18 July 2011

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

All the praying [our Lord] did during His three years of ministry was just a prelude to His great work of intercession after His resurrection and ascension.  Since the risen Lord Jesus is now our high priest in the heavenly sanctuary, He continues His work of prayer.  He no longer intercedes for a few people at a time, as He once did here on earth; He intercedes in heaven itself with God the Father for the whole human family.  Yet, amazingly, He is also present with us here on earth.  In the Church, our Lord joins us and includes us in His intercession.  -- Dr. John Kleinig, *Grace upon Grace* p. 159.

6 comments:

Unknown said...

“He intercedes in heaven itself with God the Father for the whole human family.” Presumably this is based on Romans 8: 34, “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” But why is He interceding with the Father? Do They have a difference of opinion as to what should happen to us? Indeed He is at the right hand of God, but this does not mean He is interceding with God the Father; it shows that Jesus is all powerful, and His intercession is effective. He intercedes for us against all of the forces that try to take us away from Him. Surely the Father, “who so loved the world that He gave is only Son”, is not one of those?

As far as I know, the only other place in which “intercession” is mentioned in this sense is Hebrews 7:25. I suspect this is an instance of our Savior being both “Priest and King”, because He both intercedes and saves. But I cannot think of any reason why our Lord, having entered “once for all into the Holy Place” would still need to intercede with the Father. As He told His disciples before He entered the Holy Place (John 16:26), “I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, …”

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

Yes, Hebrews 7:25 - He always live to make intercession for them. And it is the Father's pleasure to hear and receive the Son's intercession and His mediation on our behalf:

If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous. He is the Propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1,2)

Scripture teaches us that not only does the Divine Son intercede with the Father on our behalf, but also the Divine Spirit, who in our weakness and not knowing what to say, "intercedes for us with groans too deep for words" as He "intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26,27)

William Weedon said...

Gerhard, by the way, describes the heavenly intercession of the Son in particular relationship to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist:

Hence, this sacrifice once offered on the cross takes place continually in an unseen fashion in heaven by way of commemoration, when Christ offers to His Father on our behalf His sufferings of the past, especially when we are applying ourselves to the sacred mysteries, and this is the ‘unbloody sacrifice’ which is carried out in heaven. (Confessio Catholica)

Unknown said...

I cannot get my mind around what happens in this intercession. Romans 8:33, “Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” So, if God justifies, why is there need for intercession with Him? Or is the meaning that our Lord intercedes on our behalf when the suffering mentioned right after these words afflicts us, “35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” I firmly believe that our Lord intercedes for us when we suffer, but does He intercede with the Father or with whatever controls the events that cause us suffering, or even with us to enable us to bear the suffering? Being “at the right hand of God” means that He is in a position of absolute power, so that He can help us. It does not mean that He is interceding with the Father. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit All have the same will and All intercede for us.

In Hebrews 7:25, “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” The words you added assume that the intercession continues to be made with the Father in a continuous dialogue. But, again, why intercede with the Father if it is the Father Who has already justified us? And is it clear in this verse that the intercession is with the Father rather than with whatever He has to deal with to help us, in as much as the Father is on the same side to begin with?

1 John 2:1 and 2. You assume that having “an advocate with the Father” means that the advocacy takes place between the Son and the Father. The words used here are the same as in John 1:1. They mean simply that the Advocate is with the Father, and therefore able to act on our behalf. If the advocacy were made to the Father, then why did He teach us to pray, “our Father …”?

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

Unknown said...

Two things I wanted to add, and then I will forever hold my peace on this subject: the first deals with intercession. Matthew 28: 18 “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’” That would seem to eliminate the need for any intercession among the members of the Most Holy Trinity. Not that our Lord now “outranks” the others; He is equal to them. Therefore, I am convinced that the members of the Holy Trinity do not intercede with one another on our behalf, but all of them intercede on our behalf against whatever threatens us in the Kingdom of God.

The second has to do with the Gerhardt quote. As far as I can ascertain, everything Scripture has to say about the Eucharist is found in the three Synoptic Gospels, when they describe the Institution, and John 6:48-58 (maybe not – remember Luther’s “not one syllable”?), 1 Cor. 10:15-22 and 1 Cor. 11:17-34. What Gerhard apparently wrote cannot be found in any of these. Are there some I missed?

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart

William Weedon said...

George,

I think we are simply approaching a mystery that we cannot fathom. Of course the Father loves us in His Son and has provided for our salvation. He couldn't be anymore "for" us if He tried. But He is pleased to accept the intercessions of His Son which Scripture teaches He lives to make for us; and the groans of His Spirit, praying for us according to the will of God, within us. As we do not pray in order to win the favor of the Blessed Trinity, but precisely because we enjoy that favor; so the Son and the Spirit speak to the Father on our behalf - not to a Father who is against us, but who is very much for us. After all, "God said to His beloved Son, it's time to have compassion. Then go, bright Jewel of my crown and bring to them salvation."