Heb. 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” What does this mean? It can’t deny that Jesus Christ has ever changed.
As the Logos He was co-eternal, enjoying equality with Father and Spirit (Phil. 2:6; John 1:1). Was His incarnation a change? Was it! It was an emptying of cosmic dimensions (Phil. 2:7). But more change was ahead: “Although He was a son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him….” (Heb. 5:8-9). “He learned… He suffered… He became…” all involved change. But that’s not all. “He suffered death” (Heb. 2:9). Then, God raised Him and exalted Him (Acts 2:32-33; Phil. 2:9).
Sounds like a lot of change. So what does it mean that Jesus Christ is timelessly the same? The context provides the answer. In verses 5 and 6 the author says we must keep free of the love of money because God is dependable, always trustworthy to help us when we’re in need. Then he turns to the local church leaders, holding them up as models. Finally he focuses attention on Christ’s dependability.
Look at the past. Christ has been trustworthy in serving your highest interests, even to the point of giving up His riches for the poverty of His earthly life (2 Cor. 8:9), then giving up life itself. Over and over He proved He was your steadfast friend.
Don’t you wish we were so dependable?
Want to dive deeper?
In 1 John 2:1, when the Apostle John describes Jesus’ present role with the Greek noun paraklētos (“helper, intercessor, advocate”) he uses the same word that Jesus Himself used to describe the present work of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). What does Jesus do as our intercessor? We have a clear demonstration of what He does in His prayer of John 17, which is often called His “high priestly prayer.” He asks that the Father keep us His followers protected from the Evil One (John 17:11, 15). He asks that we may have within us the full measure of His joy (v. 13). He requests that they be sanctified by the truth of the Father’s word (v. 17). And He asks that God may grant us complete unity, fulfilling His goal of being a witness to the world that God sent Him (vv. 11, 23). We can have confidence that Christ is continuing even today to make those same requests to the Father.
Recommended to purchase:
Michael Plant. Before the Throne of God Above: Jesus, Our Heavenly High Priest (2007)
For good reason Christians have emphasized the finished work of Christ on the cross when explaining the gospel. Understandably, but to our loss, this emphasis hasn’t always been accompanied by a similar emphasis on the ongoing work of the Lord Jesus in glory where, as our great High Priest, he always lives to intercede for his people.
In a simple, non-technical way this book aims to look at the subject of the heavenly High Priesthood of Christ. Key questions on the subject are examined:
- Why do we need a heavenly High-Priest?
- What is the link between Jesus’ life on earth and his present work as our High-Priest?
- What is Jesus actually doing when he intercedes for us?
- What impact should it have on our lives?
Understanding the answers to these questions will equip us for confident Christian living.
Recommended for online reading:
William Symington. On the… Intercession of Jesus Christ (1836).