When I ask you about Christs work, what do you think about? You probably think about his life, death, resurrection, and ascension. But have you ever thought about what He is doing right now? At this moment? For many of us we think that the work of the Lord Jesus is done. But it is not. You know what we have been speaking about in the last articles about his righteousness? That work is finished. Now He is applying that finished work to each one of his children.
Think about the doctrine of Justification for example. That we are fully saved, and perfect through the blood of Jesus and that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Do you believe this? Well, now you may say yes. What about tomorrow, when you feel like you are not living up to expectations, or you fall into sin? You see the doctrine of Justification is counterintuitive, as one author says, “We are declared right with God not once we begin to get our act together, but once we collapse into honest recognition that we never will.” This is where Christs intercession comes in. It is his constant pleading before the Father, reminding Him that we are his, and assuring us that we are his.
The confession says, “We believe that we have no access to God except through the only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ, the Righteous.”
Jesus Christ is our Mediator and Advocate:
He is our Interceder/Mediator (Hebrews 7:25)
He is our Advocate (1 John 2:1)
He is our Interceder
Yes, Jesus Christ is interceding for each one individually who believes Him. But what does that mean? It means that a third party comes between two others and makes a case to one on behalf of the other.
Praying is often called intercession. When you pray for someone you are interceding for them as well. Now this is not just your friend, but Jesus Himself commits to praying for you before the Father. Interceding for you.
And He never stops. Not for one moment. When your prayer life is not what it should be, in the next room is One who never stops interceding for you. When you are sinning, He is praying. When you are in church, He is praying. When you are at home, He is interceding. At school, at work, He is interceding. Always and forever. And this thought comes through in the text we read: V. 16 speaks of an “indestructible life.” V. 17 says, “you are a priest forever.” Verse 21 again, “You are a priest forever.” Verse 24, “But he holds the priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.”
Therefore because of all this, “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since he always lives to intercede for them.”
Jesus is not done loving you. He still loves you the same amount as He did when he died on the cross. Jesus work did not stop on earth, now He is in heaven constantly still reminding us and the Father of his finished work.
He lives. Now. He is working. Now. As the great High Priest. Appointed as Priest by an oath. In other words, the Scriptures do not want you to doubt in the least the work of this Priest. He is the great Mediator of the covenant. The One who comes in between God and man, perfectly bringing reconciliation. Uniting heaven and earth. His work for you totally sufficient. It is absolutely complete. It is entirely perfect. And it is upon the basis of his own work that He now intercedes for you. Not yours.
If He is still working, was his earthly work not enough? No. It was enough, and his heavenly intercession proves it. Christs present heavenly intercession on our behalf reflects the fullness, victory, and completeness of his earthly work. It does not mean that anything was missing in his earthly work.
As one author puts it, “In more simple language Jesus now talks about what He did then.” Therefore, justification and intercession are so intricately connected. Just take Romans 8:33,34, “Who shall bring any charge against Gods elect? It is God who justifies, who is to condemn? Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised – who sits at the right hand of God, who is indeed interceding for us.” Did you catch that? He goes directly from God who justifies, to Christ who died and who intercedes. He is interceding on behalf of his death.
This also shows how personal our redemption is. It is not like He won the victory in his death and resurrection, but then is hesitant to share that work with sinners like us. No! His intercession shows that He is indeed eager to share it with us. As Bunyan says, “nothing pleases Him better than to give what He has away… [and] bestow it upon the poor and needy.” The heart that carried Him to the cross is the heart that pleads now before the Father on our behalf.
And so we can take immense comfort in that beautiful verse, “Consequently He is able to save to the uttermost, those who draw near to God through Him, since he always lives to intercede on their behalf.”
Save. We need constant saving. It’s not a one and done. Any Christian that has lived any amount of time, needs they are in constant need of the blood of Christ. Of Jesus’ intercession. Saving from what? Everything. He will save to the uttermost. No scar. No numb pain in the background. No fear of judgement. No trauma. He will save to the uttermost. The Greek word “to the uttermost” or “completely” is a word that means comprehensive, complete, and exhaustive.
Who will He save to the uttermost? Those who draw near. Just because it’s all his work does not mean you can sit back. You are called to draw near to God, through Him. Are you praying? Are you drawing near in worship still? Are you drawing near to the fellowship with Him in his Word? You need Him. To the uttermost.
We are complete sinners; we need a complete Savior. We are uttermost sinners; we need an uttermost Savior. One who does not give up on us after one sin. Or many sins. One who keeps interceding. Who keeps applying his work to us. Day after day. Week after week. Dear church, He does not just help us. No! He saves us. The salvation that He brings is total. It is not like He died, and then waiting for people to accept his work. No, He died, was raised and ascended and immediately began the work of applying his work to his children.
As one author puts it, “He knows us to the uttermost, He saves us to the uttermost, because his heart is drawn to us to the uttermost.”
What better one to intercede then this One, who was “holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted about the the heavens.” If Jesus was to be a Priest, he had to be perfect. We have such a High Priest. Perfect man. Perfect God. God and man are reconciled in and only in Him. The Father loves no one more perfectly than the Son, and the Son loves perfectly those for whom He died.
