There’s a pizza place in town that Colin and I have enjoyed for years. We’ve been to several locations, gone with family and friends, had it delivered, dined in, mused over their interesting mix of sports and soap operas on the big screens. Did I mention that we’ve been going there for years? And I’ve discovered that I have been pronouncing their name completely wrong. Really wrong. Embarrassingly wrong.
In a somewhat similar, but obviously much more important scenario, I am astounded at how you can read a verse your whole life and believe you know it so well, it’s so clear and simple, and then one day it’s as if Holy Spirit says, “yeah, that’s not really what that says.” He would say it very lovingly, of course.
This happened to me recently, and it has shaken my foundations in the very, very best of ways. And I can’t help but share it! I can’t contain it! If there’s nothing new under the sun, then surely someone else has struggled with this. Father, let them have ears to hear!
“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 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.” Romans 8:33-34
There is so much to reflect and chew on in this entire chapter in the Book of Romans, but I mean to point out one particular phrase – “who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”
As simply as I can say it, when I read this verse for so many years, without knowing it my mind was translating this as saying, “Jesus is praying for you right now, changing the Father’s mind about you.”
Rather than letting the rest of the Word of God translate this verse, I unknowingly translated it through my life experiences, my earthly relationships, my woundings, believing that if Jesus needed to pray for me 24-7, intercede for me, He must be constantly pleading with the Father to alter course or have a change of heart about me.
That is what I understood about the word “intercede” – go between, mediate, plead on behalf of. I know Jesus’ prayers are heard and answered and I trust that, but that understanding will always put me at odds with the Father. Or rather, put the Father in a place of being against me, not for me, but One who must be appealed to by Jesus for my well-being.
There is so much we could talk about in terms of Jesus’ intercession and what that means – and what a beautiful and powerful study that is – but the root this dug up, the faulty theology this reveals is that somehow it could be possible that Jesus and the Father are not of one mind, one accord. Not in agreement about me. That Jesus is for me and somehow pleads my case forevermore before a Father who is not. And according to Scripture, that’s not possible.
- “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30
- “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.’” John 5:19
- “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:44
- “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’” John 14:6-7
- “Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own initiative, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.” John 14:8-11
Very simply, I want to remind you this day that Jesus and the Father are not in disagreement about you. It’s not possible. The Trinity is never in disagreement. They are in perfect unity about everything – and that includes you. Everything comes from the Father, through Jesus, and by the Holy Spirit.
If indeed Jesus intercedes, mediates, makes a case for you and for me, then He does so because it came from the Father’s heart for Him to do so. Jesus and the Father are in perfect unity. And the love Jesus has for you and for me originated in the Father’s heart.
When you think about Jesus’ love for you and how He so loved you that He died on the cross for you, that He’s waiting to spend eternity with you, that He will never leave you or forsake you, may it fully and completely sink in this day that the very desire and idea for all of that originated with the Father.
The Father loved us, so He sent His Son.
I believe I can feel the Father’s warm smile as I type this. Oh, how He loves you. This relationship needs to heal. May we repent for ways that we’ve viewed Him wrongly, and receive His love like never before.
“’The glory which you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.’” John 17:22-23
Would you join with me in prayer?
Father, please forgive me. Forgive me for how I’ve viewed you wrongly, for when I’ve believed you were against me, holding me at arm’s length, tolerating me because of Jesus, never really receiving Your love. Show me all the ways I have viewed you wrongly. Teach me about You. Show me who You are. I wait with expectation and hope. In Jesus name, Amen.