed God to His disciples. He has given to them God’s words; therefore He prays for them.
3. It recognizes the Divine, unbroken relation to the object of the prayer: “I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
4. The wide sweep of the prayer and its chief objects, unity with God and the presence with Christ, and the indwelling of the Divine love. The prayer is a model for all intercessory prayer.
Why this intercessory prayer is so unique?
1. J. Vernon McGee shared in his second volume, the thoughts of Matthew Henry: “It is the most remarkable prayer following the most full and consoling discourse ever utter on the earth.” And Martin Luther inspired his reader by stated, “This is truly beyond measure a warm, and hearty prayer. He opens the depth of His heart, both in reference to us and His Father, and he pours them all out. It sounds so honest, so simple. It is so deep, so rich, so wide. No one can fathom it.”
2. Philip Melanchthon in reformers time declared “There is no voice which has ever been heard, either in Heaven or in earth, more exalted, more holy, more fruitful, more sublime than the prayer offered up by the Son of God himself.”
My personal experience, I grew up with 9 brothers and 9 sisters. Our one and only mother is our prayer warrior. When she was with us physically, most nights, we heard her crying and praying and our names she uplifted to God in her prayer. There were many good things she asked God to bless us with, and I still treasure those moment and wish I hear them here and now. However, my mother sometimes tired and some nights she couldn’t pray but our Jesus his entire life was a life of prayer. He began His ministry by going into a solitary place to pray. Often, he went up into a mountain to pray and spent the night in prayer. HE IS OUR GREAT INTERCESSOR. He prays for you and for me. If you forgot to pray this morning. He didn’t. He prayed for you this morning.
Jesus asked the Father to protect them (his disciples) in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. The hidden treasure is in the name that Father had given to His son. That’s the core essence of his disciple’s oneness. Therefore, today’s world Christian communities of faith choose how they call themselves, but Jesus Christ is the name they all worship.
My challenge for all of us during this lockdown keep praying for our world’s protection and oneness. And pray for those are in your care. Amen
Visit Hamilton East Methodist Parish Facebook Page for the video clip.