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He Still Gets Us

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Whether you love grammar or loathe it, we need to pay attention to it because small variations can result in vastly different meanings. In the past few blog posts, we have been thinking about how Jesus “gets us.” Notice that this is the present tense (“gets us”), not the past tense (“got us”). At first glance, we may think it should be in the past tense because the basis for this idea that Jesus “gets us” is what Christians call “the incarnation.” That is, Jesus, the eternal Son of God, took on human flesh and blood and thus became like one of us in every way except for never sinning. Jesus no longer walks on the earth as he once did, so why would we use the present tense of he “gets us” instead of the past tense that he “got us?”

The reason we should use the present tense is because Jesus did not cease “getting us” when he left this earth and ascended into heaven. Rather, Christians believe that Jesus continues to “get us” as the risen and ascended Lord because he continues to have a human body (which is now in heaven) and he continues to intercede on our behalf as one who is like us – which means that we should both draw near to him and live in light of our heavenly destiny. 

Jesus’s Bodily Presence in Heaven
Growing up, I knew that Jesus rose from the dead, but I never knew what happened after that. Did Jesus die like everyone else? No! Forty days after his resurrection, he ascended to heaven and promised to return in the same way that he ascended and judge (see Luke 24 and Acts 1). This event shows Jesus’s resurrection was not a temporary resuscitation like the resurrection of Lazarus, who would die again. Rather, it is a picture of the truth that death will not have the final word and our bodies will be raised from the dead just like Jesus was. 

Jesus did not shed his earthly body when he went to heaven but rather took it to heaven. This reveals not only that we will be in God’s presence in our resurrected bodies, but also that Jesus is now present with God in his resurrected flesh. The incarnation did not end with his resurrection or with the ascension, but continues for all eternity. Not only is the fact that “we have our own flesh in heaven” in Jesus a “sure pledge that Christ our head will also take us, his members, up to himself” (Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 49), it also means that he continues to “get us.” 

Jesus’s Present Intercession in Heaven
Because he retained his human flesh, Jesus continues to serve as our priest and is praying on our behalf in the presence of God. The priests of Israel entered the inner sanctuary of the temple on behalf of the people, and now Jesus, on our behalf (Hebrews 6:20), has entered into the inner sanctuary of the heavenly temple that the earthly temple merely stood as a copy of (Hebrews 9:24). There he is interceding and praying for us as one who is like us and gets us. This intercession is permanent because of the resurrection (Hebrews 7:24), and it is effective as we read that “he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

While the Book of Hebrews discusses this idea of Jesus’s intercession more than any other book in the New Testament, it is not the only place it is discussed. Paul also mentions it in Romans 8:34 in discussing how there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Rather than accusing us of sin, Jesus is pleading upon our behalf as the advocate for the forgiveness of our sins through his blood (also see 1 John 2:1-2). Since he offers this intercession in the flesh that he has retained in heaven, we can say that he truly is able to sympathize with us as our high priest (Hebrews 4:15).

Our Response to Jesus’s Presence in Heaven
Discussions of Jesus’s body and his work in the heavenly temple could seem very theoretical, but in reality, it is intensely practical. One of the implications of having a priest who “gets us” in heaven is that we are called to turn to God with boldness (Hebrews 4:16; 10:19-22). We can do so because of his work on our behalf, as we now have clean consciences, and because we know that God allows and accepts humans to draw near to Him. We also know He hears our prayers because God always hears the prayers of Jesus (see John 11:42). 

Interestingly, in both places where we are urged to draw near to God in light of Jesus’s priestly work, there is also a call to “hold” onto “our confession” (Hebrews 4:14; 10:23), referring to maintaining our faith. It seems that the Book of Hebrews was written to those who were experiencing hardships and persecution; the fact that Jesus was interceding as one who is like them and had gone before them should urge them to stay faithful even when things are difficult. His presence in heaven is a reminder that God is faithful (Hebrews 10:23) and will keep His promises to His people. One of those promises is that those who stay faithful to Jesus will receive the reward that he has obtained for us and is now modeling as one in the presence of God. Jesus has entered into the heavenly temple on our behalf as our forerunner and stands as an anchor for our soul, allowing us to be firm and secure because we know that God has kept and will keep His promise (Hebrews 6:20). Thus, Jesus’s presence in heaven is an encouragement and exhortation to faithfully following him while we are on earth.

It is often said that “it’s all about who you know” and that “it’s good to have friends in high places.” We are blessed to know one who is in heaven acting on our behalf and assuring us that we will be with him forever. Let us remember that we have this friend by drawing near to God and staying faithful to Him while we await being both with Him and like Him.

Questions about the Bible or theology? Email them to Pastor Brian at Theology@WeAreFaith.org. You can also email to be added to the list that receives weekly emails with our blog posts.

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