Intercession Exposition – Hebrews 7:14-28

When I make the statement, “I like classical music,” what do you think I am saying? Some might think, “Oh, Bro Oldfield likes opera.” Actually, there is very little opera that I like, because most of it is sung in foreign languages. I haven’t learned to understand it. The only exceptions are when the melody is so outstanding that the words are not important. Others might answer my statement: “Our pastor likes Strauss and Vienese waltz music.” Again, the syrupy sweetness of Strauss upsets my emotional stomach after a few minutes. To me, it’s like too many pieces of thick fudge or a third Nanaimo bar. Someone else says, “The preacher likes Stravinsky and the modern classical composers,” but I don’t like most of their discordant stuff. The point is, everybody has a different idea about classical music. And it’s sad to say that most people condemn it before they ever examine it in all its various phases.
There is a story about the 19th century Baptist preacher, John Broadus. Contrary to his own preference he was induced to hear a world-famous singer at a fancy concert hall. The man sang song after song – from opera – from European composers in French, Spanish and Italian. And with every song, Broadus’ opinion of the man was sinking lower and lower and lower. “If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” Or conversely, who can really enjoy it? But then at the end of the concert the soloist sang a beautiful rendition of the old folk song “Home, sweet Home.” It so moved Broadus that he went home singing the praises of the great baritone – because one song.
I like music, but there is a lot of classical music which doesn’t move me. And similarly, there are themes and doctrines in the Bible which don’t excite me – but they do others. Some doctrines don’t electrify me, because they are so intricate and deep that I have a tough time with them. And others are so common-place that where they once thrilled me, they don’t have the same effect today. But the theme of our text, takes us to one Bible doctrine which all Christians can understand and appreciate – the Lord Jesus Christ. “Jesus is the sweetest name, I know, and he’s just the same as his holy name.”
In this case, some Jewish saints had written to Paul about difficulties they had with his theology. They were apparently being urged by heretics to return to their Jewish roots and forsake the Lord Jesus. Among the arguments was that Christianity had no priesthood – as Israel had for so many centuries. There was no temple or holy tabernacle – as God had directed Moses and then David and Solomon. There were no daily sacrifices, and no yearly festivals. So many traditional Jewish religious rites had been stripped away in this new religion about this Messiah. To some people, this new form of worshiping – this simple worship of God – must be heresy.
Actually, this book shows that there is a temple, and there is a sacrifice greater than what Aaron and Moses had. And there is a priest Who is above any priest from the family of Aaron. The High Priest of Christianity serves God after the eternal order of Melchizedek – not Old Testament Levi. And unlike Levi, this Priest only offers sacrifice for others and not for himself, because He needed none. The High Priest of the Christian faith, did not die as did Aaron, and He is infinitely closer to the Father. The faith of the New Testament is purer, simpler, holier and higher than that of the Old Testament. So Paul urges those wishy-washy, doubting Thomases, not the leave the Christian faith. He says, the Old Testament religion was designed to prefigure the perfections of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the Book of Hebrews gives us some of the Bible’s strongest warnings against apostasy – falling away.
One of Paul’s points – which proves the superiority of Christianity over Judaism – is found in this verse. The priesthood of the Jews was contained in a chain of men – a succession of human beings. All those men were just that – men – with all the limitations which are natural to humanity. And in their turn, every one of them was taken away by death. They died because they were born – they were born with the sin nature of Adam. Their native sinfulness was not nullified just because they wore priestly robes. And as it is with all sinners, “it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment.” But as verse 17 says, Christ Jesus is a priest who lives unchangingly for ever. “THEREFORE he is able to save us to the uttermost seeing that he ever liveth to make intercession for us.”
Over 2,000 years ago the Lord Jesus voluntarily “yielded up his life as a ransom for many” – to redeem many. “When we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” And “God (proved) his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Then, “If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled we shall be saved BY HIS (never ending) LIFE.” And “Who is he that condemneth, it is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us” – Romans 8:34. He who loved us enough to die for us, now lives to complete God’s will in regard to salvation. We have an High Priest ever living to make intercession for us and applying the sacrifice which He made.
Isn’t that a wonderful and glorious thought? Christ is the perfect priest; the perfect friend; the perfect mediator between God and man. How many times has it been that someone shared with me an important prayer request. For a day or two that subject was on my mind, and I besought God for the person or need. But then during the next Prayer Meeting, I failed to mention that person, asking others to pray? That cannot happen, that will not happen, with our Saviour, who “ever liveth to make intercession for us.”
He intercedes for us when we are TEMPTED.
One day, many years ago, the Lord Jesus had a frank conversation with His disciple Peter. He said, Simon, “Satan has asked to have you that he might sift as wheat.” That is basically what Satan wanted to do with Job, David, and with all of us who claim to love God. Lucifer wants you to become a drunkard, a whore, a cheat, a thief, a miser, a grouch – an open sinner. He wants you, like Job, to “curse God and die.” Fortunately for us, even the Devil must ask the permission of Jehovah to seriously touch us. In the case of Peter, Christ specifically said, “But I have prayed for you that your faith fail not.” Sadly, after the arrest of the Saviour and before His crucifixion, Peter consorted with the enemy. He lied; he swore; he defected and he denied; he momentarily turned to the dark side. It was perhaps the most disgusting and awful day in Peter’s life. But in the end his faith failed not – because the Saviour interceded on his behalf.
