What is a mediator? In most instances, particularly legal conflicts, that term describes someone who settles disputes between two parties who cannot come an agreement. The mediator keeps the dispute neutral and serves as an acceptable negotiator and message bearer for both sides, seeking the best interests—or the best compromise—for all involved. Mediation allows disputes to be settled in a peaceful fashion at a lower cost to both sides.
Jesus is not this kind of mediator. He is not seeking compromise. He is not asking both sides—sinful man and holy God—to meet in the middle and give a little ground. He is not finding the best of the unsatisfactory solutions to difficult problems. He is not carrying messages from one side to the other, and then rephrasing them to be more acceptable and palatable.
And so Jesus is an entirely different kind of mediator between God and us. This mediation is not a two-way street bringing our good to God to see what can be arranged. Jesus is the good that is brought to God. He is both mediation and mediator.
Hebrews 8 describes the mediating work of Christ: He “sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” and “has now obtained a superior ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been established on better promises” (vv.1,6).
Jesus the Mediator is not simply a negotiator on our behalf; He is the fulfillment of all we failed to be in the old covenant with God. He is the keeper of the laws we could not keep. He is the sacrifice for all the sins we have and will commit. And He lives now, at the right hand of God, as both ruler and judge, the embodiment of the new covenant of grace, and the assurance of promises to be fulfilled when He returns.
When we fall short (daily) and break fellowship with God, we can rest in the surety that “there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5–6). Our mediator is, in Himself, our innocence in the eyes of God. He goes to God—with His own work, His own perfection, His own death and resurrection—as the defense for us, the otherwise doomed.
What greater hope could we have? If you and I were to mediate an agreement with God, it would never end in anything other than our guilt and falling short because of our sin. But Jesus did. Jesus does. So we can hope, “waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life” (Jude 21), when Jesus returns, bringing glory and perfection with Him. We can rest in the knowledge that the one mediating for us can also “protect [us] from stumbling and to make [us] stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy” (v.24). Jesus Christ is our mediator, but He is also our salvation—both today and forevermore.
Written by Barnabas Piper