Day 12

O Come, Righteous Mediator

Exodus 34:10-28, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Matthew 5:17, Hebrews 9:11-15

Growing up, I was not much of a rule-follower. I wasn’t malicious in my disobedience, but I certainly liked to push boundaries and test guardrails. When I became a Christian in my teenage years, I learned I wasn’t great at following “Christian” rules either. I always tended toward “freedom” in Christ rather than strict adherence to commands laid down by my pastors.

Of course, we know that to be true rule-followers, we have to be perfect. No mess-ups. No convenient moments of absent-mindedness. But somewhere, somehow, rules always end up broken. We see this in Scripture, not only with regard to obeying the law outwardly, but also in being pure inwardly. We needed God to step into human history if we had any chance at living according to the law.

Paul explains the depths of this truth in his letter to the Philippians. He tells them that Christ “did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead, he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity” (Philippians 2:6–7). As the God-man, He didn’t take advantage of His God-ness; rather, “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross” (v.8).

In short, God the Son became a son of Adam. Christ becoming obedient in the incarnation is crucial because God became man, a new Adam, to undo the curse of Adam that we all inherited (Romans 5:12–21). Adam’s sin touches every atom of creation and poisons us in a way that would make cyanide blush. We’re not obedient, no matter how hard we try. But the Son of God’s fleshly subjection and obedience to God the Father in the incarnation secures for us the subjection and obedience we reject in our flesh.

The incarnation itself was a loving sacrifice, not merely because Christ died for us, but because He put Himself in the position to die in the first place. Hebrews 9 tells us that He is our Great High Priest, who sacrificed Himself for us. He could’ve called “twelve legions of angels” to help Him escape arrest or to pull Him down off the cross (Matthew 26:53), but He didn’t. As God, He has the power to still the waves and cast out demons—no Roman cross could stop Him. Christ laid down His life willingly (John 10:18), and He did it with joy (Hebrews.

Praise Jesus, Immanuel, for His truly indescribable grace. Lift your eyes to His throne, but remember Christ left that throne to become something He’d never been—an obedient and perfect flesh-and-blood human being, because you and I are disobedient and imperfect people. God the Son, for the first time, experienced His own Father’s wrath, felt the excruciating pain of nails driven into His hands and feet, and even spent three days in a grave—not to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3:16–17). This is good news for all of us rule-breakers.

Written by Brandon Smith

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5 thoughts on "O Come, Righteous Mediator"

  1. Kevin says:

    Day 12: Ah the amazing gift of Grace. We would be so screwed without God. Trying to live perfect lives just wouldn’t work. Thanks Adam.. it’s just who we are! But God couldn’t stand the idea of having heaven without us. He wants us there. He wants us to be with him so he made the ultimate sacrifice to get rid of Adams initial screw up. Thankful for that. ⚒

  2. Justin Harger says:

    Ive always been the opposite. A rule follower not a breaker. As someone who was always trying to be the “good boy” I was usually my toughest critic. I love this section though. It tugs at my heart in the same way. I always fell short of being perfect – the systemic issue of a fallen world. But He did what I couldn’t do I can be made righteous before God. Praise, Honor, and Glory to the one who fulfilled the law so we don’t have to have faith by works that we would just fall short.

  3. Christopher Campbell says:

    I feel like Israel sometimes, like God has given me this opportunity to be holy and made clean, but like Israel I return to the evil and base things of this world. It’s great to read these verses and know that God has created a way to heaven not through works but through Jesus Christ and repentance. I pray right now that God would cleanse my soul and given me strength through him to resist the devil. We give all glory and honor and power to you oh Jesus. Save us we’re we stand, turn our hearts to you. Draw us to your word. Speak life into us. We know that whether we go to the highest mountains or the deepest depths of the earth you are there. What a comfort it is to know you are always there. Nothing surprises you. Thank you for your grace and mercy in our lives. Be patient with us. Likewise let us be patient and grace filled with one another. Give us hearts of thanksgiving. Keep our words kind and our actions pure. Give us the assurance that when we make mistakes that you are willing and just to forgive us. We pray all these things and more in your name, amen

  4. Zach says:

    What were those three days like in the grave? We always gloss over them. I don’t have anything profound to say, but just wonder. Was Jesus in excruciating agony the entire time or at home with his father? Another part to the story that makes Jesus so remarkable.

  5. Sean says:

    He did what I could not. What I can never do. Free me from trying to ‘perform,’ that my ‘performance’ may reflect Your glory and holiness and good.

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