'Intercede,' (v.): to intervene on behalf of another
Few truths convey the authenticity of the Gospel like the appalling servant-hearted nature of King Jesus, who explicitly took on the form of His form to show us the Father in Heaven. The One who tells the waves how far they’re allowed to travel around the globe also told blindness when its days were up, stopped stones before they left bloodthirsty hands, advocated for little kids, and dropped the hammer on chauvinists bent to publicly revile a young woman. Our magnificent Maker, who cannot look at the stars He made without insulting His dignity as the High and Lofty One, made Himself into a walking mirror of dirt and blood just so He could kneel in it and wash it off our feet, just so He could have a rusty nail pierce His own to splintery planks and suffocate to save His traitors.
While these characteristics of Jesus are wonderful and illuminate His beauty, we would do both our hearts and His reputation a disservice if we whitewashed the nature of His actions. This was an intervention. Wrath is coming, and heaven intervened. When we were drunk on delusion and making deliriously sinful decisions—and delighting in it—Jesus hounded us down, found us out, took us home, locked us up, and He still wrestles us through our tantrums while we work our way through the tormenting fog of withdrawal. Regeneration is a work, and thank God He will finish what He started. Redemption is costly, and thank God He didn’t hesitate when He saw the bill our sobriety would cost. His heart didn’t drop to His gut when He realized it would cost His own blood. The penny never had to drop for Jesus. Rather, the LORD ordained His own path to the Place of the Skull before He ever uttered “Let there be light.”
LOVING JESUS MEANS
LIVING LIKE JESUS
When He paid our ransom on Calvary’s hill and the Son of promise bled out on Moriah, Jesus sealed the warrant for the redemption of His image-bearers—us. We were made to look like Him, and the Cross was not Eden’s Plan B. He ordained this age of Gethsemanes and Golgothas to purge us of the egos we don’t have the right to white-knuckle the way we do, and turn us into Christians. “Little Christs.” Little versions of the matchless Sovereign who didn’t mind the toll His reputation took when Mary had to change His diapers.
What rehabilitation professionals refer to as “intervention” is one dimension to the brilliant diamond the Scriptures describe as intercession. In fact, the words are nearly two sides of one coin; the latter was a linguistic development from the former. His humiliating incarnation interceded for us; and praise the Lamb He continues to intercede and intervene for us still. He gets in-between us and our sin. He gets in-between us and our enemies. He gets in-between us and the enemies we make because of our sin.
SELFISH WORSHIP IS INSULTING
It is right to adore Jesus. It is appropriate to behave like Him. He is the “great Intercessor,” Author of so many divine interventions. It is appropriate, then, that we intercede and intervene on behalf of others as well. It is appropriate to “have this mind in us also,” and give ourselves to inconvenient and sacrificial service.
This is why fasting without proactively righting societal wrongs so aggravates the heart of the Holy.
This is why “pure and undefiled religion” means you go to bat for people who have no advocates and you empty your own pockets to cover the cost yourself.
This is why He led Jonah all the way to Mosul to warn of the wrath to come and called Hosea to see his wayward wife all the way to their silver anniversary.
This is why He “searches the earth” to find hearts who’ve pledged their allegiances to Him so He can show the world He has their back.
This is why He is looking for people to “stand in the gap” when the fatal consequences of sin and transgressions are bearing just weight upon the world, as we soak our soil with our own blood.
Intercession is giving an incarnate witness of the Incarnate God to a world so stricken by poverty of soul and conscience
Moreover, it is wrong to not adore Jesus and it is wrong to refuse and rebel against His purposes—this is the fundamental sin of which we must all repent. To resist the hand of the Potter as He shapes us into disciples of His beautiful Son is to resist the Sovereign of the ages and commit treason against His crown. In these tumultuous days of war, famine, conflict, crisis, and calamity, it is imperative we allow Him to trade our calloused, rock-hard hearts for tender, beating organs of flesh healthy enough to pump blood through our frames. Meaning if we see suffering and it doesn’t bother us, something is wrong. Soberly, such insensitivity is one of the loudest sirens alarming us we’ve long since ceased to “abide” and are dangerously far from the Vine. The Word of the LORD calls and commands us to “rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Well, we didn’t know,’ does not He who weighs your heart perceive it? Does not He who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will He not repay?”
Why we need to stop the bleeding
Opportunities to intercede on someone else’s behalf are holy privileges of unrivaled dignity. It is also a safeguard against our own pride, and a guaranteed fast-pass to the heart of Jesus. We are not and will never be more compassionate than Jesus. We will never have a stronger sense of justice or groan for mercy than Jesus—but we can rightly represent Him to our hurting world while it finishes its sentence under the sway of the wicked one. We can only serve Jesus and others in this way while we live through Gethsemanes and Golgothas. We have just this age to suffer in another’s stead and serve afflicted, distressed, and impoverished men and women made in His holy image. We have just until the Lord returns to, like Paul, “fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” and live in a way that allows the poor, needy, and even the yet-unrepentant to peer into the mystery of the suffering Servant.
For all the white noise of news headlines, pundits, and politicians, the seven and a half billion people on the planet desperately need the Word of the LORD.
We cannot pray the Word if we do not know the Word.
We cannot live the Word if we do not know the Word.
We have every opportunity now to declare, by our hands, feet, and tongues, the Word of God as revealed in the face of Jesus of Nazareth.
If we don’t, how will they ever hear it? If we hear the Word of God and ignore it, we disobey Jesus and deceive ourselves—like we looked in a mirror and then walked away without remembering what we saw.
This month, FAI Relief is launching a long-term community healthcare program in an isolated, neglected, and under-resourced area of Syria. We don’t care who started the fight within her borders. We just know kids shouldn’t be the ones bleeding out because wicked men and women make bad decisions. So we’re getting in the way. We’re intervening. We’re interceding for them, and we’re inviting you to get in the way with us.
Let the last word over Syria be the living, incarnate witness of the King who bled to finally, and fully, stop the bleeding.
Stephanie Quick is a writer and producer serving with Frontier Alliance International in the Middle East. You can watch her films for free, read her books, and sign up to receive her ministry updates. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and browse the Covenant and Controversy film series and resource library.
 John 14:1-11; 17:6
 Job 38:11
 Mark 8:22-25; 10:46-52; John 9:1-7
 John 8:1-11
 Matthew 19:14; Luke 18:16
 This happened on two occasions: a “certain woman” in Luke 7:36-50, and Lazarus’ sister Mary in Matthew 26:6-13l Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8
 Isaiah 57:15; Psalm 113:4-6John 13:1-15
 Romans 5:7-10
 Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7
 Psalm 23:6; Isaiah 53:12
 Philippians 1:6
 Revelation 13:8; Genesis 1:1
 James 1:18
 Romans 8:29
 That’s what the word “Christian” means. What a privilege.
 Philippians 2:5-8
 Romans 8:34
 Colossians 3:3
 Psalm 59:1-2
 I Samuel 30 describes the day the LORD ended a season of compromise in David’s life—and vindicated David as though he had no guilt. Truly, He delivers simply because He delights in us (Psalm 18:19).
 Hebrews 12:2
 Philippians 2:5
 Isaiah 58:1-7
 James 1:27
 Read Jonah and Hosea’s stories. They’re incredible.
 II Chronicles 16:9
 Ezekiel 22:30; Romans 6:23
 Ezekiel 36:26
 John 15:1-11
 Proverbs 24:11-12
 John 12:31; 14:30; II Corinthians 4:4
 Colossians 1:24
 Romans 10:14-15
 James 1:22-24