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What is… a mediator?

Our Theology Thursday word for this week is mediator.

What is a mediator?

A mediator is, as the name suggests (and as the Greek word used for mediator, mesites, literally means) “the one who mediates or stands in the middle”.  Thus, a mediator is one who has links with two opposing sides. He sympathizes with both and is trusted by both. And as the assigned “middle man”, he represents each side to the other with the goal of mending a broken relationship.

Mesites(Greek)  in the New Testament

The New Testament uses the word ‘mesites’ (translated ‘mediator’ in English) five times in the New Testament. Once, it is used to speak of Moses (Galatians 3:19); the other four refer to Jesus Christ:

[1 Timothy 2:5] For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

[Hebrews 8:6] But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

[Hebrews 9:15] And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

[Hebrews 12:24] to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Mediator of the new covenant

The verses above teach us that Jesus Christ is the mediator of a new and better covenant. The promises of this “new covenant”  are cited in Hebrews 8:8-12:

Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.

This is the Bible’s main theme. It all points to Christ. The Old Testament is full of promises made by God. The New Testament is full of promises fulfilled by God. Those promises are fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ, our Mediator. As the story unfolds in Genesis, God and man are estranged, and communication between both parties have broken down. In order for this relationship to be restored, a Mediator had to be provided. That Mediator is Christ, the Messiah.

Mediators in the Old and New Testaments

Throughout the Old Testament, God prepared Israel for the coming of the Messiah. How did He do this? By making the need for a mediator a central theme for His people. For example, He sent prophets to represent Him to His people, and priests to represent His people to Him. Prophets would speak to God’s people, the nation of Israel, on behalf of the Lord, and priests offered sacrifices to God on behalf of the Lord‘s people.

Additionally, God gave His people the law (Galatians 3:9-14) so that men could realize that they were in bondage to sin and subject to death, and so prepare them to place their every hope and trust in Christ—the supreme Mediator between God and men. Paul explains this in Galatians 3:23-24, “But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

Reveal, redeem, restore

The one Mediator between God and men is the God-man Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He came to reveal the fullness of God to men (John 14:10), redeem men from the bondage of sin (Mark 10:45), and restore fallen men back to fellowship with God (Revelation 21:2-3).

That’s the great crescendo of redemptive history. God provides a Mediator to save sinners and bring them back to Himself. Praise be to God.