Monday, March 2, 2009

March 2- How Christ Fits Into Prayer

(Picture of Martin Bucer, who tried to mediate between Calvin and Luther and others)

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the Righteous One.” (I John 2:1)

“The ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.” (Heb. 8:6)
“I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13,14)

Since no man is worthy to present himself to God and come into his sight, the Heavenly Father himself, to free us at once from shame and fear, which might well have thrown our hearts into despair, has given us his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, to be our advocate [1 John 2:1] and mediator with him [1 Timothy 2:5; cf. Hebrews 8:6 and 9:15], by whose
guidance we may confidently come to him, and with such an intercessor, trusting nothing we ask in his name will be denied us, as nothing can be denied to him by the Father. And to this must be referred all that we previously taught about faith. For just as the promise commends Christ the Mediator to us, so, unless the hope of obtaining our requests depends upon him, it cuts itself off from the benefit of prayer.

God is totally holy, and we are sinful. We cannot approach God at all on our own. We need a mediator- a priest. Jesus Christ is the ultimate priest. He brings God and humans together, standing in the middle. He is the link between heaven and earth. Since He is God and human, it makes sense that He is the quintessential mediator.
When we pray in Christ’s name we are obeying him who said “if anyone asks anything in my name I will do it.” To pray in Christ’s name means to pray for his sake, not for ours. It is praying, “They will be done- not mine.” The old adage is we “pray to the Father in the Spirit in the name of the Son.” Yet there is a sense in which we pray directly to Christ (not to or through the saints in order to get to Christ). There is one mediator between God and man, and because that mediator is the God-man we may relate to Him.
For Calvin approaching God is like approaching an all powerful king, when we are but peasants. Yet, Christ’s mediating allows us to approach with confidence. Christ says, “Here is my friend, Father, please listen.” Hebrews 4:16,17 says that we have a great high priest…let us boldly approach the throne of grace with confidence that we may receive help in time of need.” This is an important concept in prayer. We approach God not by luck, but with faith. Not as a foreigner, but as a friend of a friend.
My son this week found out he didn’t get into his university of choice. We are appealing the decision, asking people who have influence with the university (who are friends of ours) to speak on his behalf. I don’t know if it will work, but it has given us all some measure of hope. As a stranger to the university staff, I have little hope in myself. But I have great hope in my friend. When we pray, we are going through our mediator, our friend who died for us. He is no stranger to the Father. So when we approach God we have hope.

Prayer- Thank you Lord, that we are not strangers, but friends of yours. Help us to grow in our love for you.

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