Hebrews 9:1-15 | "1 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. 2 For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, 4 having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. 5 Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. 15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant."
DREW: Point two: Jesus, as our High Priest, always lives to make intercession for us. Now, what I want to do here is go to Hebrews, chapter 7, verses 23 to 25, and read those because this deals with Jesus’s priesthood as well. “The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he 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 first there is that the priesthood of the old covenant was not continuing through just one priest. That was impossible, because as the priest died that was it for them, but it says here, “Jesus holds his priesthood permanently,” not because He didn’t die, but because He conquered death and rose again and so it says, “He continues forever,” so it’s an eternal priesthood.
Let’s look at the idea of intercession and we see “He always lives to make intercession for them” or for us. It means to approach on behalf of someone. Jesus approaches God on our behalf. First Timothy 2:5 says, “There is only one mediator between God and human beings, between God and his people, the man Christ Jesus.” So as our intercessor, what does Jesus do? Well, of course, He prays for us. We’re going to get there, but I want us to think about something else. Everything that we do down here in this world; think about this Bible study, think about your work, your relationships, your marriage relationship, relationships with your children, your work in the community. Everything that we do down here passes through Jesus, our mediator, is perfected by Him and presented to the Father. Or think of it this way: Everything we do down here passes through Jesus, it’s presented by Jesus to the Father, and is thereby perfected. It has to. Spiritually we’re in Christ; we’re not in ourselves. And much, if not -- I wouldn’t say all, but think about the things we do, the good things we do. Our motives are impure. We may do them half-heartedly. We may grumble. We may get angry in an unrighteous way, but our heart is we want to offer this to the Lord and Jesus says, ‘I’ve got you covered, because everything that you do as my people has to pass through me.’ You are in Christ; you are spiritually in union with Him. It’s not us where we have to circumvent Christ to get to the Father. We can’t get to the Father. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” That’s not just for what we call getting saved or salvation, past tense, it’s for life, every moment of every day. It’s very important, so think about that. That should help alleviate some of our concerns, if not all of our concerns for the imperfect nature of the things that we do down here for the Lord. It passes through Jesus, Jesus presents it to the Father, and your work is thereby perfected.
Now, think about First Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” That’s what we want to do with everything and, again, I’m laboring the point, because I want you to get it. “Everything we do passes through Jesus, it’s presented to Jesus by the Father, and is thereby perfected. So everything we do for the glory of God that we know we don’t do perfectly is nonetheless perfected and because it’s through Jesus it’s accepted by the Father because of what He does.
Now, think of Jesus always living to make intercession for us. Here’s what Luke 22, verses 31 and 32 say, Jesus is talking to Peter, remember this, “Simon, “Behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” Now, Peter denied Jesus three times. He repented, he exercised faith, and his faith did not fail, but think about the challenges that we must face if the Apostle Peter had this said about him by Jesus. “Satan has demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat.” Whoa. And Jesus prayed for him and this is the kind of heavenly intercession that Jesus, the Son of God, does on our behalf, that our faith might not fail.
How does it help us to know that Jesus is praying for us?
NANCY: I just find it an awesome idea. I mean, to know that Jesus and who He is would pray for me. It’s just, you know, it’s fantastic. You know, who else would you want to pray for you? I mean, that’s --
DREW: It’s mindboggling.
NANCY: It is. That’s a good word for it. It’s mindboggling. It’s really phenomenal.
DREW: It is and, you know, I want to hear what you have to say. Penny is next, but I want to read. Jesus says in John 17, “I am praying for them as disciples.” And then He goes on, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” So there’s an indication there in this upper room discourse that Jesus is praying for all people who will believe in Him through the message of the apostles, which by extension is all of us.
PENNY: I just was thinking when Nancy was speaking so genuinely and authentically, I was just thinking how much I don’t pray for people like I should. You know, I fail so miserably and yet when I think of what you’re presenting with Jesus praying for me it just makes me want to pray so much more for everybody else, to give that kind of love and support and care. And, you know, prayer is a powerful, powerful means that God uses and He choses to use through us and I just thought it was really tender when I was watching Nancy say that.
DON: I can’t help but think about times in my own life when you were alluding to we start out with good intentions, a pure heart, a desire to do the right thing and in the midst of that sin creeps in and suddenly our motive, or my motive, was no longer pure. I can think of a couple cases where it was revenge. I felt my heart creeping towards revenge, but that’s not here I started. So based on what you’re saying what I understand through this passage and the fact that Christ has interceded and has presented what I started out as pure as holy pure, as fully pure. I didn’t mess it up. I may have in my humanness, but Christ sees it for what it really was and presents that to God and I take a lot of solace in that.
