Intercession Pt.1 “Jesus as High Priest”
I am currently reading John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. It is a wonderful read, especially for someone that loves theology like I do. I am not all the way through it but I have gotten some deep insights into the truth of Christ’s work. One of those insights is in a wonderful section on the intercession of Christ before the Father. This intercession is wonderful and I believe that when understood it will change the perspective of the Christian’s life in Christ. There are two main aspects to this intercession and they are Jesus as High Preist and the mediation of Christ. We will look at Jesus as High Priest in part one then in the second part we will explore the mediation of Christ.
Jesus as High Priest
In the Old Testament the priest was responsible for bringing an offering before God for the sins of the people. In Leviticus 4:20 is says this, “Thus shall he do with the bull. As he did with the bull of the sin offering, so shall he do with this. And the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven.” We see here that the priest brings the bull and sacrifices the animal in place of the people’s sins. The reason behind this is that God demands the shedding of blood for there to be any over looking of sin as seen in Leviticus 17:11:
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.“
The New Testament compliments this in Hebrews 9:22 when the writer says, “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Blood is necessary for forgiveness because God demands it and if you look throughout the Old Testament these sacrifices had to be repeated over and over and over again. That is where Christ steps in!
Hebrews is a wonderful book. If you haven’t read through it I would encourage you to take the time to read through it and meditate on the passages. In Hebrews 10:1 we are shown the necessity for a prefect and holy sacrifice when it says, “For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.” Since the old sacrifices were needed continually they were not sufficient in perfecting anyone but Christ’s sacrifice was different. He was not only bringing forth a sacrifice but rather giving himself as the sacrifice seen in Heb. 10:19-22:
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.“
Jesus’ blood was given as a perfect and holy sacrifice which gives believers the freedom to approach God through that sacrifice (which will be addressed in part. 2) Unlike the Old Testament sacrifices it is sufficient for those that “draw near”. It does not simply appease God for a brief time but it is a long lasting sacrifice that will be looked upon with perfection by the Father.
To end this post I would like to quote the words that Jesus said to the Father and the commentary which follows in Heb. 10:8-10:
“When he said above, ‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings’ (these are offered according to the law), then he added, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will.’ He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
I pray that believers everywhere will hold to the truth that Jesus made his sacrifice to perfect them with his “once for all” sacrifice for sin.