CHRIST OUR MEDIATOR
BY: JONATHAN MITCHELL
FEBRUARY 23, 2004
“Wherefore, He was indebted (bound) to be assimilated (made like or similar) to the brothers according to (corresponding to) all things (or: concerning everything), so that He might become merciful, and a faithful Chief Priest [in] things toward God, into the [position] to constantly be a mercy seat for (or: to continuously show mercy regarding and be a place of conciliation, expiation and atonement for) the failures (the misses of the target; the sins; the mistakes) of the people.” (Heb. 2:17)
“… and to come into a full, accurate, experiential and intimate knowledge of Truth, for God [is] One, and One [is the] Mediator of God and mankind, a Man, Christ Jesus (or: for [there is] one God, and one medium between God and men, [the] human, Christ Jesus).” (I Tim. 2:4–5)
In view of the contexts of these verses, I would suggest that the reason of His being called a “mediator” here has to do with His sacrifice on the cross (or, stake), and not with the ensuing relationship between us and God, which resulted from this act. Note what is said in I Tim. 2:6, which follows His designation as the “One mediator of God and mankind,”
“The One giving Himself, a correspondent Ransom on behalf of everyone – the testimony [to come] in their own seasons (or, fitting situations).”
This could also read, from vs. 5, “… a Man, Christ Jesus – the One giving Himself an in-place-of price of release over (for; on behalf of) all men [reading “panton” as a pl. masc.], in their own personal seasons [reading with the Alexandrian MS, which omits “the testimony”]
The word for “ransom,” or “price of release,” is “lutron” In vs. 6, this word has a prefix, “anti”-, which gives the sense of “in-place-of” or “correspondent,” which suggests its adequacy of payment for all mankind.
But, to our subject, for the above reason, I do not think that His mediatory function applies to His praying to the Father on our behalf, but rather to our salvation and being ransomed, which He already accomplished.
In Eph. 2:18, I think that the “through Him” refers to His work as the Christ, not to Him as a “go-between.” Note the context, beginning with vs. 13, “But now, within Christ Jesus, you – the ones once being far off (at a distance) – came to be (were birthed; are generated; are become) near, within the blood of the Christ. For He Himself is our Peace – the One making the both one, and destroying (unbinding; loosing; razing), within His flesh, the middle wall of the fenced enclosure: the enmity (the characteristics of an enemy; the hostility), rendering useless the Law… and may reconcile the BOTH within one body – by God through the cross – within Himself killing the enmity. And coming, He brings, and proclaims as good news, Peace to you, the ones far off, and Peace to those nearby, that through Him we BOTH continuously have (or: hold) the procurement of access (conduct toward the presence; admission; being led), within one Spirit, to (toward) the Father.”
In John 14:6, where Jesus says, “No one habitually comes (or, goes) to (or, toward) the Father, except through Me,” this is an explanation, or further revelation, of what He was saying in the first part of the verse, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.” Then in vs. 7, knowing Him is associated with knowing the Father, He concludes saying, “… and from this time you know Him, and have seen Him.” Skipping ahead in His discourse to vs. 19-20, “Yet a little while… you [i.e., the disciples] shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”
This was prior to His going to the Father (vs. 12), before His crucifixion and resurrection and glorification.
So what about vs. 13, “and whatever you may ask in My name…” And vs. 14, “If you ask anything in My name, this I will do,” ? Is this a formula that we should speak when praying? Note the very next thing He says, in vs. 15, “If you LOVE Me, you will keep My commands, and I will ask the Father, and He will give another One called alongside to help, that He may remain (dwell; abide) with you into the age.” What is He saying here? Is it not relationship (love) and companionship which is intimate? The whole tone of this passage is not distance or separation, but union.
A person’s name gives his identity. It speaks of his character. It can imply ownership or relationship. It can represent authority. Note how Paul figures our relationship to Christ. He calls us “His body.” John symbolically refers to us as the Lamb’s bride. My body has the same name as my head. I gave my name to my wife. The overcomer will have God’s name written on him; will have God’s city, New Jerusalem, written on him, and Christ’s new name written on him (Rev. 3:12). In Rev. 14:1 we see those with the Lamb having His Father’s name written in their foreheads – once again a figure of identity, character, ownership, relationship (His body, I suggest). I also think that this is symbolic of having the mind (figured in the forehead) of Christ
I suggest that the phrase “in My name,” refers to being in Christ and having His authority. I believe that there are many levels of experiencing this, just as there are levels of growth in Christ, from childhood to maturity. Relationships change as we grow up. Responsibility and authority are given to the mature and responsible. But as we are joined unto the Lord, we are joined unto His Name, and we become “no more I, but Christ” Who dwells within me.
Now we see that the disciples spoke such things as, “In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6) Peter used this same title in Acts 4:10. But in both cases he was speaking to someone, not praying. He was identifying the authority that he was using, in the first case, and in Whose Name there is salvation, in the second case.
Now note how Stephen prayed in Acts. 7:60, a simple communication, written for us to read, “Lord lay not this sin to their charge.” He did not end it with a formula. He did not even say, “Amen.”
Jesus taught His disciples to pray as being in relationship with God, “Our Father…” We are “a house of prayer.” Paul’s prayers in Eph. 1:17-23 begins with a request for them, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you…” and then in vs. 20 shifts into statements about what He (i.e., God) did in Christ, and for Christ, and ends with a comment about the church.
In Col. 4:2, Paul enjoins them to “Continue in prayer (or: attend constantly to prayer), and watch in the same, within thankfulness (or: thanksgiving), praying at the same time for us, also, that God may open to us a door for the Word…”
Returning to the word “mediator,” it was used of Moses and, like the sacrifice of Christ, it referred to a specific event: in this case the giving of the Law (Gal. 3:19). This ordained the old covenant. Jesus, in His blood (Matt. 26:28), ordained the new covenant, together with the new commandment: love. Once again, Heb. 8:6 speaks of Christ as “the mediator of a better covenant,” being contrasted to Moses in vs. 5; and in Heb. 9:14-16, “… the blood of Christ – Who through a spirit pertaining to the ages offered Himself without blemish to God… And for this cause He is the mediator of a new covenant… [there is] a necessity to be brought [the] death of the one arranging (covenanting)…” And finally, Heb. 12:24, “and to Jesus, a mediator of a new covenant, and to blood of sprinkling…” Note the tie-in of His sacrifice to being a mediator, in all these references. It was the historical event of Christ – His death and resurrection – which mediated between God and estranged mankind, and brought us all near. He function as a Mediator, continues to be in bringing men, individually and in their own order, into living relationship with their Father who was always in love with them. And He is the “medium” of spirit through which folks are placed into Him.
Note my translation in Heb. 9:14, “a spirit pertaining to the ages,” for aionian spirit. The “spirit of sacrifice” is the redemptive and saving spirit which is seen throughout God’s plan of the ages.
CHRIST OUR MEDIATOR [Jonathan Mitchell] 1