Chapter 47 The One And Only Mediator

There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).

The idea and need of a mediator goes back to the beginning of human history. Job cried out for a daysman—one who could lay his hands on both God and man and bring them together (Job 9:33). In effect he was saying, “I cannot argue with God. We are .not on equal terms. I need someone who is both God and man to come between us and put a hand on both.” Job’s cry was fulfilled in God’s beloved Son. We have such a Mediator for whom Job cried. He alone can bridge the gulf between God and men.

The Guarantor of the New Covenant

This is the first meaning of a mediator. There was an old covenant, ratified at Mount Sinai, referred to as the law. Even that covenant had a mediator in the person of Moses. That covenant was between God and Israel and could it have been honored there would have been no need for a second. But the law afforded no help to obedience but only demanded it. Israel, representative of our total humanity, was therefore left to its own resources to obey the terms of the covenant. This Israel could not do with an imperfect and fallen nature. That covenant was broken by one of the contracting parties—Israel. Thus the old covenant had to vanish away.

The new covenant was set up, not between God and fallen man but between the Father and the Son to be wrought out by the power of the Holy Spirit. It was founded upon our Lord’s sacrificial death which provides an eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:13-15). This was “a better covenant, which was established upon better promises,” as the blood of Christ actually and effectually cleanses from sin, which the blood of bulls and goats under the old covenant could not do, and which new covenant secured our acceptance with God. This new covenant is ministered to us through our Lord’s present priesthood in heaven (Hebrews 8:6). This is a more excellent ministry than that of Jewish priests because Jesus is a Mediator of a better covenant founded upon better promises. He is our High Priest in the true tabernacle since He has entered into heaven itself and ministers from there to make good to us that inheritance so that we may now live in the enjoyment of it.

The Minister of the New Covenant

The Lord Jesus first has a ministry to penitent sinners. It is as Mediator that we must come to Him, because He is the only One who can bring us to God. The fact that He is Himself Man makes it easy for man to come to Him. Our coming is not to some awesome Being. We come to One who Himself is Man. We have a Man to plead our cause—One who gave Himself a ransom for us. He thus takes penitent sinners by the hand and brings them to God because He is the Saviour of sinners. He pleads our case and pleads successfully for the forgiveness of our sins on the basis of the merits of His own precious blood.

His ministry is also to believers. Believers have their own peculiar needs and each has his own. It is not that believers need to be saved again but they do need to be strengthened, enlarged and enriched. For this cause “He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). That is His ministry on behalf of His own redeemed ones who find no easy path through this world. But in Christ Jesus our Lord we have a Mediator who can meet every need since “He continueth ever,” and has “an unchanging priesthood.” He makes intercession for us all the way. That is His Mediatorship on our behalf (Romans 8:33, 38, 39).

His ministry is also to intercessors. God’s people are a praying people. In the upper room our Lord was looking forward to His present mediatorial ministry when He said to His disciples, “In that day ye shall ask Me nothing… Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you” (John 16:23). He stands between God the Father and us when we ask. He takes our requests and presents them to the Father and perfumes them all with His own adorable merits.

His ministry is also to worshippers. “Ye … are … an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). We serve God with our worship, praise, and adoration. Worship is the highest exercise of the human spirit. It is the pouring out of our souls in a priestly sacrifice of adoring recognition of God’s worthship. But often there is weakness in the flesh. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). We often feel, too, that we cannot frame our words aright. Everything we utter seems so mean and meagre. Often our praises are marred with stains of imperfections as they rise from a heart engrained by sin. Ah—but our feeble worship—our poor and meagre expressions—are made to rise to God through the mediatorial ministry of our great High Priest on high, and all are made to rise as a sweet savor, acceptable to God.

Our life is hid with Christ,
With Christ with God above;
Upward our hearts would go to Him,
Whom seeing not, we love.

He liveth, and we live;
His life for us prevails;
His fullness fills our emptiness,
His strength for us avails.

When He who is our life
In glory shall appear,
We too shall be revealed with Him,
And His bright raiment wear.

In Him we then shall be
Transformed and glorified,
For we shall see Him as He is,
And in His light abide.

—Horatius Bonar