In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Recently we’ve learnt about the covenant of grace by which God forgives sin and grants eternal life through the mediator Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully human. We’ve previously seen reasons why the mediator had to be God and man and this week I want to look at another reason the mediator had to be human: to suffer and intercede for us in our nature.
If you are going to help a friend then it is good to understand exactly what the struggles are that they are going through. It is commonly understood that the best counselors are those who actually listen to their counselees, before then offering their counsel. But learning about the experiences of a friend you’re trying to help is even more important if you’re then going to ask someone else to help them – if you’re going to intercede on behalf of your friend. Or another example would be if a lawyer doesn’t know the experiences of his client, he isn’t going to do a very good job of interceding.
But Jesus Christ became fully human, putting himself in our shoes so to speak, in order to experience what it is to be human, including what it is to suffer. Thus he can more accurately intercede to God on our behalf. The author of Hebrews speaks of this: ‘Since the children have flesh and blood, he [Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death…For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted’ (Hebrews 2:14-18).
So have you got a human being interceding to God for you? A human who understands you?
Joel Radford, Preaching Elder.