DREW: That’s good and that goes well with my second question. How does it help us to know that all that we do down here passes through Jesus is presented by Jesus to the Father, he’s our only mediator, and is thereby perfected? Think about that. Get your arms and mind and heart around that, because remember Satan is the accuser. And one of the things I want us to see is how important it is to understand the truth, because Satan will accuse us of impure motives, of self-centeredness, of self-righteousness, and he’s right, but everything we do passes through Jesus, is presented to Him by the Father. We want to keep thinking that.
NANCY: Okay. So I need a little bit of clarification, because it’s a very -- I think it’s a very deep concept and it’s a very awe inspiring concept what you’re talking about. And to go back to what Don was saying, you know, if you start out with good and pure intentions, but then you have something that happens in your brain and you become more, you know, vengeful for whatever reason or you have a situation that makes you feel like you need revenge or you’re jealous or whatever those bad emotions are, you can’t keep doing that. You need to repent. So it kind of helped me understand a little bit better, yes, Jesus is presenting this to God in light of Jesus’s sacrifice for our sins, but I also need to be repenting.
DREW: Oh, there’s no doubt. This is only one aspect of the Gospel and how this happens we all would admit, because we know it -- Jesus cleanses us of our sins. So when we do something down here and our goal is to honor Him and we don’t, what does He do? He cleanses it. It passes through him and He presents it to the Father, but there are other aspects to the Gospel like repentance. You know, we have to have our minds renewed by the truth of God’s word and as we have our minds renewed the Spirit -- we live life in Christ and by the Spirit and as our minds are changed we shouldn’t have the same issues arise from the same action that maybe we had a year ago. So maybe we were extremely jealous a year ago and today we did the exact same thing with the exact same person and just a little bit of jealousy cropped up, because we’ve been working in other areas. So this isn’t the comprehensive Gospel, it’s not the comprehensive scripture, but it’s a very important aspect of it. So as we learn and grow and understand repentance, change of mind, change of actions, flying to Christ, putting off the old nature, all of that in conjunction with this. So it doesn’t negate repentance, the two aren’t mutually exclusive, but we’re just not talking about the doctrine of repentance primarily here, but it’s absolutely a necessity. It’s a very good question.
LOLLIS: I have this interesting -- my background is in sales and when you say presenting to someone, I have this vision of a sales team and somebody representing the group and being up front and making a presentation and, you know, you want your most eloquent well-spoken person. And then to imagine that my presenter of my life, of things that have happened to me, I have Jesus presenting that to God. I mean, I’ve been on sales teams where the presentation did not go particularly well. I wasn’t the presenter then. It always went well when I presented, but it was when those other people presented, but, hey, I’ve got the perfect presenter who pleads the case perfectly and sometimes it’s difficult when He’s having to work with me. I mean, I’m a much tougher person to present for sometimes, but He presents it very well and I’m covered by His blood making it all perfect.
DREW: Yeah. That’s so true. Don, hold that for a thought, but remember when God sees us, He sees us through the blood of Christ. That’s how clean we are. We cannot get into heaven except that we are as perfect as Jesus Christ himself. The only people God can see face to face are those who have the perfection of Christ. That’s it. Nobody else. Not even close.
That’s why when you look at scripture when Jesus in His glorified form presented himself -- revealed himself to Paul on the Damascus Road he was blinded. John in Revelation, chapter 1, “I fell down as though dead.” You cannot look upon that and yet we will see Him as He is. First John 3:2, “We will be like him, we will see him as he is, because we’re his children.” How could we possibly see Him as He is if we are as perfect as Jesus is? That’s the only way. So go ahead.
JOHN: Well, we’re using the term presenter that Christ is presenting us to the Father as being in right relationship, in being cleansed, pure, but I’m thinking to myself is it that He’s presenting us to the Father or is it that the Father, when He looks at us, He’s seeing Christ?
DREW: You know, I don’t think those two exclude the other either, because He sees we’ve been clothed with the righteous garment or robe of Jesus, so, yeah, He sees the perfection of Jesus when He looks at us, again, because scripture teaches that. Just like scripture teaches with the nature of the high priest and always making intercession. He’s going to present what we do to the Father. It’s kind of like, maybe not exactly, but you think of the heavenly ladder in John 1:51, Jesus says -- and he said this to Nathaniel, Jesus did, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man,” and it’s the idea of angels ascending and descending. It’s kind of like our relationship with Christ. You know, God will see -- He’s going to descend and look at us and see we’re covered with the blood of Christ and then Christ is going to present ascend and present His blood and the things that we do are going to be cleansed to the Father and I think it’s that kind of relationship.
PENNY: But I think even more so we look at it and we think what I’ve done and even the best that I’ve done it’s perfected in Christ. I mean, as much as I think my heart is right when I’m doing a good deed, for example, it’s not even good and it’s Jesus that takes it and perfects it and it’s so beautiful, but the fact He wants that from me that’s what’s so amazing. I mean, that’s the love He has for us that He wants that from us. I don’t know. That’s just what strikes me is that.
DREW: That’s great.