In the Book of Exodus we read about a person who held up his hands for a full day. The context is the battle with Amalek. After sending his people to the battle ground, Moses, accompanied by Aaron and Hur climbed the top of a nearby hill. He was holding ‘the staff of God’ in his hand (Ex 17:9). Joshua was given the charge of commander- in-chief. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed’ (Ex 17:11).
But Moses was a mortal like us. Naturally his hands grew weary. Aaron and Hur smelled trouble the moment they saw Moses lowering his hands. They took a stone and put it under Moses, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady until the sun set’ (Ex 17:12-13). And in that decisive battle victory blessed Israelites.
Moses, who held up his hands for a full day at the age of eighty to save his people from enemies, took leave of them at the age of hundred and twenty. Before his death,he told them; ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet’ (Deut. 18:15).
Moses, who once raised a serpent of bronze, was prophesying about Jesus who was to be raised in a cross after another twelve centuries. We read about his meeting with Jesus in those days leading to Jesus’ crucifixion. He was accompanied by Elijah and it was no surprise that their topic of discussion was ‘his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem’ (Lk 9:31).
Like Moses, Jesus also held up his hand for his people. As for Moses, ‘his people’ were the twelve tribes of Israel. But for Jesus, the whole humankind was ‘his people’. ‘I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice’ (Jn 10:16). The ransom that Jesus paid for saving his people was his own blood. The prayer that he submitted from the cross to his Father, with his hands held up, was for delivering us from evil, the ultimate enemy.
Unlike Moses, Jesus had no one by his side to support his hands when they started growing weary. The mission that Aaron and Hur once accomplished for Moses was done for Jesus by two nails. It was the will of God the Father that those hands should not be lowered as long as the battle of mankind against the devil continues. Isaiah writes; ‘Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain’ (Isa. 53:10). When we mechanically recite the Lord’s prayer very often, do we realize that cross and suffering are part of His will?
Moses was fortunate that he had the hope of getting some consolation by sunset. It was a luxury denied to Jesus. Instead, the Father in heaven sent a curtain of darkness to cover the nailed hands of His beloved son. ‘It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed….’ (Lk 23:44).
It was the story of Good Friday. At Easter we forget the cross, and share the joy of resurrection. But there is something that should not be forgotten; that the hands of Jesus are still held up. He still continues his intercession before the throne of the Eternal Father on our behalf. He will continue to hold his hands up until the last sun sets over our planet. Because his will is that when the ‘holy city Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God with the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel’ (Rev 21: 10-11) all his people should find themselves entitled to enter its portals.
The intercession of Jesus did not cease in the cross. After his resurrection and ascension into heaven he continues his mission as the one and only mediator between God and man. This is why Paul writes about ‘Christ Jesus who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us’ (Rom 8:34).
The Letter to the Hebrews explains further. ‘We have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens’ (Heb. 8:1). The Scripture reminds us of the unending intercession that Jesus does in heaven with his hands raised before the Father on our behalf in these words; ‘Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them’ (Heb 7:25).
Let us praise Lord Jesus Christ who still holds his hands raised before the Eternal Father in heaven in intercession for us poor sinners.
Halleluiah, Halleluiah, Halleluaih