Jesus intercedes on our behalf
There are a couple of verses in the Bible mentioning that Jesus is praying for us in heaven. Hebrews 7:25: “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them,” and Romans 8:34: “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” In both verses the word ‘interceding’ or ‘intercession’ is used.
Meaning of intercession
Intercession means: pleading on behalf of another person. Jesus is pleading on behalf of all those who have put their trust in him for their salvation. First John 2:1,2 adds that “if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins.”
Salvation can be found in Jesus alone: he is the one who died to atone for sins. He took our sins upon him and exchanged it with his righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus’ sacrifice was perfect and complete.
So why does the Bible tell us that Jesus is still interceding for us?
God is holy
It points to the fact that God is a holy God who cannot stand sin (1 Peter 1:15,16). Sin never loses its seriousness, not even when Jesus paid the perfect price. God still hates sin. Every person stands condemned before God because of sin (John 3:18).
But because of Jesus’ sacrifice, there is a way out of sin and a way out of God’s wrath over sin. That way is Christ himself (John 3:16). The verse in Romans 8 says: “Who is to condemn?” (Romans 8:34). God has every right to condemn us. But those who trust in Jesus, are safe. Jesus paid the price to satisfy God’s wrath over sin and he is pleading our case on our behalf with his own sacrifice as solid base. He is our Advocate who points to an event in history that will set us free: Jesus’ own sacrificial death on the cross.
Jesus is the perfect high priest
Jesus’ intercession points also to the fact that Jesus is alive and has received authority to be the eternal, perfect high priest. In the Old Testament, high priests were ordained to act on behalf of the people. They had to bring sacrifices for sin on behalf of the Israelites and pray for them too (Hebrews 5:1). But it had to be done over and over again. Priests died, so new priests had to be appointed (Hebrews 7:23). But Jesus only needed to bring the sacrifice one time. Then he was raised from the dead: this underlines the eternal value of the sacrificial death he died (Romans 6:9). And because he is alive, he is able to intercede for us without end. He continues forever (Hebrews 7:24).
Our salvation is not only based on an event in history – Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross – but also on the life and intercession of Christ in the present and in the future. He is able to intercede incessantly because he always lives. This is why we may have great confidence when we draw near to God and the ‘throne of grace’ (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus will never stop living, and will never stop interceding – and this is why he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God (Hebrews 7:25).
God and Jesus are one
It is not as if Jesus must try to convince God not to punish us, like a lawyer must try to convince the judge of the innocence of his client. God is sure to view us in the light of the righteousness of his Son (Philippians 3:9). It is not as if Jesus is for us and God is against us. God desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth! (1 Timothy 2:4). But there is only one way: Jesus (John 14:6). And Jesus is the only One who can intercede for our salvation, not Mary or any ‘saint’. He is the only One who can work for us to make forgiveness and access to God reality (Hebrews 10:18-22; Hebrews 4:14-16).
Jesus’ ministry of intercession counters Satan’s activity, who is forever accusing us before God (Revelation 12:10). Satan is no match for Jesus. God the Father and the Son are one – one in their desire to pardon all those who trust in Jesus, all those who draw near to God through the Son.
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