Friends, “we have not an High Priest (who) cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities.” He feels – He knows the pain which wounds create within your physical body. He was severely beaten after His arrest; his beard was pulled out; there were gouges in His forehead. He may have had – probably had – cuts, lacerations, and an eye swollen shut. No one has suffered physical pain any more that Christ did while on the cross and in the hours just before. And He also knows first hand what pressures there are to sin against the God who loves us, because He was directly tempted by Satan. And at Gethsemane, He felt the temptation that we sometimes have to feel sorry for ourselves. Jesus knows the pain of loneliness and the desertion of “friends.” And with His personal experience in these things, He is at this very moment praying that Father would give you and me the grace to endure all our various kinds of sufferings. And not just to endure our temptations and trials, but to be more that conquerors. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common man, but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it.”
A poet put these words into the mouth of the Saviour: “The soul that on me that leaned for repose, I will not, I will not trust out to its foes. That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.” Someone, like Martha, says, “I know my soul is safe, and the Lord will return for me some day.” But there is more – He will never, no never, no never forsake us during the struggles of our Christian life.
The Saviour also intercedes when we ACTUALLY FAIL and FALL to that temptation.
Sad as the confession is: many, many, many times in our lives we do yield evil pressures. Christians sin. Must we then join the Arminians, and abandon our hopes for heaven, because of our failure to glorify God? The Lord forbid.
Listen to the words of the Apostle John – “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. (But) if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous….” What is an “advocate?” Generally speaking he is a lawyer and a manager in a court; he is an expert in the things of the law. But I John 2:1 is not talking about just any advocate; it is talking about Christ Jesus, the Son of the Judge. And he doesn’t twist the facts or lie, professing His client’s innocence when in fact we are guilty. This advocate doesn’t plead our merits and try to leave the impression that we are better than we actually are. As alien as the situation might be within the jurisprudence of this world, this advocate pleads HIS merits when interceding for the sinner. He pleads His sacrifice on Calvary; He pleads His own satisfaction for man’s sins against God’s laws.
The Greek Aeschylus had written some poetry criticizing the Athenian government. When he was brought in for trial, things didn’t look good for the man. He was obviously going to be condemned. Then just at the crucial moment the brother of accused arose in order to defend him. This he did successfully, but not with logic or lawyerly trickery. He didn’t plead the poetic form or beauty of Aeschylus’ verse, or his popularity with the people. The poet’s brother, Amyntas, a decorated Grecian soldier, sorely wounded in battle, simply pulled the stump of his amputated right arm out of his cloak. He plead his own wounds obtained in the defense of Athens. His pain and blood secured the release of the guilty man.
There is not a single Christian who does not deserve the Lake of Fire – in himself he still does. But there is an advocate who intercedes on our behalf. And He is not just looking to our past sins, but to our current sins as well. He pleads using several means, not the least of which are the 5 bleeding wounds He received on Calvary. They speak with effectual and fervent intercession for us – “It was for this person I died.” And here is our only hope as we continue to stumble through this sinful life. “He ever liveth to make intercession for us” continuing to plead His sacrifice.
The Lord Jesus also intercedes for us in our GRIEF.
Reach into that mental file of yours marked: “Jesus and the dead and dying.” In there we have articles on Jairus’ daughter; Lazarus, and the son of the widow of Nain. Check all the details contained in those files. What a storehouse of information there is about our Intercessor.
For example, think about Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, and see him weeping with the weepers. I used to think that it was only because of their unbelief that Jesus wept. I’m of the opinion now that He also wept because some of His friends were in great grief. His tears were an echo to the tears of Mary and Martha, just as tears of our friends draw tears from us. But then listen to what he said as He prayed, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.” What was it that the Father heard? The fact is, we don’t know and perhaps never will. Was Christ praying for permission to raise Lazarus from death? Perhaps. But is it too bold to say He had been praying for Lazarus’ sisters and the other grieving relatives and friends? How about all those well-wishers, reporters and visitors from Jerusalem? He could have been asking the Father to give them faith to believe what they were going to see. And He could have been praying for simple comfort.
Today, we don’t see Christ’s tears, or hear His words, but we are told that He still intercedes. In all our afflictions, in our tears, in our sorrows, what consolation there is in His intercession. “Yea, thou we walk through the valley of the shadow of death thou art there.”
And then, our Saviour intercedes when its our TURN TO DIE.
When we come to die, the Lord is there above to meet us. Since none of us have yet been at that crossroads, we can’t testify to any details. So I can’t say every saint is given the privilege to see the Saviour the moment of departure – but some do. For example, under the circumstances, it was important for Stephen to see the welcoming Savior. The vision wasn’t for Stephen, but rather for Saul of Tarsus and perhaps others. Stephen testified that he saw Heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of the Father. That position at the right of the throne was a place of privilege – and a place of intercession. Christ had been speaking to the Father on Stephen’s behalf. But as the man was dying, Christ stood – receiving him – as well as interceding for him. That good man left the world calmly and with a forgiving spirit, falling asleep with the Lord at his side, in part, because of Jesus’ intercession.
If the Lord Jesus doesn’t return during our lifetime, the death angel will come for us. It doesn’t matter if we are with loving friends at home, in an antiseptic hospital or far away in loneliness. Think of the interceding Saviour standing at the right hand of the Father. And then remember to say, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit,” and you too shall fall asleep in Christ Jesus.
And don’t forget that Jesus’ intercession stretches far into ETERNITY.
Not even death is the end of Jesus’ ministry to us. Because death is not the end of very much of anything. When Moses died, his body was carried into glory. But if we die, and our bodies are buried, cremated or left out in street to rot, the Saviour has a little green book, locating every cemetery and every body. “If we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.” He shall fashion new body out of our humiliation to be conformed to his glorious body. We have His continued interest, while in these corrupted bodies and that interest will continue even when we are clothed in our glorious body.
There is much in God’s Word that might confuse us and even bring some to boredom. But when it comes to discussing the Savior and any part of His ministry, what joy and excitement can be found therein. It fills our souls with smiles. Provided that we can say that we are children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.