I trust that everyone had a Happy Easter and Resurrection Sunday. In our study yesterday, we learned that King Jesus is our eternal and living High Priest. In this office of High Priest, there are two really big ideas that we should cherish: 1) Christ is our Intercessor, and 2) Christ is our Reconciler. As we read yesterday, both of these ideas are conveyed in the Westminster Larger Catechism. Let’s take a moment to refresh ourselves in that beautiful statement:
Q. 44. How does Christ accomplish the office of a Priest?
A. Christ accomplishes the office of a priest:
in offering himself to God as a spotless sacrifice
to be the reconciliation for the sins of God’s people;
and in making continual intercession for them.
Let’s unpack these two terms together for a moment.
First of all, Christ is our Intercessor. The word “intercede” means “to interrupt, interfere, or intervene.” At first glance, this idea should make us uncomfortable because it tells us – if you will forgive the phrase – that Christ sticks his nose in our business. He interrupts us. Generally speaking, we are all impatient with people who interfere with our lives and – without invitation – intervene in our affairs. Yet, in regard to Christ, we have to consider the matter in a larger context. For example, suppose for a moment that you are in a dangerous situation. Imagine that a violent man has a gun pointed at you and your family and you are defenseless. At that moment, wouldn’t you welcome an intrusion? Wouldn’t you be delighted that someone – with the ability to subdue the threat – would step in and take down the assailant? This is what King Jesus did for us. He saw the danger that we were in – even when we did not – and he stepped in. Without an invitation – and without permission – he graciously and powerfully interrupted human affairs to take down our enemies – sin, shame, death, slavery, hell, and satan. Furthermore, he stepped in to protect us from the wrath of God that would eventually be poured out against our sin. The truth was that we were in much more danger than we would have ever realized. Left to ourselves, because of our blindness, we would have never extended an invitation for Christ’s help. Yet, bless his name forever – he interrupted our mindless expedition into death! Praise King Jesus, he interceded for his people!
Second of all, Christ is our Reconciler. The word “reconcile” means “to make peace between two enemies.” In this regard – if our theology is not properly understood – we might be confused. Didn’t we just say that – as our Intercessor – that Christ defeated our enemies? If that is true, then what enemy do we have that needs Christ’s work of reconciliation? In actuality, the greatest enemy that we had, was not sin or satan – it was God. Now this may come as a shock to us. But the Bible makes it clear that before Christ’s work was applied to us – we were God’s enemies. Because of our sinful state – God’s justice could not be satisfied with anything other than our eternal punishment under his wrath. We were “vessels that were prepared for destruction.” Yet, as our Reconciler, Christ sacrificed his life to pay for our sin. He became our “propitiation”. This means that he took the punishment that was meant for us. He stood “in between” us and God’s Wrath. That’s good news. But let’s be abundantly clear. In performing this work of reconciliation, King Jesus did not just ‘appease’ God’s wrath. No! He did much more. In fact, the precious sacrifice of Christ was so wonderful, and so great, so sumptuous, so lavish, so luxurious, and so magnificent – that it won for us God’s absolute delight! So now, not only are we not God’s enemies – but because of King Jesus our Great High Priest – we are actually God’s treasure. Along with Christ Himself – we are God’s greatest joy! Again, praise King Jesus, he reconciled His people to God!
For further study:
Jesus as our Intercessor.
Luke 1:68-71, 74 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us… (so that) we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve God without fear.
Question: Why did God subdue our enemies?
Hebrews 7:25 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.
Question: What does it mean that we are “saved to the uttermost” from our enemies (Sin, Shame, Slavery, Death, Hell, and Satan)? With this in mind, how much power do our enemies have over us?
Jesus as our Reconciler.
Romans 9:22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.
Question: How is God’s Wrath far more terrifying than any of our other enemies?
Hebrews 2:17 Therefore (King Jesus) had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in the service of God, to make propitiation (suffer the wrath of God) for the sins of the people.
Question: Why did King Jesus have to become like us in every respect (yet without sin) in order to suffer God’s wrath for us?
Ephesians 1:7-8 In (King Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.
Question: What does the Bible say about the quality and quantity of King Jesus’ reconciling work of grace?
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior (King Jesus) who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but he will rejoice over you with singing.
Question: How does it make you feel that, because of King Jesus, God “rejoices over you with singing?”