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Because He Lives – He Prays for Me

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Our salvation was secured when Jesus died on the cross (as he said, “It is finished”) and rose again. However, that doesn’t mean that Jesus is retired. His work is not finished — there is work being done for us by the resurrected and ascended Jesus.  In particular, there is his work of intercession — his praying for us as our priest. This is a profound truth that I don’t think we discuss or think about often, so let’s explore a little more about the reality nature of Christ’s intercession for us and the difference this can make for our lives.

Jesus the Praying Priest
Just as Scripture describes Jesus offering prayers for his followers during his earthly ministry (see John 17), there are also a few passages where we read that after his resurrection he continues to pray for his followers. In Romans 8:34 we read, “Jesus also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.” Hebrews 7:25 also notes this truth that Jesus “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”. Like the priest who made a sacrifice for sin and then offered prayers for the people, so Jesus offered the sacrifice of sin (himself) and now stands as a priest, praying for us. He does this in the heavenly temple, of which the earthly temple merely stood as a copy of the true thing (Hebrews 9:24). 

Jesus the Perfect Priest
While the priests who prayed these prayers did so as sinful persons (Hebrews 7:26-27), Jesus, who knew no sin, stands as an advocate for us. Because of this, we can be assured that no sins or shortcomings can block these prayers. We know that God always hears the prayers of Jesus (John 11:42). At the same time, Jesus does not pray without personal knowledge or concern for our experiences, as we read in Hebrews 4:15, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus took on flesh so that he could be offered as a sacrifice for our sins – as he needed to become like us so he could take the punishment we deserve – but also so that he could serve as a priest for us, not only offering the sacrifice to bring forgiveness, but also prayers of understanding and help as we face temptations (Hebrews 2:17-18). 

Jesus the Perpetual Priest
As noted above, we see above that Jesus always lives to make intercession for us. Unlike the earthly priests in the Bible, Jesus always remains priest because he lives forever – because he is risen! Not only that, but he will always intercede for us, even when we stumble and fall. Jesus is not a fairweather priest or a priest who tells us to get our act together before he will pray for us. Jesus is not a priest who is looking for a way to get “off” duty so he can do something else. This is a ministry that he is always doing for us. We may not think of it often, but as Christians, it’s important to know that Christ is always at work for us.

Why This Matters
Jesus’s intercession is not just a fun, theological obscurity to think about, but one that should warm our hearts. Because Jesus is our advocate before the Father, we know the various accusations against us that can fill our mind and threaten to grip our hearts are being countered; Jesus is not accusing us before the Father but is continually bringing us into His presence (see Romans 8:32). Because we have him as our high priest, we should draw near to God (Hebrews 10:22), hold fast to the faith (Hebrews 10:23), and stir one another up to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). When we stumble and fail, know that we have an advocate – not an adversary – who laid down his life for our sins (1 John 2:1-2), who understands our struggles and also has paid for our sins. All this is true because He lives!

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