Jesus the Intercessor. Prayer and Christoloy in Luke-Acts.

By David M. Crump
Grand Rapids : Baker (1999). 295 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. James Rosscup
11.1 (Spring 2000) : 122-123

This work on views and issues is by an associate professor of religion and theology at Calvin College, and is the American paperback edition of a work first issued by J. C. B. M ohr (Paul Siebeck) in Germany in 1992. It was a Ph.D. thesis at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, which I. H. Marshall supervised.

The book uses redactional method and literary criticism while taking the Bible seriously as accurate. It surveys the history of study about prayer in Luke- Acts. After this it devotes chaps. 2-6 to Jesus’ self-revelation in key Lukan texts as heavenly intercessor on earth. Chapter 7 looks at the heavenly intercessor in Acts, chap. 8 at human intercessors in the OT, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, the Targums, Qumran, Philo, and rabbinics. The bibliography shows vast coverage of literature on passages and linguistic studies on such things as key vocabulary in prayer passages (242-75). Crump has indexes of biblical texts, extra-biblical references in about 60 ancient sources, modern authors, and subjects. Informative footnotes occur, and the author lists 121 journals contributing to his study.

Crump points out that Luke says more about prayer in Jesus’ ministry and in the early church than any NT writer. H is focus is on the christological significance of Jesus’ prayer life and how it impacts christology in Acts. He argues that Luke presents Jesus as “the Chosen One of God, the final eschatological Prophet, who superintends the revelation of the Father, especially the revelation of His own messiahship/sonship; who extends God’s call to the elect and relieves their spiritual blindness; who experiences God’s guidance and the Spirit’s power . . . and who preserves the discipleship of his followers through tribulation, all through . . . prayer. But beyond this, his efficacious prayer ministry on the earth is preparatory to his exercising a similar role in heaven as the church’s exalted Intercessor” (14).

The author has much on Rom 8:34, Heb 7:25 and 1 John 2:1. In Luke, readers find sections on texts such as Jesus’ baptism, Transfiguration (9:28-36), Luke 11:5-13, prayer for Peter and the other disciples (22:31-32), prayer from the cross, Jesus’ Emmaus meal. Acts 7:55-56 receives much attention. Details on intercessors in the OT and other ancient Jewish writings enlighten readers on ancient beliefs. For instance, many intertestamental passages claim intercessory prayers by OT heroes such as Abraham and Moses which the OT nowhere mentions (210-11). One sees much that ancients held about intercessors representing others before God.

The book is the most informative one yet on intercessory prayer in Lukan writings. It enhances awareness of issues, views, reasons, and possibilities on biblical and extra-biblical prayer statements.