How can Jesus make intercession to Father, if he and the Father are one God?

Question
How can Jesus make intercession to Father, if he and the Father are one God?
Answer

Romans 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died - more than that, who was raised - who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Hebrews 7:25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

The answer to this question involves understanding the truth of the Trinity and the hypostatic union of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When we say that Christ and the Father are both God, some clarification is necessary. When we speak of the Trinity we speak of both the (1) Ontological Trinity and (2) the Economic Trinity. In the Ontological Trinity, there are three persons - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit - who together are One being. The Son and the Spirit are equal to the Father in power, in glory, and in being (John 1:1, etc.). So, all three Persons within the Godhead are equal in nature, essence, and attributes (omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, holiness, etc.). See "What are the Attributes of God" below.

In the Economic Trinity, the Son willingly submits to the Father's authority, and the Holy Spirit submits to both the Father and the Son. However, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not subordinate in their being and nature, as each member of the Trinity is of the same substance. The Economic Trinity deals with the activity of God and the different roles or functions of the three Persons of the Godhead in regard to creation and redemption. It is God the Father who sends the Son into the world for his people's redemption. It is God the Son who acquires his people's redemption upon Calvary and it is God the Spirit who applies that redemption to his people. In a manner of speaking, one united and eternal mission, three united but different roles. This definition should not be confused with the heresy of Modalism, affirming that God is one Person, not three. See "What is Modalism" below.

So, God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons. Having this in mind, God the Son can therefore make intercession to God the Father. God the Holy Spirit also makes intercession to God the Father (Rom 8:26).

Moreover, Jesus Christ is both fully divine and fully human. We call this the hypostatic union. A more detailed description of the hypostatic union is:

the union of the two natures of Jesus Christ (divine and human) in his one person. Jesus is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Phil 2:5-8; Heb 1:8, etc.) and eternal God (Gen 1:1 [plural of God], Gen 1:26 ["us"]; John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2-3, 8-9). Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man (Col 2:9). Therefore, he has two natures: divine and human. Jesus Christ continued to exist fully as God when he added a perfect human nature to himself (Phil 2:5-11). Therefore, there is a union in the one person of Christ of a full human nature and a full divine nature.

So, as 100% man, Jesus may also make intercession to God the Father.

Related Topics:

What are the Attributes of God?
What is Modalism?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).