He always lives to make intercession
Hebrews 7:18-28 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 20 And inasmuch as it was not without an oath 21 (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him,
“The Lord has sworn And will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever’”);
22 so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
23The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
In today’s text it says: Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. In Romans 8:34 Paul says: Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. What does it mean that Jesus lives to make intercession for us? The word intercede is defined as: to intervene between parties with a view to reconciling differences : mediate. So Jesus is intervening, mediating between us and God, with a view to reconciling differences. The text says: It was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. So if Jesus offered Himself once for all, why does He continue to intercede on our behalf? In John 19:30, when Jesus was on the cross He said: “It is finished!” The cross was Jesus greatest act of intercession. Through that finished work, His sacrifice once for all, we are no longer seen as separated from God, we are reconciled to Him. The text says: For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever. Jesus, God’s perfect Son, interceded for us, to reconcile us to God, on the cross. That reconciliation is finished. It is complete. Jesus does not return to the cross for each sin or situation. The finished work continues forever.
Why then does Jesus intercede for us? Prayer is a form of intercession. In John 17 Jesus interceded for us before the cross. In verses 20-26 He prayed: “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even 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 sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” Jesus already prayed for us that we would be with Him, that we would be one with Him. When He was here, in the flesh Jesus said He could only do what the Father was doing; He could only say what the Father was saying. Jesus prayed what the Father wanted and so His prayer for us is also already answered.
To understand why Jesus continues to intercede for us, we need to understand what parties are still not reconciled. It is not we ourselves and God that Jesus continues to mediate between. We are reconciled to God through the finished work of the cross, through Jesus act of intercession. Jesus taught us to pray saying: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It is not we ourselves who are not reconciled to God, but rather it is the kingdom of heaven and the things of earth which remain unreconciled. Jesus doesn’t continue to pray for things which are already finished. He intercedes, at the right hand of the Father, that what is already finished in the heavenly realm would be manifested here on earth. It is heaven and earth which are still not fully reconciled. Those are the parties that Jesus continues to mediate between. His act of intercession, the cross, finished everything He came to do, in the heavenly realm. Sin is forgiven. Death, sickness and disease have been defeated. None of these, sin, sickness, death, hatred, immorality, dishonesty, unrighteousness… exist in heaven. The ongoing intercession of Christ is that we would truly see all of the realities of heaven here on earth. Today’s text says: He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Jesus always lives to intercede for those who draw near to God. We are called to be like Him. We too should pray, intercede as Jesus taught us to: Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Just though as Jesus greatest intercession was not a prayer but His act of intercession on the cross, we too should live to intercede, to mediate between heaven and earth. In Luke 17:21 Jesus says: “Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Like Jesus we should live to intercede between heaven and earth. Everywhere we go we should take the realities of the kingdom of heaven, which are within us, we should carry the finished work of the cross, to the people, the circumstances and the situations we encounter, here on earth.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for the finished work of the cross. Thank You that I am reconciled to You through that once for all act of intercession. May I, like Jesus, ever live to intercede, to mediate between the circumstances of earth and the realities of heaven. You kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, in and through my life. Amen.