I had just sat down to write a devotional for this blog, and the text came with the news. My friend has been sitting at the bedside of her father. The vigil is almost over.
He is dying.
Honestly, at first I just sat staring at the computer feeling completely helpless. Her family situation has always been complex, but no matter what the complications, at this moment in time she is simply a daughter watching her father slip away. I am a fixer. I want to do something to make it better.
But sometimes there is no better. Not here. Not on this side of eternity.
My eyes moved from the blinking icon on an empty screen to a piece of paper taped to the wall of my office.
“The moment we get tired waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside us helping us along. He does our praying in and for us, making prayers out of our wordless sighs and aching groans. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and keeps us present before God. That is why we can be sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:26-30 The Message.
I could not help but think of the role of the great high priest as outlined in the Old Testament. He was a human representative who stood before Almighty God in a holy place that was set apart specifically for the meeting of humanity and the Divine. According to directions from God Himself, a beautiful veil of ornate workmanship set apart that sacred space called the Holy of Holies from the rest of the tabernacle. No one dared enter upon the threat of death, except the great high priest. Once a year he followed the cleansing rituals, adorned the priestly vestments, and with fear and trembling would enter into the very presence of God. His purpose was to sprinkle the blood of a spotless lamb on the mercy seat. He was the intercessor. He reached out to God on behalf of himself, and God’s people.
And then my thoughts moved to the cross. In my mind’s eye I could see Jesus as He took upon Himself the weight of the world.
The Son did not don priestly vestments. Instead He was viscously stripped of His clothing. He did not follow the cleansing ritual. His body was covered with saliva from their contempt, sweat from His arduous journey to Golgotha carrying a cruel cross, and blood from the agonizing stripes placed upon His back.
It was brutal.
It was beautiful.
For in that moment of agony when He cried out, “It is finished”, that veil was torn and Jesus obtained the position of the Great High Priest.
No longer was a weak and frail human being responsible for bridging the great divide between divinity and humanity bearing the insufficient blood of lambs. The perfect spotless Lamb had been sacrificed.
I may be helpless, but He is not. The Son now stands before the Father, and is pleading on behalf of my friend.
And for me...for you.
"Making prayers out of our wordless sighs and aching groans."
He is the intercessor.
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