Jesus is busy. He is active. But what is He doing? What has He been doing since His resurrection? It is vital that you understand!
Jesus is on the job, standing ready to intervene in your life, to deliver you from trouble, to help you overcome your problems. Not only is He preparing to return soon to earth as King of kings, but He is right now your High Priest. As such, He makes it possible for you to have contact with — to be a begotten child of — the Father, the source of everything good and perfect (Jas. 1:17). All this is extremely important for you! Do you realize that previous to Jesus' first coming people did not pray to God the Father? They did not know Him personally. Any real relationship people had with God was with the "Eternal," the One who became Jesus Christ. Jesus is the One who created the earth, who sent the Flood, who dealt with Moses and Israel and the prophets, who inspired David and who, some 2,000 years ago, became a human being in order to die in our place and bear our sins (John 1:1-3, 14, I Cor. 10:1-4). Jesus has been dealing with humanity since creation. In so doing, He has been fulfilling the will of God the Father. To understand what Jesus is doing now, we must understand something about the relationship between Jesus and His Father.
Two great Beings — in unity
The Bible shows that God the Father is the supreme authority. He is over all. "My Father is greater than I," Jesus said (John 14:28). He stated, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38). In fact, Jesus declared: "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner" (John 5:19). There is perfect unity between the two Beings who make up the Godhead. Jesus does whatever the Father does. And "the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does" (verse 20). Consider for a moment just how great the unity in the God Family is. Two cannot walk together except they be agreed (Amos 3:3). The reason is simple: If two start to walk together and there exists the slightest difference, even a millionth of a degree, in their speed or direction, given enough time, there will eventually begin to be a discernible difference in speed or direction. As time goes on, the difference will become more evident until finally the two parties will cease altogether to walk as a pair. The two members of the God Family have been walking together from eternity. And they are still walking together because there isn't the slightest disharmony between them. They are one in purpose and spirit. They have the same plans, share the same outlook, uphold the same principles and way of life. No wonder Jesus could state, "I and My Father are one" (John 10:30). For the disciples to have seen the Son was, in effect, the same as seeing the Father (John 14:9), so much was Jesus "the express image of His [the Father's] person" (Heb. 1:3).
Christ must reveal the Father
Time and again during what is commonly called the "Sermon on the Mount," Jesus pointed to the Father (verses 8, 14-15, 18, 26, 32, 7:11, 21), introducing the Father, as it were. It is true that in the Old Testament there are a few direct references to the great Being we know as God the Father, such as Daniel 7:13, where God the Father is described as the "Ancient of Days." And the Hebrew word Elohim. translated "God," is uniplural, showing the existence of more than one Person in the Godhead. But human beings did not have access to God the Father. One of the missions of Jesus during His life on earth was to reveal the Father. "O righteous Father!" Jesus prayed, "the world has not known You... And I have declared to them [the disciples] Your name" (John 17:25-26). Notice to whom Jesus revealed the Father. Did He reveal Him to the world? No! "To them" — to the disciples, to God's Church. As amazing as it may seem, the world still does not know the real God the Father any more than it knew Him in Old Testament times! Neither does it know the authentic Jesus Christ! Jesus declared that no one knows the Father "except the Son, and he to whom the Son wills to reveal Him" (Matt. 11:27). No one can come to Jesus except the Father chooses and draws him or her (John 6:44, 65). God the Father decides who shall understand truth and who shall remain blinded (Matt. 11:25-26, 16:17). Once God the Father has chosen His children, He draws them and gives them to Jesus, whose responsibility — and a heavy one it is — is to save them (John 6:37-39, 17:9-12, I Thess. 5:9).
Pictured by the physical Tabernacle
We can better understand exactly what Jesus, as High Priest, is doing for us if we keep in mind the general plan of the physical Tabernacle set up in ancient Israel. Its design and the way it was laid out are rich in meaning. The Tabernacle itself was divided into two compartments: the Holy Place where priests ministered and, blocked off by a veil, the Holy of Holies. Only the high priest was allowed to go through the veil into the Holy of Holies, and then only once a year on the Day of Atonement. What was in the Holy of Holies? The golden mercy seat, picturing the very throne of God. In other words, no one but the high priest had access to God's throne. The veil kept everyone else out. Jesus is the true High Priest. He has access to the throne of God the Father. He sits at the right hand of God.
Once God the Father has chosen His children, He draws them and gives them to Jesus, whose responsibility — and a heavy one it is -... is to save them...
We, however, would be unable, as under the Old Covenant any one other than the high priest was unable, to come personally before God's throne. Our access would be blocked as surely as the blue, purple and scarlet veil blocked entrance into the Holy of Holies. We would forever be kept out. Except — Except for a factor of supreme importance: the merits of the sacrifice of the Son of God. We have all been cut off from God because of our sins (lsa. 59:1-2). Jesus died in our stead so our sins can be forgiven, so we can be reconciled to God (Rom. 5:8-11). An event of great significance took place in the Temple at Jerusalem the moment Christ died. The veil that kept us out of the Holy of Holies was torn in two: "Jesus, when He had cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom" (Matt. 27:50-51 ). Imagine the shock of any priest who happened to be near the veil at the time. Men would have naturally ripped it from the bottom to the top. But this was from God — the tear started at the top and went to the bottom of the veil. And it was ripped in the very center, "in twain" (Authorized Version), allowing the most direct access to the throne of grace. The veil represented the torn flesh of Jesus (Heb. 10:20). Since He died for us, we, being cleansed from our sins, can enter the Holy of Holies through Him, and only through Him. There is no other way (John 14:6). "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest [the Holy of Holies] by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God [the Church], let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:19-22).
