Several years ago my wife and I visited the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. The largest Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. and one of the ten largest churches in the world, it is a beautiful example of Neo-Byzantine architecture. As we were walking through this magnificent church, admiring the artwork and the beautiful mosaics, I noticed a woman kneeling before a statue of Mary and crying uncontrollably and as she was crying she is uttering prayers to Mary. The enjoyment of seeing the splendor of this Church suddenly vanished. I was filled immediately with anger.
I have told this story to many over the years, of my anger, of my sadness that this woman, filled with grief, was lifting up her prayers to a statue of Mary instead of to the lover of her soul, the Lord Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man. Paul writes in First Timothy “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” In her grief Jesus should have been her intercessor and instead her grief and prayers were being poured out to a statue.
More recently a person very close to me posted on Facebook, “Today is the day of St. Jude, my patron saint of impossible causes. A prayer for today: San Judas Tadeo, walk through my house and take my worries and any illnesses, please watch over and heal my family, friends and bless and keep my enemies in the name of Jesus. Amen. Prayers are powerful and miracles are possible.” Once again, my anger welled up in me. Even if Jude could hear the prayers of this person what could Jude offer that an all caring Savior could not? How is it possible that people are misled into praying to and appealing to statues, dead saints and to Mary? Mary, herself, said that God had “looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed. (Luke 1:48). She said that generations would call her blessed, not that generations would or could be blessed by her.
For believers Jesus is our intercessor and no one else. Can any dead saint or anyone intercede as Jesus does for us. Can anyone other than Jesus pray the following prayer in John 17? Can anyone other than Jesus accomplish what the Father asked His Son to accomplish, to care for those that He had given Him? Read this and understand that Jesus is our only intercessor and mediator with His Holy Father!
John Chapter 17. “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Intercessory prayer was a part of Christ’s earthly ministry (John 17, Luke 22:32), and the Scriptures teach that he now intercedes for us from the throne of heaven in his exalted life above (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25, I John 2:1). The writer of Hebrews writes, “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25). This verse, and others like it, tells us that Christ’s work to secure the salvation of the elect was completed on the cross, as evidenced by His cry “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Securing salvation for His people was “finished” at the Cross, however His care for His redeemed people will never be finished. His care and His love for His people will never end and has no limits. All the power of the Father’s omnipotence is Christ’s, the all-knowing Omniscience of the Father is Christ’s, the ever-present Omnipresence of the Father is Christ’s. Christ is the exact essence of the Father. Like the Father He is all knowing, all powerful, and ever present. He is perfectly capable of hearing our prayers, discerning our needs and accomplishing the Father’s will in our lives. He is our intercessor and are only intercessor with the Father.