Sabbath, March 9, 2013
“The world’s Redeemer possessed the power to draw men to Himself, to quiet their fears, to dispel their gloom, to inspire them with hope and courage, to enable them to believe in the willingness of God to receive them through the merits of the divine Substitute. As subjects of the love of God we ever should be grateful that we have a mediator, an advocate, an intercessor in the heavenly courts, who pleads in our behalf before the Father.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 258.
Mediator between men and God
1. At what point did Jesus become the Mediator between God and man?
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
“Christ was appointed to the office of Mediator from the creation of God, set up from everlasting to be our substitute and surety. Before the world was made, it was arranged that the divinity of Christ should be enshrouded in humanity.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 250.
“Since the sin of our first parents, there has been no direct communication between God and man. The Father has given the world into the hands of Christ, that through His mediatorial work He may redeem man and vindicate the authority and holiness of the law of God. All the communion between heaven and the fallen race has been through Christ.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 43.
2. What makes it possible for prayer to be answered?
John 16:26, 27 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
“… To pray in the name of Jesus is something more than a mere mention of that name at the beginning and the ending of a prayer. It is to pray in the mind and spirit of Jesus, while we believe His promises, rely upon His grace, and work His works.” –Steps to Christ, pp. 100, 101.
“Christ is the connecting link between God and man. He has promised His personal intercession. He places the whole virtue of His righteousness on the side of the suppliant. He pleads for man, and man, in need of divine help, pleads for himself in the presence of God, using the influence of the One who gave His life for the life of the world. As we acknowledge before God our appreciation of Christ’s merits, fragrance is given to our intercessions. As we approach God through the virtue of the Redeemer’s merits, Christ places us close by His side, encircling us with His human arm, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. He puts His merits, as sweet incense, in the censer in our hands, in order to encourage our petitions. He promises to hear and answer our supplications.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 178.
3. What prayer contains one of the most beautiful intercessions of Jesus for His followers?
John 17:7-9 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.
John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
“This chapter contains the intercessory prayer offered by Christ to His Father just before His trial and crucifixion. This prayer is a lesson regarding the intercession that the Saviour would carry on within the veil, when His great sacrifice in behalf of men, the offering of Himself, should have been completed. Our Mediator gave His disciples this illustration of His ministration in the heavenly sanctuary in behalf of all who will come to Him in meekness and humility, emptied of all selfishness, and believing in His power to save.” –(MS 29, 1906) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1145.
4. Knowing that He is alive to intercede for us and is ever ready to grant His promises, how can we appropriate for ourselves by faith the blessings contained in Jesus’ prayer?
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
“… He is in heaven as our advocate, to make intercession for us. We must always take comfort and hope as we think of this. He is thinking of those who are subject to temptations in this world. He thinks of us individually, and knows our every necessity. When tempted, just say, He cares for me, He makes intercession for me, He loves me, He has died for me. I will give myself unreservedly to Him. We grieve the heart of Christ when we go mourning over ourselves as though we were our own savior. No; we must commit the keeping of our souls to God as unto a faithful Creator. He ever lives to make intercession for the tried, tempted ones.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 391.
Substitute and Surety
5. How, in behalf of men, does God face the claims of His holy law?
Romans 8:3, 4 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
“God could not alter one jot or tittle of His holy law to meet man in his fallen condition; for this would reflect discredit upon the wisdom of God in making a law by which to govern heaven and earth. But God could give His only-begotten Son to become man’s Substitute and Surety, to suffer the penalty that was merited by the transgressor, and to impart to the repentant soul His perfect righteousness. Christ became the sinless sacrifice for a guilty race, making men prisoners of hope, so that through repentance toward God because they had broken His holy law, and through faith in Christ as their Substitute, Surety, and righteousness, they might be brought back to loyalty to God and to obedience to His holy law.” –Faith and Works, pp. 117, 118.
6. What was necessary for Jesus to become man’s perfect Substitute and Surety? How can one receive the benefits of His intercessory service?
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
John 6:38, 39 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.
“Man’s substitute and surety must have man’s nature, a connection with the human family whom he was to represent, and, as God’s ambassador, he must partake of the divine nature, have a connection with the Infinite, in order to manifest God to the world, and be a mediator between God and man.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 257.
“In the intercessory prayer of Jesus with His Father, He claimed that He had fulfilled the conditions which made it obligatory upon the Father to fulfill His part of the contract made in heaven, with regard to fallen man. He prayed: ‘I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do. That is, He had wrought out a righteous character on earth as an example for men to follow. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.’” –(Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 260) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1146.
The time of probation will end
7. Will Christ’s intercession continue indefinitely? Why is it so important to repent, to forsake our sins now, and to receive Christ’s forgiveness and healing?
Hebrews 3:14, 15 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
“God will soon vindicate His justice before the universe. His justice requires that sin shall be punished; His mercy grants that sin shall be pardoned through repentance and confession. Pardon can come only through His only begotten Son; Christ alone can expiate sin–and then only when sin is repented of and forsaken. Man has severed his connection with God, and his soul has become palsied and strengthless by the deadly poison of sin. But there was a time when the proclamation sounded through the heavenly courts, I have found a ransom! A divine life is given as man’s ransom; One equal with the Father has become man’s substitute.” –The Upward Look, p. 49.
“Everyone who will break from the slavery and service of Satan, and will stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel will be kept by Christ’s intercessions. Christ, as our Mediator, at the right hand of the Father, ever keeps us in view, for it is as necessary that He should keep us by His intercessions as that He should redeem us with His blood. If He lets go His hold of us for one moment, Satan stands ready to destroy. Those purchased by His blood, He now keeps by His intercession.” –(MS 73, 1893) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1078.
For personal study
- John 17:1-3, 14-16
“As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. Christ knew that He would have to suffer, yet He became man’s substitute. As soon as Adam sinned, the Son of God presented Himself as surety for the human race, with just as much power to avert the doom pronounced upon the guilty as when He died upon the cross of Calvary.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 75.
“As Jesus moved out of the most holy place, I heard the tinkling of the bells upon His garment; and as He left, a cloud of darkness covered the inhabitants of the earth. There was then no mediator between guilty man and an offended God. While Jesus had been standing between God and guilty man, a restraint was upon the people; but when He stepped out from between man and the Father, the restraint was removed and Satan had entire control of the finally impenitent. It was impossible for the plagues to be poured out while Jesus officiated in the sanctuary; but as His work there is finished, and His intercession closes, there is nothing to stay the wrath of God, and it breaks with fury upon the shelterless head of the guilty sinner, who has slighted salvation and hated reproof. In that fearful time, after the close of Jesus’ mediation, the saints were living in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. Every case was decided, every jewel numbered.” –Early Writings, p. 280.