“Oh that one might plead for a man with God!”
Next Sunday is Easter. It might sound funny coming from a Christian, but I have mixed feelings about this holiday. On the one hand, there is nothing more precious to me than my resurrected Savior Jesus Christ. That event - on which the history of the world both before and after hangs - cannot be proclaimed loudly enough. I love it. On the other hand, the Christian emphasis upon Easter Sunday sometimes seems to set apart 1 Sunday as being “special” and suggests that all the other 51 Sundays per year are just “ordinary.” For the Christian, every Sunday is supposed to be Easter Sunday.
But the perpetuating of a special Sunday to bring particular focus on the resurrection has some positive effects. My heart is given liberty to dwell a bit longer on themes related to the events just prior to the cross, the crucifixion itself, and the remarkable circumstances surrounding the empty tomb on Sunday morning.
Today my thought lingered a while on how much I personally need what Christ did for me this week. I’m a sinner. I was born this way (that’s called original sin). I choose to continue to do my own will rather than God’s will far more often than I care to admit (that makes me double condemned – a sinner by birth and by choice). And so the great need of my soul is someone to stand before God in my place. That is what poor suffering Job is speaking about: “Oh that one might plead for a man with God!” Someone to plead for me. My own filthy conduct and rebellious spirit leave me guilty, unworthy to approach His holy throne. But who will go for me?
If we remember the story of Job then you will remember that Job had lost everything: his wealth, his children, his health. It was all gone. He had been reduced to a position of utter weakness and helplessness. Guess what – that is precisely what you and I are like before a holy God. Money cannot buy our forgiveness, family cannot help us into heaven, and our health and strength will never enable us to climb our way out of our mess. Like Job, we are all undone. And like Job, we need someone to plead for us. “Oh that one might plead for a man with God!”
Maybe I might think “that is what a pastor or priest if for.” They will go for me. They will plead for me. As long as I attend “such and such” church, surely the spiritual leaders in that assembly will put a good word in for me with God. Then this verse in Jeremiah comes to mind: “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people (Jer. 15:1).” Even godly holy men are not “good enough” to stand in my place before God.
I cannot plead for myself. Good and godly men cannot plead for me. The apostle Paul was a sinner too, and he also understood this need for someone to plead for us, someone to “mediate” for us. Thus he wrote to Timothy “For there is one God and one Mediator between man and God, the Man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5).” Christ Jesus came so that He could plead for me. He lived a perfect life – unlike me – and therefore His life pleads for me. And He died in my place – His death pleads for me. And He rose and sits at God’s right hand, there “making intercession” (Heb. 7:25) for me.
So, as Easter comes around again, let me ask you: Who is pleading for you? I can pray for you, and would be honored to do so. But I cannot “plead” for you. My life is not good enough for that. So who will plead for you in that day when the books are opened and we must give an account for our lives? Surely you have some sins that need cleansing? Surely you have some deeds that plead against you? When speaking of Christ as a Mediator, Paul tells Timothy that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4).” Maybe it will be Easter Sunday this year that you call upon Christ to plead for you.