When I consider myself before the holy presence of Almighty God, I find myself in the position of many who have gone before: unworthy and outmatched. When Isaiah received his commission, he cried out, “Woe to me!… I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5, NIV). And when Job sat in suffering, he nearly despaired, saying, “There is no mediator between us, to lay his hand on both of us” (Job 9:33).
The world is desperate for grace. No matter where we are in life, we must reckon with the fact that we will stand before the throne of God and give answer and account for our choices. If we are blinded by pride, we may think we have the resumé to earn our way to glory, but that is delusion, an attempt to look away from what we know in our hearts to be true. Whether we know it or not, the truth is that we aren’t able, we aren’t enough, and we aren’t worthy.
We need someone to stand in between, to amend our weakness and advocate for us. When the children of Israel approached the tabernacle and the temple year after year, laying their hands on the heads of rams and bulls before handing them over to the priest for sacrifice, it was a cry for grace—for someone or something to stand in their stead, to take away their guilt and pay their due penalty (Leviticus 9:5–7).
This desperation for grace had been the defining theme of history for millenia. Like Job, the world waited and longed for someone to give an answer to God for the sins of the world. In that unassuming Bethlehem birth, God would answer the desire of all nations, sending His own Son as the final and sufficient mediator for the children of faith.
Unlike the priesthood granted to humanity, Christ came to offer a sacrifice for someone else—for everyone else, really. He Himself didn’t need a mediator to approach the Father on our behalf because He was without sin. Yet, being born in the flesh like us, He knows our weakness and is able to sympathize with us (Hebrews 4:15), and then make perfect appeal on our behalf, from this time forth and forever. “He was declared by God a high priest” and the “source for eternal salvation,” the only one who is able to bring the everlasting grace that God’s people had longed for over thousands of years (Hebrews 5:9–10).
The world is desperate for grace, and in this season of Advent, we remember that grace has already come. Jesus Christ is our mediator, our great high priest. “Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Thanks be to God!
Written by Caleb Faires