To lead us into a time of confession this morning, I want to circle back to the Book of Hebrews Chapter 7. In last week’s sermon we saw that Jesus — because he is our priest in the same order of Melchizedek — Hebrews 7:25 says that he “always lives to make intercession” for us.
So what does that mean? What does it mean to intercede for someone?
Basically, when you intercede for someone you are intervening on their behalf. You are in essence pleading and petitioning a higher authority for the sake of someone else. And so when it comes to Jesus, he is with God the Father interceding for us.
And there’s another word that describes this in the New Testament. It’s that Jesus is our advocate. 1 John 2:1 says that “if anyone sins, we have advocate with the Father, Jesus the righteous.” And what does an advocate do? He intercedes. There’s a legal element to it. Jesus our advocate has our back. He makes a case for us.
He is with God the Father interceding, intervening, pleading, on our behalf — and so at this point, whether we like it or not, there is probably some image in our minds about how this goes. What does this actually look like? If we could be a fly on the wall, what would we hear?
Let me first say how it does not go. Jesus does not stand before God the Father and say,
Well, Father, here again we have [insert your name] — say, for example, Pastor Joe — Here again, we have Joe, and look, Father, he’s a decent guy. I know he’s not perfect, but he does try. I know he breaks his promises every now and then, and I know he breaks your law sometimes. And I know, Father, that for all of this he deserves to be punished. But I’m here to ask that you cut him some slack. Please! For my sake, can you let this one go, and take it easy on him? Please!
That’s not at all how it goes. When Jesus intercedes for us, it’s more like:
Father, there is Joe, I’m here for him, and I am absolutely perfect. No doubt, for all eternity you have loved me and you are pleased with me. I do everything I say I’ll do, and I love your law. I have only always delighted you with my righteousness and glory.
And you know about my sacrifice, Father. You know that by my sacrifice all Joe’s sins have been paid for. You know how much they cost. You know the debt has been paid in full. So there are no sins that can he held against him. He’s your son, like me.
See, when Jesus intercedes for us, he’s not asking the Father for mercy, he is asking him for justice. Because if you are in Christ, all of your sins have been paid for. And when we confess our sins, God the Father is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. And so my exhortation is that you confess your sins to God like Jesus is your advocate, with the Father, interceding for you.
Let’s go to him now in confession.
Prayer of Confession
Father, we are sinful through and through. In the things that we have done, and the things that we have not done, we have failed to honor you truly. We have failed to give you the praise that you are worthy of, and instead, we have spent that praise on ourselves. We’ve not valued your glory, we have valued our comfort. We’ve not fought to keep our word, we’ve fought for our convenience. We’ve not helped the broken, we’ve turned the other way. We’ve not embraced our own brokenness, but we’ve tried to be strong in ourselves. For all the things and more, too many more to name, Father, we have sinned against you. And so we come to you now to confess our individual sins to you. . . .
And in our confession, Father, upward we look and see him there. We see the risen Lamb! We see our perfect righteousness! We see the sinless Savior who lived and died for us. And therefore, Father, our guilt is gone. “Because the sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free, for you the just are satisfied, to look on him and pardon me!” And so the gospel anthem rings true: we are not dead, but alive; we are not lost, but found; we are not your enemies, but we are your sons and daughters by grace. Thank you, Father, in Jesus’s name, amen.