Our great High Priest
Think of the advantage we have now! Thanks to Jesus, we not only have the privilege of talking to God the Father, but we also have a holy High Priest who ministers for us in so many ways. He intercedes for us, lending His merits to our prayers. Even our best efforts are so often imperfect. They fall short of the mark. But God looks at Jesus Christ, who is holy, blameless, without spot. Jesus' shed blood covers all our iniquities, upon our repentance. Through Jesus we are acceptable to God. This was portrayed by the service in the physical Tabernacle of old. When the high priest went into the Holy of Holies he wore a gold plate on his hat, at the top of his forehead, there where it would be most visible to the great God seated between the cherubim. On that plate were engraved the words "Holiness to the Lord." That's what the eyes of God focused on. God didn't look for faults in the offerings, nor for shortcomings in the human beings that were represented. Had He done so, He would have found many. Instead He looked at the holiness represented by the high priest. "So it [the gold plate] shall be on Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they [the gifts of the children of Israel] may be accepted before the Lord" (Ex. 28:38). Because Jesus was sinless, because of His righteousness, when He brings our prayers and offerings before the Father, God sees His faultless Son — true "Holiness to the Lord" — and our sincere efforts, imperfect as they may be, are "accepted before the Lord." Jesus also gives us permission to pray directly to the Father in His name (John 15:16). That is to say by His authority, on His merits, on His account. When we do so He stands behind our prayers. Jesus understands our weaknesses. He was once human Himself. He knows what we have to struggle against. He is able to express our feelings to the Father: "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:15-16). Who among us never has a "time of need"? Why face it alone? Jesus is our advocate (I John 2:1). That means He speaks in our behalf. He is Immanuel, "God with us" (Matt. 1:23), "a very present help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1, 7). But Jesus doesn't stop there. He does more, much more, for us.
Saved "by His life"
Jesus also answers our prayers. There is no contradiction between John 14:13-14, where Jesus says He will answer our prayers, and John 15:16, where we read that the Father will answer them. Jesus is the channel through whom God the Father works. Jesus does the Father's will as the Father's instrument. God is the Creator of all things, yet it was Jesus who did the creating (Col. 1:16, Eph. 3:9). God gives the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 26), but Jesus sends it (John 15:26, 16:7). God spoke, but He spoke through Jesus (John 14:10). God did miracles, wonders and signs, but He did them through Jesus (Acts 2:22).
God the Father must know that we will do His will... "I always do those things that please Him, " Jesus said (John 8:29). Can we say the same?
God gives us victory, but He does it "through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 15:57). God shall raise the dead (I Cor. 6:14) but it will be done "by Jesus" (II Cor. 4:14, Authorized Version; John 5:25-28). God judges "each one's work" (I Pet. 1:17), but He has committed "all judgment to the Son" (John 5:22, Acts 17:31). Jesus so perfectly fulfills the will of His Father that it may be said that if Jesus does it, the Father wills it, and vice versa. God has total confidence in His Son. "All things have been delivered to Me by My Father," Jesus announced (Matt. 11:27). If any of us wish to be sons and coheirs with Christ of "all things" (Rom. 8:17, 32), we need to likewise gain the confidence of God the Father. God the Father must know that we will do His will, that our actions, our words, our motives, our thoughts, our desires — all that is us — will express the perfect reflection of God's will. It must become an automatic equation that if we do, think or say something, it goes without saying that God the Father wills it and approves it. "I always do those things that please Him," Jesus said (John 8:29). Can we say the same? At this point some may throw up their hands and exclaim, "It is not humanly possible to come to that degree of conversion!" And they are exactly right! It is not humanly possible. Jesus helps us here, too. He — the One who always did the Father's will rather than His own (Luke 22:42) — will live His life in us through the Holy Spirit. He will direct our thoughts (II Cor. 10:5). He will give us strength to overcome and obey God's laws (Phil. 1:11). He will give us His faith (Gal. 2:20) and joy (John 17:13) and peace (John 14:27). Our hope — our only hope — of ever attaining glory is Christ in us (Col. 1:27). What we need to do is get out of the way. That means to yield, surrender and mortify the self. We must let Christ be formed in us (Gal. 4:19). It doesn't happen overnight. It is an ongoing process that must be taking place in our lives. When we consider all Jesus is busy doing for us, it becomes clearer than ever that we are saved not by His death, which justified us, but day in and day out by His life (Rom. 5:10), by His activities as our High Priest. You don't need to fight your battles by yourself. You don't need to trust in your own wisdom and strength. You don't need to carry burdens of anxiety and worry. Jesus is on the job now for you. Jesus is your Shepherd (Heb. 13:20), your Redeemer (Isa. 59:20), your Counselor (Isa. 9:6), your Light (John 8:12), your Rock, salvation and defense (Ps. 62:2), your Healer (Ex. 15:26), your Mediator (I Tim. 2:5) and your Lord, strong and mighty (Ps. 24:8), to name just a few of His titles. Get to know both Jesus and God the Father better. Learn to be at one with them as they are with each other (John 17:20- 23). If they be for you, who can be against you (Rom. 8:31)?