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Christ — Our One Mediator

Written by | September, 2011
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Post Categories Portraits of Christ

“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. 6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. 9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. 20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word….” John 17:1-20

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Ten years have now passed since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

For those who remember those events the anniversary this month will surely bring back memories of that day. We may remember where we were when we first heard the terrible news. We will surely recall the horrifying images that appeared on our TV screens.

We may also remember some of what took place in the days following 9/11. One event that sticks in my mind was a religious service organized in New York City to offer consolation to survivors and to the nation.

Representatives of various religions said prayers and read from religious texts, including the Bible. One of the participants, a New York City fire fighter, read Romans 8:38,39: “I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God…”—At that point the reader stopped, leaving off the words “which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

To anyone who knew this Bible passage, the omission was a jarring one. But it was not at all puzzling. Surely the idea was to make the reading acceptable to non-Christians who were on the program and in the audience.

In the minds of many—including many who go by the name Christian!—Jesus can easily be replaced. To them He is only one of many ways to God.

And so, they imagine, the confidence which the apostle Paul expresses in Romans chapter 8 can be had by non-Christians through whatever deity they worship.

What they do not see is the distance that sin has put between man and God. They imagine that God can be approached without a mediator or, if a mediator is needed, the role could be filled by many different candidates.

In His great “High Priestly” prayer in John chapter 17 Jesus presents Himself as Mediator between man and God—and not as one of many candidates for the role but as the only one who could fill it!

Jesus Christ is God’s own Son who was with the Father in glory before the world began (v. 5). He came forth from the Father (v. 8). He is about to return to the Father (v. 11). He has finished His work which only He—who is both God and man—could do (v. 4). He stood between us sinners and holy God. In our place Jesus kept God’s law perfectly. In our place He suffered the punishment for our sins.

Now Jesus has ascended to the right hand of the Father where He reigns in glory.

Yet He still serves as our Mediator. In this great prayer He prays not only for His apostles but for all believers until the end of time: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word…” (v. 20).

That sentence is especially precious to us, for with it Jesus assures us that He remains our Mediator.

And we are still very much in need of such an Intercessor, for we daily sin much and indeed deserve nothing but punishment (as Luther put it in the Fifth Petition of the Catechism). Yet God does not disown us or punish us for our sins because between Him and us stands Jesus with His sacrifice for us. God hears our prayers for Jesus’ sake. Jesus Christ represents us before God.

Jesus also represents God to us. He gave God’s Word to His apostles and sent them into the world with it. From the apostles we have that Word by which we know God as the Father who loves us for Jesus’ sake.

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all” (2 Timothy 2:5,6).

“Portraits of Christ” in John’s Gospel:

Ch. 1 The Son of God
Ch. 2 The Son of Man
Ch. 3 The Divine Teacher
Ch. 4 The Soul-Winner
Ch. 5 The Great Physician
Ch. 6 The Bread of Life
Ch. 7 The Water of Life
Ch. 8 The Defender of the Weak
Ch. 9 The Light of the World
Ch. 10 The Good Shepherd
Ch. 11 The Prince of Life
Ch. 12 The King
Ch. 13 The Servant
Ch. 14 The Consoler
Ch. 15 The True Vine
Ch. 16 The Giver of the Holy Spirit
Ch. 17 The Great Intercessor
Ch. 18 The Model Sufferer
Ch. 19 The Uplifted Savior
Ch. 20 The Conqueror of Death
Ch.21 The Restorer of the Penitent