The Ministry of Reconciliation

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This is an excerpt from the book “Mercy Before Judgment.

When the book of Hebrews says Jesus lives forever to make intercession, it is not just saying Jesus prays constantly. He lives every moment as the Advocate of His Church before the Father, simultaneously being the Advocate of His Father to creation. Jesus has secured salvation for humanity, but He will also carry out God’s judgments in a way that will be terrifying.[1] Jesus’ judgments are an act of intercession on behalf of the Father. In His judgments, Jesus will require the earth to submit to the righteousness of God. 

We tend to speak almost exclusively of Jesus’ merciful intercession on our behalf, but we must not forget He will also intercede for His Father in a way we cannot currently imagine. We must know both aspects of His intercession because Jesus lives to accomplish both. 

Prayer is an expression of intercession, but Jesus demonstrates the way we live our lives is to be an act of intercession.

When we pray, we want to see a meeting happen between God and man. When we speak to others, we want to see our words provoke a meeting between them and God. Regardless of what we do, it should be motivated by the desire to see a meeting between God and people. 

All ministry in the Church should ultimately be about setting the stage for a meeting between God and people. When a pastor teaches, the primary goal should not be the transfer of information, but the generation of a meeting between God and people. Unless God and people meet, there is no intercession—only the sharing of information. 

When a worship leader leads a congregation, their goal should be to facilitate a meeting between God and people. Unless God and people meet in worship, the music is just an experience and a performance. 

When a businessman does business, he should be motivated in his interactions with others to see meetings happen between God and those others. When parents pray for their children, they are not just praying for their children to be kept from evil, but they are praying for a meeting between God and their children. 

Whether we pray, preach, speak, serve, or go about our daily business, we should orient our lives around seeing meetings happen between God and people. This is what Jesus lives forever to make intercession means, and He is our model. Like Him, our lives should be acts of intercession.

If we do not live and minister after this model, our ministry is not following the pattern Jesus has established for us, and it is ineffective at best and deceptive and harmful at worst. Does your ministry to others create a context for them to meet with God? 

You are not responsible for making others meet God, but your ministry should create the context for it. People do not need to be in-formed, nor do they need to enjoy your gifts. They need to meet God. 

Paul described this way of living as the “ministry of reconciliation”: 

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18–20) 

Paul’s description of his apostolic ministry is a description of intercession. God makes His appeal to the world through us because we act as His ambassadors, His representatives, and His intercessors be-fore people. Our assignment of intercession is deeply connected to our priestly calling. Priests minister to God on behalf of the people and then minister to the people on behalf of God. Priests help facilitate a “meeting” between God and people. This is an act of intercession. 

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