To focus on the concept of mediator, we need to begin with the situation known as alienation. To most people, alienation is a common reality. Far too many people in our society [and in some congregations] experience alienation. Alienation refers to the disintegration of a former relationship that makes it impossible for the parties to continue their association. Ties are so stressed between the parties that they can no longer communicate with each other. Even if they were to try to speak to each other, either (a) their words would be misunderstood or (b) incorrect motives/meanings would be assigned to their statements.
Alienation is a consequence of numerous circumstances: ill willed competition; hostile feelings; jealousy; insecurities; win/lose situations; racism; gender strife; sibling rivalries; divorce; seriously dysfunction families; philosophies founded on hate or resentment; etc. Even in the best circumstances, when alienation exits, an emotional war exists. Commonly, when alienation exists, the alienated parties involved are helpless to heal their breech.
A mediator is trusted by all parties involved in the alienation. Each victim of alienation trusts the mediator. All alienated sides know the mediator understands them, their grievance, and their reasons for feeling alienated. Thus the mediator can speak to each distressed party in the alienation, be understood, and be accepted.
Peace can replace alienation because the mediator helps. Relationship can be restored because the mediator helps. Friendship can be reestablished because the mediator helps. Without the mediator, there can be no restored relationship, no restored friendship. The mediator occupies an essential role.
In the above perspectives, a human-to-human relationship is used to understand alienation. In the God-to-human alienation, there are some basic differences. In the human-to-human alienation, weakness and flaws exist in all parties. In the God-to-human alienation, there are neither flaws nor weakness in God. The rupture of the relationship between God and people is 100% people's failure with no fault or failure on God's part. When a human-to-human alienation occurs, it is rare for one of the alienated parties to supply the mediator. In human-to-human alienation, fears of partiality prevent the alienated from supplying the mediator. In the God-to-human alienation, God supplied the mediator. He could supply the mediator (even had to supply the mediator!) because the mediation could be absolutely impartial.
How was and is this possible? God did not stop loving humans when alienation occurred. Humans stopped loving God. God did not break promises to humans when alienation occurred. Humans rebelled against God. God's loving nature did not change when alienation occurred. Humans' natures changed--we incorporated evil as part of our natures. God could impartially supply a mediator to end the alienation because His enormous love for us before alienation continued after alienation. He supplied the mediator to heal the breech, not to vindicate Himself. He supplied the mediator to enable us to benefit from His enormous love.
The problem: uniting the holy, pure God with unholy, impure people. For that to occur, someone had to understand God's absolute purity [qualifying the mediator to relate to absolute purity] and at the same time understand human weakness and temptable natures.
The solution: God qualified His son to become mediator between Himself and humans by allowing His son to become a human. The son came from God's presence. With admiration and joy he understood God's absolute purity. The son was born as and lived as a human in a full human existence. With grief, he understood human weakness and temptable natures.
His qualifications for being mediator: the son as a human must not sin. He must allow his choices to be controlled exclusively by a holy, pure God, never by evil's unholiness and impurity. In Jesus' devotion to God, he must never allow Satan to compromise him.
Consider Hebrews 4:14-16. "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Note these facts. (1) Christians have solid reason to trust Jesus as God's son. (2) Jesus sympathetically understands our weakness. (3) He understands because [in our words] he has "been there." He knows and understands temptation from the human perspective. The difference: he was tempted, but did not yield to evil. He knows from experience the appeal of evil and the deception of sin. (4) Not only because of who he is, but also because of his human experience, we can trust him. (5) We can come to God's throne in the times of our greatest need with the assurance we will receive mercy and find grace.
Jesus, as a human, had to trust God in ways we cannot comprehend. He had to trust God to restore him to his place in God's world (John 17:5). He had to trust when God made Him to be sin that God would not permanently abandon him (Matthew 27:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21) He had to trust that God would allow him to enter the place of the dead and then bring him back to life (1 Peter 3:18,19). He had to trust God to make him the Christ upon resurrection. Jesus understands the surrender of obedience and the challenges of placing trust in God (Hebrews 5:7-9).
Jesus as a human honored God's purity. He is our best insight into the meaning of a human listening to and obeying the God of absolute purity and holiness. Jesus, our mediator, shows us human nature and character that exclusively belongs to the pure, holy God. Jesus is also God's best insight into human weakness and temptable natures. Jesus can represent us before God in our weakest moments, in the height of our temptation failures. When we surrender to God in the confidence that Jesus represents us well in every situation, we can be totally assured (a) of a hearing at God's throne (b) that will result in our receiving mercy and grace. We can be assured because Jesus represents us well! God understands our struggles! Our challenge is to love God in the manner that He loves us!
Share thought: Why are you delighted to have Jesus as a mediator?
Link to Teacher's Guide Lesson 5
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