Pastoral 2013

Our Risen and Exalted Christ - Part II

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 07 April 2013

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Our Perpetual Intercessor

Christ’s abiding presence before God as our High Priest provides us with a powerful and effective intercessor. Hebrews 7:25 affirms: “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.” In chapter 9 verse 24, it is also unequivocally declared that Christ has entered heaven “now to appear in the presence of God for us”.

The Lord Jesus lives a mediatorial life for us in heaven. He not only died for us, but also lives for us and intercedes for us. Having offered a perfect sacrifice for us, He appears before the Father to plead our case on the merit of His perfect work. Thus, His intercession before God, on our behalf, secures our eternal redemption.

This truth is also reiterated by John: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Likewise, Paul says in Romans 8:34, “Who is he that condemneth? 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.” Whether it is another person or our own conscience that accuses us of our sins, we can find assurance in the knowledge that Christ intercedes for us before God. O, what a Saviour is Jesus my Lord!

Our Forerunner to Heaven

The exalted Christ is depicted as our forerunner to heaven: “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:19-20).

The Greek word for “forerunner” (prodromos) means “the one who went before” or “the one who ran on ahead”. Its implication here is that of a precursor, that is to say, one who goes on ahead in order to show the way or to pioneer on behalf of someone else. Since here it is used with the imagery of a harbour (“anchor” – v. 19), it gives the picture of the role of sailors who leave their ship in a small boat in order to carry the anchor forward to a place where it can be firmly lodged.

By entering the heavenly sanctuary as our High Priest, Christ has provided a firm anchorage for our souls concerning our hope of heaven; and in this regard He is our forerunner to heaven. He entered God’s presence on our account, preparing the way for our entrance. So we can say “Jesus led me all the way”.

Having such a forerunner in Christ, our High Priest, our hope cannot be shaken loose amidst the storms and tempests around us. Jesus went ahead of us into heaven so that we have a safe passage to that celestial home He is preparing for us (cf. John 14:3).

“And hitherto my Lord hath led,
Today He guides each step I tread,
And soon in heav’n it will be said,
Jesus led me all the way.”
— John W. Peterson

Our Sympathetic Succourer

Finally, Christ is depicted as our sympathetic helper, who now lives in heaven. In His exalted position in heaven, He is not forgetful or unconcerned about our woes on earth. He lives as the sympathetic High Priest. This is yet another truth that is relayed to us in Hebrews about Christ, our enthroned Priest at the right hand of God. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus does not live in heaven as far removed from our troubles and concerns. He had experienced intense assault of temptations and trials while He was on earth (cf. Hebrews 5:7). Yet, He never succumbed to satanic assaults of sin. In all His thoughts, words and actions, He remained holy and faithful to His God.

Being acquainted with our struggles, He is a true representative before God. He understands our fears, troubles, hurts and sorrows. He also fully understands the severity of sinful temptations, though He triumphed over them. So, He is sympathetic towards us when we call on Him for His help in our struggles. Hebrews 2:18 promises us, “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” He is both willing and able to help us.

Conclusion

Oh, what a Saviour is Jesus our Lord! Though highly exalted above all, yet so condescending to attend to our cries! So supreme in majesty, and yet so full of tenderness and compassion! While dwelling in unspeakable triumph and jubilant glory, Christ is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities”.