1Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. (Heb. 8:1)
Many people find the book of Hebrews hard to understand. If that’s you, at least make sure you understand the main point. Hebrews 8:1 tells us that the main point of the letter is that Jesus is seated, i.e. He is sitting down, at the right hand of the Father!
Why is that fact that Jesus is seated so significant?
The priests of the old covenant could never sit down since there was always more work to do. Gifts and sacrifices had to be offered daily, multiple times a day, year after year with no ending in sight. Not only did the high priests need to sacrifice for the sins of the people, but also for their own sins, imperfect human beings as they were. The priest had to keep standing as long as they were on duty. There was never an opportunity to sit down.
But Jesus is sitting down today. Why? Because the work is finished and there is no more work for Him to do. Because of the cross, sin has been put away, by one sacrifice, once for all (Heb. 9:26).
Not only did Jesus die for and remove the sins of the world. From his position of being seated at the right hand of the Father, He also ushered in a new and better covenant.
6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. (Heb. 8:6)
In this new and better covenant, God does not hold our sins and shortcomings against us.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. (Heb. 8:12)
Just like God rested on the 7th day after the completion of the creation of the world, Jesus is seated in a position of rest today, having opened up a “new and living way” to God through faith in Him, by which men become new creations in Him.
You might wonder: Isn’t Jesus still “working” by performing intercessory prayers for us today? It is a common idea among Christians that Jesus has a never-ending prayer ministry going on before the Father today in heaven (while seated next to Him). However, that does not seem to add up with the fact that Jesus is seated because the work is finished.
25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Heb. 7:25)
What does it mean that Jesus “always lives to make intercession” for the believers? If you study the context, you will find that this statement is directly referring to our salvation by grace through faith and that no more sacrifices for sins are needed – because Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father!
If this verse would be talking about a never-ending prayer ministry – how come the prayer life of Jesus seems to be so ineffective? Much of the world, including parts of the body of Christ, are in dire straits today. If Jesus has been praying full-time for the past 2000 years – shouldn’t we expect better results from His very powerful prayer life, since Jesus always prays in faith, in accordance with the perfect will of the Father, and therefore always gets his prayers answered?
26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. (Jn. 16:26-27)
I am convinced that Jesus is not involved in 24-hour a day prayer ministry today. His work is completed and because of that He is sitting down. It is today the responsibility of the church – not Jesus – to pray to God in the name of Jesus (based on the finished work of Jesus).
What then does it mean that Jesus intercedes for us? I believe it simply means that He is seated at the right hand of the Father as an eternal testimony that the work is finished, that no more sacrifice for sin is needed, that there is no condemnation for the one who is in Christ, and that the way to the Father is now open for everyone who believes in Him.
Make sure you get the main point of Hebrews. Jesus is seated. The work is complete. It is finished. Now it is up to us to “strive to enter His rest” (Heb. 4:11), which is to come to a place of total trust in Him and His finished work.