Thomas Watson on the Priesthood of Christ

               For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

                                                                                    (Hebrews 4:15-16)

I love the words of Thomas Watson on the priesthood of Christ. This doctrine has done much for my soul in the past two years, particularly stemming from the study of the book of Hebrews. To know that Jesus, my Lord, is standing as intercessor for me before the Father has lead me to worship time and time again. What a Savior!

Listen to the words of Thomas Watson:

We have a friend at court that speaks a good word for us, and is following our cause in heaven; let this animate and encourage us in prayer. Do we think it too much boldness for such sinners as we to come for pardon, and that we shall be denied? Surely this is a sinful modesty. Did we indeed come in our own name in prayer it were presumption, but Christ intercedes for us in the force of his blood. To be afraid to come to God in prayer is a dishonor to Christ’s intercession.

Christ is at work for you in heaven; he makes intercession for you.

Oh! But I am afraid Christ does not intercede for me. I am a sinner; and for whom does Christ intercede?

“He made intercession for the transgressors” Isa. 53:12. Did Christ open his sides for thee, and will he not open his mouth to plead for thee?

But I have offended my High Priest, by distrusting his blood, abusing his love, grieving his Spirit; and will he ever pray for me?

Which of us may not say so? But, Christian, dost thou mourn for unbelief? Be not discouraged, thou mayest have a part in Christ’s prayer. “The congregation murmured against Aaron.” But though they had sinned against their high priest, Aaron ran in with his censer, and “stood between the dead and the living.” Num. 16:41,48. If so much bowels in Aaron, who was but a type of Christ, how much more bowels are in Christ, who will pray for them who have sinned against their High Priest! Did he not pray for them that crucified him, “Father, forgive them”?

But I am unworthy; what am I, that Christ should intercede for me?

The work of Christ’s intercession is a work of free grace. Christ’s praying for us is from his pitying us. He looks not at our worthiness, but our wants.

But I am followed with sad temptations.

But though Satan tempts, Christ prays, and Satan shall be vanquished. Thou mayest lose a single battle, but not the victory. Christ prays that thy faith fail not; therefore, Christian, say, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” Christ intercedes. It is man that sins, it is God that prays. The Greek word for advocate signifies comforter. It is a sovereign comfort that Christ makes intercession.

Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity (The Banner of Truth Trust, 2008), pages 182, 186.