Retired? Far from it. Jesus has only changed His job location from earth to Heaven.

After a miracle-filled three-year teaching and preaching ministry in Israel, followed by His crucifixion and bodily resurrection three days later, Jesus ascended into Heaven, where’s He’s faithfully ministered on behalf of Christians for the last 2,000 years (without ever taking a day off).

As we’ve discussed in the three prior articles in this series, since His Ascension, Jesus has been fulfilling the role of eternal High Priest: mediating, interceding and advocating for all believers in the Father’s presence. As well as …

Providing prayer access to the Father. Who are we to think that we could get an audience with Almighty God? What imperfect, sinful human has the status, ability or right to think that he/she could approach the pure, righteous and holy God to ask Him for anything, to draw near to Him for comfort and guidance, or even to speak with Him?

However, when we believe and are baptized into Christ, we become children of God. We’re spiritually born again and adopted into His family. John 1:12-13 says, “But to all who did receive him [i.e. Jesus], who believed in his name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Galatians 4:6 echoes that thought: “And because we’re his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’”

Because of Jesus, Christians aren’t outsiders trying to get in, we’re insiders with direct access to the throne of God.

We’ve got connections.

In The Wizard of Oz, there’s a scene where Dorothy and her friends try to get an audience with the Wizard. However, the doorman indignantly says, “Nobody may see the great Oz. Not nobody, not no how.”

But the glorious message to Christians is that we’re not strangers unknown to God. Because of Jesus, we’re family.

In Matthew 6:9, Jesus taught us to pray like this: “Our Father in heaven …” So, when we pray to God — our Father — through and in the name of Jesus Christ, we can — and should — have all the confidence in the world that God’s not only going to listen to us but also pay special attention to our words because Jesus Himself is directing our prayers to God.

Picture the scene: Jesus Christ, the very One about whom God said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” is at the right hand of God, handling our prayer requests and providing access to God’s ear for us. Who better to plead our case with the Father?

Since God has already given His Son for our salvation, won’t the Father also listen to what His Son says as He pleads for us? Won’t God listen to what His Son requests on our behalf and says we need?

That’s why Hebrews 4:16 tells Christians, “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.”

The Son of God is in on our side. That’s better than having Nationwide on our side or being in good hands with Allstate. We’ve got Jesus and He’s at the Father’s right-hand side.

When we pray and ask in the name of Jesus, we’re praying and asking the One who’s been exalted and “given the Name above all other names so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:9-10).

Doesn’t that sound like good access to the Father? It’s yours if you’re a child of God.

So, pray and let Jesus do the rest because what good is access if we don’t use it?

In future articles in this series, we’ll further detail what Jesus is doing now: (1) making sure things are ready for our arrival, and (2) preparing for His Second Coming.

Gregg Nydegger is the evangelist at Christ’s Church at Monticello.