What is Jesus doing now? Refs
Is Jesus just sitting in heaven waiting for the time to return to earth? Or is he actively at work controlling and guiding events on earth? How is he involved when we pray to God? What does the Bible mean when it says we can have “Christ dwelling in our hearts”? These questions are all concerned with what Jesus is doing now. Read on to find some answers!

Hebrews 7:23–8:6

Under the law of Moses, there were many priests who served God, who helped the people offer sacrifices day after day, but who ultimately died. Now we have only one priest—Jesus. He offered himself as a single sacrifice, and continues to live as our high priest.

1. In what ways was Jesus’ sacrifice different from the sacrifices offered under the law? (See 7:27–28.)
2. How does Jesus intercede for us (7:25)?
3. Hebrews 8:1 describes Jesus as seated at God’s right hand. What does this imply about his position and his work?
4. What does 8:2 say Jesus is doing now? What does this mean?
5. In what ways is the new covenant superior to the old covenant (8:6)?

Jesus our priest and mediator
Our sins cause us to become alienated from God. To be reconciled to God, we need to be forgiven and made righteous.
See Chapter 17. Sin. Jesus is the mediator who enables this to happen. He took away our sins through his death, so we can be at peace with God.
Mediator: a person who helps bring about peace between two others.

. . . the blood of Christ. . . cleanse[s] our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:14–15)

Jesus is a mediator in the sense that he enables us to be forgiven, to be reconciled to God, and to have eternal life.

His sacrifice opened the way between earth and heaven. At the moment he died, the curtain in the temple was torn in two, showing that the way into God’s presence had now been opened. Matthew 27:51

Advocate: a person who speaks in favour of another.
Jesus our advocate
Jesus also plays a role in speaking to God about us. The following verses describe what he does.

• “Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:34

• “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” 1 John 2:1

• “. . . he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25

• “For Christ . . . entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.” Hebrews 9:24

Jesus intercedes for us. He is our advocate at God’s right hand and he speaks to God on our behalf. In Romans, Paul describes this work of Jesus (referring to him as the Spirit):

. . . the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.(Romans 8:26)

Through the power of the Spirit, Jesus knows what we mean even if we cannot express it. He can speak to God about us, adding to our prayers things we have difficulty saying.

Jesus understands our temptations and human feelings, because he has experienced the same emotions.

. . . he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:17–18)

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15–16)

Jesus our priest and mediator:
1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; 4:14–16; 5:5–10; 6:20– 8:6; 9:11–15; 10:12,21; 12:24.
Jesus our advocate:
Romans 8:26,34; Hebrews 2:17–18; 4:15–16; 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1.
Jesus our Lord:
Ephesians 1:20–23; Philippians 2:9–10; Colossians 2:10; Hebrews 2:9; 1 Peter 3:21–22; Revelation 1:5.
Jesus in our hearts:
John 6:56; 14:2,23; 15:5; Romans 8:9–11; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:16–17; Colossians 1:27.

When we pray, it is really comforting to know that Jesus understands how we feel and can help us in our prayer.

Jesus our Lord
Jesus is now seated at God’s right hand, but he is not idle. The book of Acts describes Jesus as actively at work in the lives of believers:

• he poured out the Spirit at Pentecost; Acts 2:33
• he granted repentance and forgiveness of sins; Acts 5:31
• he controlled the work of Paul. Acts 16:7
• he appeared to people in visions; Acts 9:4–17; 22:17–18; 23:11

Revelation describes him as the “ruler of the kings of the earth”. Revelation 1:5 Peter describes his work like this:

Jesus Christ. . . has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. (1 Peter 3:21–22)

He has authority over angels and over affairs in the world. Paul describes it like this:

[God] raised [Christ] from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 1:20–23)

The Bible does not clearly distinguish between the work of Jesus now and what God his father is doing. But it does make it clear that Jesus is highly exalted, and has great power over the affairs of the world and the lives of believers.

Jesus in our hearts
Before Jesus went to heaven, he promised that he would make his home with believers.

If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)

Paul describes this as Christ “dwelling in your hearts through Ephesians 3:17 faith”. When he wrote to the Romans, he explained this further:

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:9–11)

So both God and his son help us to control our sinful nature and to develop spiritual characteristics.

• Jesus is our priest and mediator. His sacrifice enables us to be forgiven and to be reconciled to God.
• Jesus is our advocate, speaking to his Father on our behalf and helping us in our prayers.
• Jesus is our Lord, far above all human authorities. He controls events in the world and in the lives of believers.
• Jesus will be in our hearts if we love him and obey his teaching. He helps us control our sinful nature and assists us in developing spiritual characters.

1. Read Hebrews 9:15. This suggests that Jesus’ death also provides forgiveness for people who lived before he was born. How can that be? [Hint: read Hebrews 10:1–14.]
2. In what way did Jesus’ death open the way to God? How does this affect us in practise?
3. What does it mean to have “Christ dwelling in your hearts”? How does this affect us in practise?

1. Read Hebrews 6:20–7:17. List the various ways that Melchizedek and Jesus were similar.
2. Read all the passages on “Jesus in our hearts” that are listed on page 183 (and any others that you can find). What are the conditions that must occur before Jesus will dwell in our hearts? What are the consequences of having Jesus dwell in our hearts?

• BBB Study 7.7

9. Prayer
10. Worship
35. The sacrifice of Jesus
51. The fruit of the Spirit
52. Led by the Spirit