That was the feeling I got all through the years when preachers would explain that term “intercessor,” from Hebrews 7:25.

. . . he [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.

This “intercession,” I was told throughout my growing-up years, was Jesus’ prayer to his Father not to slaughter His people, since He had taken the punishment.

It was an unsettling picture in my mind. The Father, angry and eager to destroy. The Son, who stood between Him and us, uttering prayers night and day, holding Him off.

I pictured the Father with a somewhat disgruntled assent. “Oh yes, oh, that’s right. You’ve paid the price. No, I won’t destroy them now.”

I had the impression that this scenario played out over and over and over . . . and over. Because Jesus always lives to make intercession for us.

When I first heard this Mark Altrogge song [link] those old feelings returned (though to be fair the picture I had in my head is probably not what the author intended):

When Satan’s accusations
Make my poor heart afraid,
I hear my King declaring,
“Father, that debt is paid.”

Jesus my only hope, my only plea,
My righteousness, my Great High Priest,
Who intercedes for me before the throne.
Jesus, I trust in You alone.

I think it was one of the times I was studying the book of Hebrews that I truly understood what was going on with the “intercession” of Jesus. It was a joyous thing.

Even though we usually use the term “intercession” to refer to prayer, the “intercession” (literally “going between”) of Hebrews 7:25 really isn’t about prayer at all, much less about trying to restrain the Father from executing a punishment (one that would be just, if only His Son hadn’t taken it instead).

Instead, chapter 7 of Hebrews is talking about how Jesus Christ has finished a priestly work. Here’s a fuller context, verses 23-25:

The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office,

but he [Jesus] holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.

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.

The Father and the Son are not at odds with each other, battling it out to see which one will triumph, the “Harsh Judge” or the “Loving Advocate.”

Instead, the “pleading” that the Interceding Son does on our behalf, is, if you will, a passive pleading, because everything necessary to bring God’s people into His loving family has already been accomplished. These powerful and encouraging words come from Hastings’ Great Texts of the Bible, published in 1914:

He intercedes by the exhibition of Himself in His Divine manhood, pierced for us, raised, and glorified. His five blessed and holy wounds are each one a mighty intercession on our behalf. The glorious tokens of His cross and passion, exhibited before the throne of God, plead for us perpetually. . . . His very presence in heaven is in itself an intercession for us. His sacrifice on the cross, though perfected by suffering of death only once in time, is in its power eternal. Therefore it stands a Divine fact—ever present and prevailing, the foundation and life of the redeemed world—before the throne of God.  

Do you see all the passive language there? Jesus intercedes by His very presence, even as He is seated at the right hand of God the Father, as Hebrews reminds us over and over. He already accomplished all that needs to be accomplished. The intercession, the pleading, is perpetual not because the Father is chomping at the bit to destroy while Jesus is barely restraining Him, but only because in heaven there is no marking of time.

The Father and the Son are noted by perfect dignity and absolute oneness of purpose. If you are believing and trusting in Jesus Christ, then the compassion and care with which the Son sees you is the very same compassion and care with which the Father sees you.

This same book of the Bible, Hebrews, tells us that Jesus is not only the brightness of the Father’s glory, but as the KJV says in Hebrews 1:3, He is

The express image of his [the Father’s] person.

The “express image” is literally, the “engraving.” The “person” is literally his “essence,” or His foundational reality.

I’ve expressed it elsewhere as Jesus being the features on the face of God.

How do you separate the features from the face?

You can’t.

If you trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, then the loving face with which Jesus sees you is the very same as the loving face with which the Father sees you. There is no need to live in perpetual dread of the Father or to see the Son as continuing to restrain His wrath—in fact, that would be dishonoring to who He truly is.

Here’s the joy for those who have become the children of God through identification with the perfect life, death, resurrection, ascension, and seating of Jesus Christ: God the Father is for you. He loves you. He delights in you. Be no more timid, but believing. Be strong in faith, rejoicing in your standing in Christ.

You can now come boldly before the throne of the Father, for this very reason. As a child of God, you can be confident that the Son and the Father are united in their love for you.

There is great joy in that.




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