Author: Ron Graham
Jesus the Intercessor
—The High Priest’s present work
We have so far studied the book of Hebrews in lessons which were introductory and gave us an overview of the epistle’s teaching. We now move into a deeper study of Christ’s work as our great High Priest.
In this lesson, we focus on the topic of intercession which is an ongoing work of Christ our high priest. His sin offering (to be studied in a coming lesson) is a finished work which never needs repeating. Not all Christ’s work is finished, however, because he now continues to make intercession for us in heaven.
We study the same portions of Hebrews as for the lessons “Jesus a priest like Melchizedek”, but we now focus on his work as our intercessor.
The key verse for this study is...
¶“6He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through him, because he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
1 What Intercession Means
The meaning of intercession is wrapped up in the phrase "draw near to God through him". As a "creature" (Hebrews 4:13), you cannot come to your Creator unbidden.
Furthermore, because the Creator knows his creatures utterly, they are "naked" before him. All their thoughts and deeds are laid open and bare before his eyes.
Mindful of that, we mortals should be ashamed, indeed terrified, to come before God on our own, even if we were bidden. Therefore we need Someone to intercede for us. The Macquarie Dictionary gives this definition: "intercede ...to interpose on behalf of one in difficulty or in trouble, as by pleading or petition..."
2 Who Can Intercede for Us?
Jesus Christ is able to be our go-between who can speak to God on our behalf. We can then "draw near to God through him" (Hebrews 7:25). The prophecy about Christ stated that "He himself bore the sin of many and interceded for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12).
It stands to reason that someone who is in much the same position as ourselves, someone who needs an intercessor as much as we do, is not qualified in his own right to intercede for us. Only Jesus and the Holy Spirit are qualified to be our intercessors. (Romans 8:26,34).
There is only one priest among men who can can go to God in his own right and intercede for us, who himself does not need an intercessor. That man is Jesus Christ. That’s one reason why he said, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one can come to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
3 The Blessing of Intercession
We are greatly blessed in having a great High Priest one who ever lives to make intercession for us. John describes him as our "Advocate with the Father" (1John 2:1-2). Jesus understands our weaknesses without himself being weak. There is no one closer to God than he. Through him we can come to God and find utmost grace.
Hence the encouragement, "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). And again, "Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith..." (Hebrews 10:22).