As with the beginning of the Christian life, so with its continuation. Justification is a “once and for all” blessing: we don’t need to be re-justified. But Jesus won every blessing for us. As we walk through the many dangers, toils, and snares of this life, we need constant grace. Grace to resist temptation, grace to persevere when it feels as if we’re almost overwhelmed, grace to hang on when our faith is faltering. God in His wisdom has arranged the Christian life so that we are not instantly made perfect the moment that we become His children. Instead, over time, we learn dependence on Him and grow in faith, hope, and love. Each step forward is ultimately a result of Jesus’ asking His Father for the grace we need that day.
The intercession of Jesus, therefore, helps us see how personal His care for us is. It might be easy to slip into thinking that Jesus died for us, returned to heaven, and is now effectively retired from the work of saving His people. He has done His part, and now it’s up to us. But no. Notice the language of Hebrews again: “He always lives to make intercession.” Always. Jesus never switches off, never loses sight of one of His brothers and sisters, never grows cold to our daily battles. He knows our hearts, He knows our struggles, and He cares. He cares so much that He is constantly pleading for us, to ensure that we receive exactly what we need.
This is a tremendous encouragement to God’s people. We wonder whether we are praying for the right things, but Christ is the wisest of all men, so He knows exactly what to ask the Father for on our behalf. We fear that our prayers won’t be heard, but the Father delights to honor His Son, so Christ’s petitions will always be welcomed. We grow tired, distracted, and cold in our prayers, but Christ in His resurrection life is constantly interceding for us. We fall into sin, but Christ is already pleading our case, applying the blood of Calvary for our forgiveness. Christ indeed has far more compassion for us, pity for us, and love for us than we do for ourselves. He is, thank God, more committed to our safe arrival home than we are. Here is real assurance and comfort for the embattled Christian: my hope rests not on the fervency and purity of my prayer life but on that of the Lord Jesus Christ. There He sits, enthroned in heaven, above all angels, archangels, and cherubim, yet full of compassion for sinful, struggling sheep.
One final thought. It is not that Jesus must twist His Father’s arm to extract blessings for us. “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage” (Ps. 2:8). The Father and Son have joyfully agreed that Jesus ask for a saved people. And now, Father and Son delight to shower that people with cross-bought, grace-soaked blessings, poured out from heaven through the prayers of God’s Son.