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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Ascension of Jesus and His Present Ministry as High Priest

Don Stewart :: What Is Jesus' Ministry Today?

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What Is Jesus’ Ministry Today?

The Ascension of Jesus and His Present Ministry as High Priest – Question 3

Jesus Christ ascended into heaven after His resurrection from the dead. Now that He is back with the God the Father in heaven, what is His present ministry?

The ministry of Jesus Christ has three main aspects. At His first coming, He functioned as a prophet, one who represented God to the people. At His second coming Jesus will reign as King; the one who will rule everything. Presently He functions as a priest, one who is a people’s representative to God. The priestly ministry of Jesus can be summed up as follows.

1. Today He Has the Job of the Great High Priest

The priest represented the people to God, and makes communion, or a personal relationship, possible between God and humanity. The writer to the Hebrews declared the following about the job of Christ as mediator:

Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our hearts from deeds that lead to death so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, so that all who are invited can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant. Now when someone dies and leaves a will, no one gets anything until it is proved that the person who wrote the will is dead. (Hebrews 9:14-16 NLT)

The Bible speaks of Jesus as being our Great High Priest. As our High Priest, He is representing those who believe in Him to God the Father. He is the Mediator, the go-between:

Paul emphasized this in his letter to Timothy. He said,

There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us. (1 Timothy 2:5 CEV)

Jesus is the only mediator, or go-between, between God and the human race.

The writer to the Hebrews notes that Jesus Christ serves in heaven as a priest on our behalf. He put it this way:

This is why Christ did not go into a tent that had been made by humans and was only a copy of the real one. Instead, he went into heaven and is now there with God to help us. (Hebrews 9:24 CEV)

Jesus speaks to the Father on behalf of believers.

2. The Need for a High Priest: God Is Unapproachable

The reason we humans need a high priest is because we cannot approach God on our own behalf. God’s perfect nature cannot be approached by sinful humanity. Paul emphasized this point when he wrote to Timothy. He said,

It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:16 NRSV)

God’s perfect character does not allow sinful humans to approach Him. Indeed, they are not allowed in His Holy presence.

3. Jesus Pleads the Case of Believers before God the Father

When we sin we need someone to plead the case to the Father on our behalf. We cannot do it ourselves. This is what Jesus Christ does for us. John wrote,

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1 NASB)

The Bible paints the picture of Christ in heaven pleading the case of the believers to the Father. When the Father forgives us of our sins it is because of the mediation of Christ.

4. The Father Hears Our Prayers Only Because of Jesus

There is another purpose for Him being with the Father and that is to relate our prayers. The reason God the Father hears our prayers is because of God the Son. He alone is our access to the Father. Without Him, our prayers would not be heard.

As long as believers are in the world, Jesus Christ will intercede on their behalf. We read the following in Book of Hebrews:

Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save everyone who comes to God through him. He lives forever to plead with God on their behalf. (Hebrews 7:25 NLT)

He is there as long as we need Him in that particular ministry.

Thus, while the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ was finished with His ascension, His ministry continues in heaven.

Summary – Question 3
What Is Jesus’ Ministry Today?

The Scripture says that Jesus Christ is presently in heaven. Indeed, the Bible says that forty days after His resurrection from the dead Jesus ascended into the presence of God the Father. Though His earthly ministry came to an end at that time, His ministry continues for us in heaven.

For one thing, Jesus speaks to God on our behalf. Indeed, apart from Him we would have no spokesman for God, by nature, is unapproachable. It is only through Jesus Christ that God the Father can be approached.

His interceding with God the Father allows our prayers to be answered. He is our great high priest. Without Jesus Christ interceding on our behalf we would not have our prayers answered because we would have no access to God the Father. Whatever personal needs we might have are related to the Father by the high priestly ministry of Jesus.

The fact that our daily sins are forgiven can also be attributed to the present ministry of Jesus. He is our Advocate; the One who represents us to God the Father.

His ministry will continue on our behalf as long as it is necessary. It is only when He comes again to the earth that this aspect of His ministry will be complete.

This is what Christ is presently doing on our behalf. Consequently, the Lord Jesus is still working on our behalf.

What Is the Meaning of the Ascension? ← Prior Section
How Is Jesus' Priesthood Better than That of the Earthly Priests? Next Section →
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