What does it mean that Jesus is interceding for us in heaven?
In Hebrews 7:25 we read, "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." Why does Jesus intercede for us in heaven?
First, it is clear from this passage and others that the present location of Jesus is in heaven. One of the purposes of Jesus being there is to stand on our behalf before God the Father and make a way for believers to have access to God.
Second, the context of Hebrews 7 deals with the Old Testament concept of a priest who interceded before God on behalf of another. Yet unlike a human priest who can only intercede for a limited time, Jesus can intercede before the Father "to the uttermost" a phrase also translated "at all times." The contrast is between a human priest who can intercede temporarily and the role of Jesus as priest who interceded forever on behalf of His people.
Third, the meaning of interceding includes intervening on behalf of believers to provide forgiveness of sins. First John 2:1 points out, "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Jesus is the Advocate of the Christian, working on behalf of those who are His children in order to provide forgiveness and access to the Father.
Fourth, it is clear that Jesus is the only One who intercedes on our behalf before the Father. First Timothy 2:5 states, "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Acts 4:12 also teaches, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
There are many reasons Jesus and only Jesus can intercede on our behalf. He is perfect God and perfect man, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus fully understands our human experience and temptations. He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness and yet did not sin (Matthew 4:1-10). He lived a holy life and then paid the price for sin through His death on the cross (John 19:30). As 2 Peter 1:3 promises, "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence."
Further, Jesus is God's one and only Son. At the baptism of Jesus, God the Father spoke, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased" (Luke 3:22). John 3:16-17 makes clear, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
Jesus is presently in heaven, advocating on our behalf against the accusations of Satan. Jesus paid for our sin once and for all on the cross. He took on our sin that we might take on His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). As a result, we are now accepted as blameless before God and can boldly approach His throne. "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:14-16).
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