Author: Ron Graham
Our previous lesson helped us to understand the blessing of Christ’s intercession for us. Now, in this lesson, we review and preview some of the main points that the letter to the Hebrews makes about Jesus, and which qualify him uniquely to be our intercessor.
Jesus has "passed through the heavens" (Hebrews 4:14, 6:20). He sits "at the right hand of the Majesty on High" (Hebrews 1:3,13). We therefore have, as our intercessor, the very One who is closest to the Majesty on high, who sits at his side.
Jesus is "the Son of God" (Hebrews 4:14). He is not a creature, but is God like his Father. You will recall that the Father addressed the Son as God: "But of the Son he says, 'Thy throne O God is forever and ever'" (Hebrews 1:8). Because Jesus is God, he is able, in his own right, to draw near to the Father. There is only one other Person qualified in this way make intercession for us, namely the Holy Spirit. Of course the Spirit does not compete with Christ or ursurp him in this role, but is "another helper" (John 14:16-17). The Spirit is at our side, even within us. He helps us when we pray (Romans 8:26,34), making our prayers acceptable when we draw near to God through Christ who is at the Father’s side. The Spirit is as near to us, and Christ as near to the Father, as can be. Thus God bridges the awful chasm between us and him.
Christ is unique in the Deity as the one who became flesh (John 1:1,14). In the days of his flesh He went through the same sort of trials and difficulties that all human beings experience. Having lived in this world, he is able to "sympathize with us in our frailties" (Hebrews 4:15-16). Were our Intercessor a divine being only, we might wonder whether he can understand us, and whether therefore he can properly represent us. That is not a problem, however, because our Intercessor is not a divine person only, but also a human being. He can "interpose on behalf of one in difficulty or in trouble", because he himself experienced similar of difficulty and trouble first hand.
One of the most important credentials for an intercessor is his own reputation and standing. The better his reputation, and the higher his standing, the more respect he gains and the more weight his word carries. The Hebrew writer stresses this qualification in Christ as our Intercessor. "In the days of his flesh... he was heard because of his piety" (Hebrews 5:7). "He learned obedience from the things which he suffered" and the Hebrew writer calls Christ’s obedience "perfect" that is to say "without sin"(Hebrews 5:8-9, 4:15). The Hebrew writer describes Christ as "holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners..." (Hebrews 7:26). It is with this unsurpassed track record that Christ approaches God on our behalf.
The Hebrew writer points out that if a high priest wishes to intercede with God on a sinner’s behalf, "it is necessary" that he "have something to offer" (Hebrews 8:3). Words are not enough. There has to be an acceptable sacrifice. The Hebrew writer is very plain about this when he speaks of Christ. "He did this once and for all when he offered up himself" (Hebrews 7:27). This perfect sacrifice is the topic of a coming lesson.
When we try to contact the one who is supposed to intercede for us, we don't want to be told, "Oh I'm sorry but he died yesterday". Christ died when he offered himself as the sacrifice for sinners. However he rose again and now "he always lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). This assures us that when we stand before God to be judged, however far into the future that day may be, our intercessor will still be alive because he lives forever.
When we embarked on our study of Hebrews, we learned that Jesus had to be made like his brethren, a little lower than the angels; but now he is "crowned with glory" (Hebrews 2:9), a Son over his own house, above the angels, above Moses, equal with God. His crown of glory qualifies him to intercede for those who remain on earth and hope for glory but have not yet entered it.