‘But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.’
Who intercedes? There is nothing we value so much as the prayers of the Lord’s people. How it encourages and strengthens us if we know that a number of Christian people are making us the subjects of prayer! But the prayers of all the saints in heaven and earth would not be equal in value to one word of the Lord Jesus on our behalf. What encouragement, fellow-believers, we must draw from this – we have the prayers of the Lord Jesus on our behalf.
A minister once said, ‘The blessing of my life has been a praying mother’. Every Christian can go one farther than that and say, ‘The blessing of my life has been a praying saviour, One who continually makes intercession for me’.
The intercession of Christ – I don’t think we have been giving it its proper place.
The Importance of Christ’s Intercession.
1) We see this from the Old Testament priesthood.
As the Shorter Catechism teaches us, the priest has a twofold duty, a) to offer up sacrifices and b) to make intercession.
First he offered up a sacrifice to take away the sins of the people, but then he went into the presence of God as an intercessor to plead on behalf of the people. Now does not the fact that the offering up of the sacrifice was outside the Holy of Holies and the intercession within the Holy of Holies; and this other fact that while all the other priests, ordinary priests, might offer up sacrifice, yet the high priest alone could enter the Holy of Holies and make intercession – do not those two facts seem to imply that intercession was the more honourable part of the priestly office? And if so, is there not a danger not of our attaching too much value to Christ’s sacrifice for sin – for that would be impossible – but of our failing to give to His intercession that consideration and importance that are its due.
2) We see this from the way the Scriptures speak of it.
For example, Romans 8:34: ‘Who is He that condemeth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.’ Let God’s people be full of confidence from this fact, Christ died, but there is a ‘yea, rather’, that is, there is something that brings them a stronger encouragement even than Christ’s death, that is His resurrection. But there is a fact more assuring and encouraging still, He is at the right hand of God, ‘who is even at the right hand of God.’ There yet remains the crown, the top-stone of all assurance in the intercession, ‘who also maketh intercession for us.’ In a word, the intercession of Christ, of all the facts, is that which fills the believer with fullest assurance, for it shows that not merely His Blood as seen in His death, nor the power as seen in His resurrection and ascension, but the Love of Christ as seen in His entreaties is employed on our behalf.
‘Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum; we have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the Heavens’ ( Hebrews 8:1)
The Word ‘Sum’ means climax.
The chief point is this, that is, of the priesthood of Christ with which this epistle deals, the chief, the top of all is His intercession. Let us glory above all in this, we have a great High Priest who is passed into the Heavens to appear in the presence of God for us. Wherefore He is able to complete our salvation, not – He died, but seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for us.
3) From the Design of His Intercession.
He does not obtain redemption for us by His intercession. Before He entered Heaven, He had obtained redemption yes, ‘eternal redemption for us.’ ‘By His own blood, He entered in once into the Holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.’ His payment of our debt was in full. If He had come and died over again, He could have added nothing to the perfection of His redemption. What then is the value, the design of His intercession? This: by His intercession He puts us in possession of that redemption which His blood purchased for us; by His death He procures, by His intercession He applies redemption.
Here is an instance often given. On the cross He not only bore the sin of many, but He also made intercession for the transgressors. He prayed, ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do’; and by that prayer three thousand were converted on the day of Pentecost. His intercession secured the application of the redemption which His blood purchased to the very men who had taken and crucified and slain Him. How gloriously precious Christ's intercession, since through it we enter into the enjoyment of those blessings which He purchased by His Blood!