Vol. 8, No. 6
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Jesus Christ is the only mediator between humanity and God. Jesus Christ is intercessor between mankind and God. In addition, Jesus Christ is mankind's advocate with God. Jesus Christ is mankind's sole access to a Holy God (John 14:6).
Jesus Christ is the only mediator between humanity and God. Just what is a “mediator”?
One who goes between two groups or persons to help them work out their differences and come to agreement. A mediator usually is a neutral party, a go-between, intermediary, or arbitrator who brings about reconciliation in a hostile situation when divided persons are not able to work out their differences themselves. A mediator can also be the negotiator of an agreement. After the agreement is made, he can then witness to its content and serve as the administrator or guarantor to make sure its provisions are followed. A mediator needs legal authority and recognized power to function effectively. (Nelsons)
No one else in heaven or on earth better knows both the divine and the human circumstances, therefore, making Jesus Christ the only qualified Mediator between man and God. Further, Jesus Christ has “all authority...in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18 ASV) necessary to mediate effectively. “Mediator, a person who intervenes between two parties at variance, in order to reconcile them” (McClintock and Strong). The ISBE notes that a mediator is a “middleman” and further the English Word “mediator” appears in the Old Testament only in the Septuagint for Job 9:33 plus six times in the New Testament. The hostility between mankind and God is sin that man has committed (or omitted James 4:17), and through addressing the problem of sin, Jesus Christ mediates between man and God. Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says that a mediator is an “umpire.”
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament have their respective mediators. Moses functioned as the mediator between Israel and God under Judaism (Exodus 20:19-22; Deuteronomy 5:5). The apostle Paul acknowledged that Moses was the mediator of the Old Testament (Galatians 3:19-20). However, Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New Testament (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 9:15; 12:24). Speaking of the New Testament, our Lord “is the mediator of a better covenant” (Hebrews 8:6). Again, the mediation of Jesus Christ revolves around removing the hostility of man's sin between mankind and God (1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 9:12-15).
Jesus Christ is intercessor between mankind and God. What is an intercessor?
Intercession of Christ. This belongs to the office of Christ as Priest and refers generally to the aid that He extends as mediator between God and mankind. In a particular sense Christ is represented as drawing near to God and pleading in behalf of men (Rom 8:27; Heb 7:25), and thus, in harmony with the idea of intercession, He is called our Advocate (1 John 2:1). (New Unger's)
Literally, the word “intercession” means “to come between” (ISBE). Simply put, in the Bible, intercession is: “The act of petitioning God or praying on behalf of another person or group” (Nelson's). Nelson's notes that some of the earliest occasions of someone acting as an intercessor were in the persons of Abraham for the City of Sodom and Moses for Israel. However, successful intercession also depends upon those for whom intercession is made obeying the Word of God (John 17:9). There was no need of an intercessor between man and God until sin separated between the first pair and God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8).
The apostle Paul characterized the ministry of our Lord as “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Formerly, the prophet Isaiah foretold that the Messiah or Christ would make “intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). Being “at the right hand of God” since his Ascension, Jesus Christ is precisely positioned to make “intercession for us” (Romans 8:34). The intercession made for by us by Jesus Christ is ongoing, “seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for” us (Hebrews 7:25) or as Easton expresses it: “This intercession is an essential part of his mediatorial work.” “The ministry of reconciliation” pertains to making “reconciliation for the sins of the people”--you and me (Hebrews 2:17).
Scripture also notes two additional intercessors besides Jesus Christ. First, the Holy Spirit participates in intercession between mankind and God (Romans 8:26-27). In a much inferior consideration, Christians through their prayers make intercession for their fellow mankind (1 Timothy 2:1).
Jesus Christ is mankind's advocate with God. What is an advocate?
ADVOCATE (Grk. parakletos, “paraclete”). One who pleads the cause of another. The term is applied by Jesus to the Holy Spirit (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7), where it is rendered Helper [NKJV] [“Comforter” KJV]; and by John to Christ Himself (1 John 2:1). The word advocate (Lat. advocatus) might designate a consulting lawyer or one who presents his clients case in open court; or one who, in times of trial or hardship, sympathizes with the afflicted and administers suitable direction and support. (New Unger's)
Nelson's says of “advocate”: “One who pleads another's cause before a tribunal or judicial court.” McClintock and Strong notes that the Jews were unfamiliar with the role of an advocate until they came under Roman rule and had to use advocates or lawyers to more effectively represent their cases in court proceedings.
Our Lord is our “advocate” or defense attorney before the bar of God the Father in heaven (1 John 2:1).
Christians need an Advocate because of the ADVERSARY, the devil or Satan, who accuses us before God (1 Peter 5:8; Rev 12:10). If Satan is the “prosecuting attorney,” Christ and the Holy Spirit are the legal advocates, the “defense attorneys,” who help, defend, counsel, and comfort us; they plead the Christians case before God day and night, providing a continuing remedy for sin. (Nelsons).
Jesus and the apostle John used a term known in the first century Palestine to refer to someone who represented another in a court of law (cf. Acts 24:1). There is no one better suited than Jesus Christ to represent humanity as Defense Lawyer before God Almighty in the divine court of heaven
Regarding 1 Timothy 2:5, Albert Barnes observes that Jesus Christ is willing to be the one Mediator for all humanity (kings, their subjects, rich, poor, master, slave), whereas Matthew Poole expresses it: “all men have the same Mediator." Adam Clarke observed that as Mediator, Jesus Christ is the “peace-maker” between man and God to take care of man's sin problem. Vine's adds that Jesus Christ is more than Mediator, but as the sacrificial Lamb he himself is the means by which the hostility of sin is removed between man and God (Isaiah 59:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:21). “Christ is the one and only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). He makes reconciliation between God and man by his all-perfect atoning sacrifice” (Easton).
Though willing to be Mediator, Intercessor and Advocate for all humanity, Jesus Christ can only serve in those capacities for obedient souls (Romans 6:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Hebrews 5:9; Revelation 2:10). Jesus Christ is not your Mediator, Intercessor and Advocate if you do not believe he is the Son of God, have not repented of your sins and have not been immersed in water (baptized) for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). Jesus Christ is not your Mediator, Intercessor and Advocate if you are an unfaithful Christian (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9).
Adam Clarke's Commentary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1996.
Barnes' Notes.CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.
Easton, M.G. Easton's Bible Dictionary. Oak Harbor: Logos, 1996.
International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (ISBE). CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1996.
Kittel, Gerhard and Gerhard Friedrich, Editors. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985.
McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2000.
Nelsons Illustrated Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Nashville: Nelson, 1986.
New Unger's Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Chicago: Moody, 1988.
Poole, Matthew. Matthew Poole's Commentary on the New Testament. CD-ROM. Escondido: Ephesians Four Group, 1997.
Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. CD-ROM. Nashville: Nelson, 1985.