I love what our confession says, “This Mediator however, whom the Father has ordained between Himself and us, should not frighten us by his greatness, so that we look for another according to our fancy. There is no creature in heaven and on earth who loves us more then Jesus Christ? …. could we find one who loves us more than He who laid down his life for us even while we were his enemies? ... moreover, who will be heard more readily than God’s only begotten Son?”
One of the beauties is that Christ is praying for us, even when our own prayer life is not going well. Just imagine as you sit here, He is praying for you.
One thing before we move on. It must be said that his intercession does not reflect that the Father wants nothing to do with us. But rather it reflects the intense love of the Son. He is like the older brother that never stops cheering no matter how far ahead or behind the younger brothers or sisters are in the race.
He is our Advocate
1 John 2:1: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin, but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
“My little children.” You sense the love there. Children are loved. But these are not just children, but little children. Children that need the loving protection and care. And what do little children sometimes do? They sin. But what does a father do when his children sin, does he turn away? No, he loves them, and his heart reaches out to them. He pursues them to the darkest alley ways to get them back.
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you do not sin.” If he stopped there, it would be valid. But it would crush us. So that you do not sin. It would crush any child. For it is the call to perfection. The Bible does not lower the bar at all when it comes to holiness. But at the same time, it also shows the way to stop sinning, by coming to Jesus and receiving forgiveness in our time of need.
We need this exhortation to stop sinning. A preacher needs to regularly tell people and himself to stop sinning. And in the power of the Holy Spirit who applies Christ to us, we can make a start in holiness. But it is just the start. And sin does continue to afflict us. So we also need liberation for when we do. We need Christ as King, demanding absolute obedience, but we also need Him as Advocate arguing our case before the Father when we are not obedient. We need Him not only over us, but next to us.
The Greek word here is parakletos. It might sound familiar to some of you. It is the same word used of the Holy Spirit in John 14:16 where Jesus says, “ And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.” This word can also be translated as counselor, helper, comforter or companion.
And for who is He an Advocate? 1 John 2:1, “But if anyone does sin.” And who is the anyone? It is all of us, as 1 John 1:10 says, “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar, and his Word is not in us.” So, if you sin, if you fall grievously this week, know there is a Lawyer who will take your case to the Father. And He will apply his own life to yours. And say, “I died for him. I live for him. He is mine.”
He is always interceding for us. But He is advocating for us particularly when we sin. One writer puts it beautifully when he says, “Christ as Sacrifice gave for us the price of blood, but that is not all; Christ as a Captain has conquered death and the grave for us, but that is not all; Christ as Priest intercedes for us in heaven, but that is not all. Sin is still in us, and with us, and mixes itself with whatever we do, whether what we do be religious or civil; for not only our sermons, our hearings and preaching, but our houses, our shops, our trades, and our beds, are all polluted with sin. Nor does the devil, our night and day adversary, forbear to tell our bad deeds to our Father, urging that we might be forever disinherited for this… What should we do if we had not an Advocate; yes, if we had not One who would plead; yes, if we had not One that could prevail, and that would faithfully execute that office for us? When we must die?”
Dear church, you have an Advocate. What this means is that you need not minimize sin. Or make all kinds of excuses for it. Or hide it under the rug deep in your heart. No, do not make excuses. Do not defend yourself. You have an Advocate. You have a Defender. The righteous One. He is your defense. Take it to the One who is already there. He has the proof in his hands and feet that He is your defender. Let your own unrighteousness, in all your darkness and despair, drive you to Jesus, the righteous One.
He is for you, little children, not when you conquer sin, but in the midst of it! Satan may have the first word, but Christ will have the last. When we are stuck in sin, we need to pray. We need to cry out to the Advocate. Not only is He willing to plead our case. He is truly the only One who can plead it.
This has huge implications for prayer.
First of all, we can know we will be saved because of Jesus Christ. Whoever believe in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.
When Jesus tells Peter that he will betray Him, He said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you…” And when Peter fell, He comforted him by assuring him that he would not lose his faith. And the reason his faith wouldn’t fail was that Jesus had prayed for him.
You see, children of God may fall into grave sins, but if Jesus is praying and applying his work to them, their faith will not fail. In fact, it will grow as they recognize the strength of his love for them, and so we can also strengthen our brothers and sisters in their time of weakness.
If you are a Christian, Jesus is praying for you. We have a living Hope and a living Savior, one who is praying every day at the throne of God that our faith will not fail.
And finally, this should drive us to prayer. Do not avoid Him when you are filled with guilt of shame. Do not avoid Him when you are overwhelmed with lives storms. Do not avoid Him when you feel the world is broken, and you can’t go on. Do not avoid Him in each moment of everyday. When you are hurt, or frustrated, or stress, or desire to lash out. Pray. Pray. Till you see Him and receive peace in your soul. He is there waiting to hear from you. You Brother, the righteousness One, the eternal Priest, the great Mediator of the covenant sits their enthroned for you. He is working even now on your behalf. Go to Him.