Jesus has done something for us that no one else ever could—He has entered God’s presence as our advocate. Scripture teaches that the temples built by Solomon and Herod were both just copies of God’s heavenly temple, something our author calls a “shadow” of the original (Hebrews 8:5). Priests in the order of Aaron and of the line of Levi serve in the earthly copy. They first make sacrifice for themselves and then they are able to intercede for others. Jesus is different.
In several places, the book of Hebrews says that Jesus is the one who has gone through the heavens and now serves as our high priest in the actual, heavenly temple, seated at God’s right hand, which is the place of all power and authority. His eternal life and unique status means that He never leaves His post and will never be replaced so “He always lives to intercede” for those who come to God through Him (Hebrews 7:25).
Just sit with that a moment. No matter what is going on in your life today you can be sure that Jesus always lives to intercede for you. This is a stable, unchanging fact! It is a stunning thought, but there is more.
In order to represent us, Jesus had to be like us in every way—every way, except without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Being born to a virgin in a stable in Bethlehem was the easy part. Now that He was human, He needed to experience what all humanity knows: suffering.
Hebrews 2:10 says that God made Jesus, who is the author of our salvation, perfect through suffering. The word “perfect” here has to do with being made equal to a purpose. Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for many and in order to do that He needed to know what it is like to suffer all things, even death. And so in obedience to the Father and for the joy set before Him, chapter 2 tells us that Jesus tasted death for everyone.
Now, tasting death sounds like eating finger foods at a reception, but this image could not be further from the truth. By tasting death, Jesus consumed the full force of death’s fury, the full force of suffering any human would ever have to endure.
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death…and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
“Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters” (Hebrews 2:11).
“Because he Himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15).
Jesus knows you. He knows your weakness and understands the struggle you are going through. And while you may feel shame for the things you carry, Jesus is not ashamed to call you his brother or sister! He fully accepts you and loves you as a member of His family. Every day Jesus occupies the place of highest authority at the Father’s right hand interceding on your behalf as your advocate.
At the same time, the Father wants this. He is delighted to have you as His son or daughter. He rejoices that Jesus has rescued you from death and eagerly listens to hear about you through Him. This was His plan born out of His love for you and me.
As we continue our journey through this uncertain time, let’s work to cement the truth of God’s love and Christ’s perfect advocacy in our minds. Each week I’d like to offer a spiritual practice that can help us do that. This week I encourage each of us to add the simple practice of daily musing on a small portion of God’s word and I recommend Hebrews 4:14-16.
Daily ask the Lord to speak to you and then, daily, read this passage slowly, being open to the places where God may want to speak. Be bold enough to enter into a conversation with Him. What does it mean that Jesus has gone through the heavens? What can I do to hold more firmly the faith I profess? Would you please reveal to me the faith that I do profess (see 4:12-13 for insight on this). When you enter dialogue and ask a question, take the time to sit and listen, even flip a few pages and read elsewhere. God and His word are living and active. He will converse with you. We just need to learn to quiet ourselves so we can hear His still small voice of love for you.
Jesus offered hope in the promises He gave us. Then, like an anchor for our souls, He carried that hope into God’s actual throne room and secured it to His throne of grace (Hebrews 6:19-20, another passage you could daily meditate on). That anchor will not budge and so we will not be shaken.
Hang in there dear friends. You are not alone. The Father is good. He knows your need and He has given us each other.