Before the world was even made the Father wanted to bind himself to us in the deepest union and communion. And even though we resisted God’s purpose he resisted our resistance. For at God’s appointed time the Father’s Son stepped among us as human deliberately entering into living solidarity with his fellow humans. At last in the midst of our fallen humanity, in spite of our estrangement from God, he comes in his love binding himself to us for ever. In this total solidarity with us he even Jesus went down the lowest place to lift us up to the highest place at home with his Father.
So in Jesus, the Father’s Son, God has pledged his very Being to us and us to himself. Can God go back on this? If he did so he would deny himself. As T. F. Torrance says, “He cannot go back upon it without undoing the Incarnation and the Cross and thereby denying himself”. For Christ is God himself as human giving himself totally to us and for us that we might belong with him to his Father in the communion of the Spirit. God and humans are now bound together in Jesus as new covenant that is better by far than the one before.
Through Jesus, our Great High Priest, we have bold access into the Holy of Holies where we freely embrace Abba Father as he embraces us. In his embrace, we embrace all people holding them within the sphere of our Father’s promised blessing.
We share in this ministry because, in union with Jesus, we are God’s royal priesthood interceding for humanity in the presence of our Father. But we only fulfil this calling through the Holy Spirit. For it is the Spirit himself who intercedes within us with goanings too deep for words. And we do not have to first pray the Spirit down. He’s here! Always alive in us, and always interceding through us. Through the intercessions of the Spirit, we are connected with the intercessions of Jesus, our Royal Priest in the presence of our Father.
So the priestly ministry of intercession is gift rather than task. We might say the New Covenant gift of praying is like breathing. Though not always thinking about it we are always doing it. For the Spirit is continually welling up within us connecting us with our Royal Priest in his Father’s presence.
We must also stress that this gift of prayer is not just for a special person at a special time in a special place! As a kingdom of priests we all share in the ministry of intercession by the Spirit in union with our Royal Priest in the presence of his Father.