: Lesson Five: Mediation
: Sin is a description of what has gone wrong with the human race. Grace is God's wonderful merciful, kind disposition in dealing with sin and giving us a remedy for it. Sin is a disobedience to the law of God. Sin deserves the judgment of God. Sin brings corruption into human character. A humanity that has sinned is a humanity in a state of misery and death. In a letter to the Romans Chapter 5 verse 12 the apostle Paul says that by means of one man, namely Adam, sin entered into the world and because sin entered into the world deaf also came into the world like some evil cloud sin and death cover the human race and blot out the beautiful warm clear light of the sun. We call Jesus the great physician because he knows what has gone wrong with human nature and he examines us and he tells us what is wrong. He says out of the heart of sinful man come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, all other forms of sexual unfaithfulness, robberies, false testimonies, evil speakings, these are the things that come from a sinful heart and infect all of life. Sin brings misery and it brings death.
: Those who sinned in the book of Genesis in the Garden of Eden lost their fellowship with God. God wanted to be their friend. They made themselves God's enemies. They broke company with him. Their fellowship with God was fragmented. Instead of drawing near to God they ran away from God. They sought to hide from his presence. They lost paradise on earth. They became subject to the condemnation of God. What we earn by our sin is death. The wages of sin is death. And in the final judgment Jesus will say Depart from me into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Now this is a very terrible picture. Sin enters the world, sin ruins human character. Sin separates us from God and from each other. Sin deserves the judgment of God. Sin ends in spiritual death from which in the next world there can be no resurrection. Now that is all there was to the story. That would be bad news for modern man. But the story doesn't end there. There's good news. There's the gospel there are great tidings of great joy. God was not willing to leave mankind to perish in its state of sin and misery and judgment.
: God reveals his gracious purpose to save sinners to set us free from our sins. To get us out of our misery. To suspend and even cancel the sentence that hangs over our heads. And he reveals his plan to do it through a very special person. A person who will come between us and the God against whom we have sinned. A person who will lay one hand on us and another hand on God and bring us together. God's plan is to save us through a go between, through a mediator. What is the name of this mediator? The Bible tells us very plainly. His name is Jesus Christ. He comes to Earth from God in order to lift us and draw us back to God. It's as though God were on one side of a very deep valley and we were on the other and we had no way of getting to God. So God has come to us and built the bridge. And over that bridge we can then crossover and get back to God. The name of that bridge, the name of that mediator or Go-Between is Jesus Christ. He is absolutely necessary for our salvation. We cannot be saved a part from this mediator, Jesus Christ.
: Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me. He used the one mediator between heaven and earth between a holy God and sinful people like us. Now in doing his work as a mediator Jesus Christ is a prophet, priest, and king. And just what do these terms mean? Let me try to explain them very briefly very simply and I trust, clearly. Our mediator Jesus Christ is a prophet. He is a spokesman for God. He reveals to us the will of God for our salvation. He does this in various ways. He does it for example through storytelling. He tells us that we are like a young son who wanted to see the world and decide matters for himself. He wanted to get out from under the shadow of his father, so he asked for his share of the inheritance and he went into a far country and there he wasted his inheritance in wild living. It felt good while it lasted but finally he was reduced to poverty to rags to misery and he had to do a job that nobody else wanted in order to survive to look after pigs in a foreign country. But one day, he saw how wrong he had been and he decided to go home again. And as soon as he started out for home his father saw him and his father ran toward him and his father threw his arms around him and his father forgave him and his father took him back. Why did Jesus tell the story of the Prodigal Son and The Merciful Father? To reveal to was God's will for our salvation. To make plain to us the fact that if we turn to God, God will not reject us, God will receive us. Jesus is a prophet revealing to us God's will for our salvation, assuring us that if we come back to God, God will more than meet us half way, he will come out to us and receive us to himself.
: Jesus is not only a prophet who reveals God's Will and Way for our salvation to encourage us to get back to God. He is also a priest. What did a priest do in the Old Testament? A priest would serve as the representative of a sinful people who wanted to get close to God but felt that their sin was a barrier, a block in the way. People had sinned and yet they wanted to draw near to God and they could not draw near to God unless that sin were to be taken away and the only way for sin to be taken away is for it to be punished. A God who is holy a God who is just cannot tolerate sin. He must punish that sin. If God were to punish the sin of sinful people they would all die. God was not willing that people should perish so he provided his own sinless son, to take the lead burden of our sin on himself and to offer God a sacrifice that would be punished in our place so that we could then go to God without the barrier of sin. In between what was the sacrifice that Jesus our high priest offered to God. It was the sacrifice of a lamb without blemish and without spot. It was the sacrifice of himself. Christ died for our sins. He was innocent and yet was considered as though he were guilty because he took our place and was punished for us. That is why John the Baptist said of Jesus, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus Christ is our high priest and our sacrifice. He offers his own life on the altar of Calvary to satisfy the justice of God to remove the barrier of sin, So that God now can look upon us and be reconciled and we can go to him and be forgiven. In order for us sinners to draw near to God the barrier of sin must be taken away and the one who removes that barrier and absorbs our punishment baring our sins in his own body on the tree is Jesus Christ. That's what the prophet Isaiah had predicted more than 700 years before Good Friday. He said that someday there would come a marvelous person who would be absolutely sinless and would be willing to sacrifice himself for those who were sinful. He would be wounded for our transgressions bruised for our iniquities on him would be the chastisement of our peace and with His stripes we would be healed. All we like sheep had gone astray we had selfishly stupidly turned every one to his own way but the Lord laid on him. The iniquity of us all.
: Jesus loved us and gave himself for us. This priest Jesus not only all frees himself once and for all in sacrifice at the cross but now he has risen from the dead. He has ascended to heaven. He is it God's right hand and he hasn't forgotten about us. And he pleads for us and he prays for us and he intercedes for us. And whenever Satan would accuse us in the sight of God Jesus says my sacrifice has already covered that situation. Their debt has been paid by me in full at the Cross lay not this into their charge, I have already atoned for it. How wonderful it is that when God planned to save us, he gave us the mediator Jesus to be our prophet making known to us God's will to save us. Our priest who offered us sacrifice for sin and now lives to intercede for repentance sinners a Christ who is not only prophet, not only priest, but also King. The Christ of the Bible is not only a victim who is despised and rejected of men he is also a victor who has defeated death and destroyed the works of the devil. And we need to recover this concept of the kingly Christ. Too often we think of a sweet sentimental Jesus who like a little baby is everlastingly cradled in the arms of his mother. Well that certainly was the case at the beginning of his human life story. But where is Jesus now? He is no longer a little sweet sentimental baby in the arms of Mary. He is on the throne of the universe and he has the whole world in his hands. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is at the right hand of the majesty on high exalted to be a prince and a savior. And we need to recover this biblical picture of a Christ who not only reveals and redeems but reigns. Christ is Lord. He has defeated all our enemies and so when Satan tempts us, we must remember that he has been defeated by Christ and if we rely on Christ we too shall overcome. And so when we face death we know that death is not the last word because Jesus has defeated death which is our final enemy and therefore death for us is not a dead end but a door through which we pass into the nearer presence of God. Jesus is Victor and not merely victim. Christ has conquered and we can be more than conquerors through him that loved us because he lives, we too shall live. And so we see that through one man, Adam, sin entered into the world and sin brought with it moral corruption and moral corruption deserved the judgment of God. But now through another person who the second Adam through Jesus Christ who kept God's will perfectly, righteousness has been made available and instead of death, life. The Gospel invites us to put our confidence in this prophet, this priest, this King. Jesus our mediator, Jesus our Savior and Lord.