In the last few posts I’ve been trying to reveal a new way to see mediation. In our fallen nature we are dead to a loving God. We lost our connection in the Garden after being poisoned by forbidden fruit. Adam ran from God, instead of to God. In a moment, Adam went from walking in the cool of the day with God to hiding in shame from that same God. So often we are taught that Jesus needs to intercede FOR us TO God as if God were against us. Instead, Jesus is actually interceding FOR God TO us so we can know God. Revealing the truth about God is a fundamental purpose of Jesus. Even His name, Immanuel, reveals the truth of “God with us.”
The reason Jesus can say “He is the way, the truth and the life and nobody comes to the Father except through Him” is our understanding of God, apart from the revelation of Jesus, is all messed up. Adam hid in the bushes. Israel trembled in fear at the base of the mountain. The Pharisees had Him sent to the cross. Mankind beat Him beyond recognition and killed Him on a cross. This has been our reaction to our loving Father. Only by knowing Jesus can we come to know who God really is. Jesus reveals the Father to us, our created identity in Him and our communion with the Holy Spirit. This is why He came to Earth for us. Want to see this mediation of revelation in action? Here is what Paul says to Timothy:
1 Tim 2:4 Who wishes all men to be saved and [increasingly] to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the [divine] Truth. (AMP)
I really like the order of that verse. We meet Jesus and ask Him to come into our lives. We surrender to letting Jesus save us. Then we begin to see who God really is. We step into the Grace of God and His goodness is revealed. Jesus is the Truth and reveals the Truth and the Truth is who God is. So then the next verse:
1 Tim 2:5 For there [is only] one God, and [only] one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, (AMP)
Do you see it right there on your screen? ONLY ONE GOD. God and Jesus agree on everything. God doesn’t have one nature and Jesus another. They are of one mind. So why Jesus? Come on this is exciting. He is the mediator TO us FROM God. He reveals God to us. And why is He the one that can make it happen? He is fully man and fully God. Jesus said no one has seen God but they can know the Father through Himself. Everything that is a mystery concerning God is made apparent in Jesus. His expression towards us is who Jesus is. This is why Paul said he only wanted to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He wanted to know that Jesus and what the cross really meant. Guess what? He shows us here:
1 Tim 2:6 Who gave Himself as a ransom for all [people, a fact that was] attested to at the right and proper time. (AMP)
At the right time…He reveals God, He attests to God, He mediates from God to man, God’s nature. What does it look like? What is the substance of this mediation? “A ransom for all.” Check out this verse in Mark:
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (ESV)
The word ransom in the Greek is:
lýtron (a neuter noun) – literally, the ransom-money (price) to free a slave.
And this is what Webster has to say:
ransom – money that is paid in order to free someone who has been captured or kidnapped
So what does it mean for Jesus to be our ransom? First who is the kidnapped one? That should be easy…We are. Who is (are) the kidnapper(s)? Who is Jesus paying? His death is the payment, so who is getting paid?
Is it God? Then that would make God the kidnapper that has us hostage. That has Jesus, who is God, paying the Father, who is God, as some kind of conspiracy or good-cop bad- cop routine or some double agent thing. When I say it like that can you see how silly it is to believe Jesus is paying God to set us free?
Ok, maybe it is sin? Paul says we died to sin. Paul talks about us being free from the power of sin in Romans 6. He says we were slaves to sin. That sounds like bondage, right? But can sin be a kidnapper? Can a wrong behavior or missing the mark or making a mistake or falling short of God’s amazing goodness be a captor? Does sin have a face? I don’t think so. Sin is a fruit. Sin is what we just do when we have no better options. Sin is a fruit of unbelief and a wrong relationship with God. It doesn’t have a life of its own it is just something we do.
Maybe the kidnapper is the devil? That seems likely right? He could be a captor, but is he? He is described as a deceiver and a liar and a murderer and a destroyer. His power is deception and mutation and manipulation. He doesn’t create anything. He is the ruler of this world but does He have us captive? (Other than the occasional demon possession) I believe he deceives us into his traps but he isn’t holding us hostage for ransom. He doesn’t want a payment. He wants us living in unbelief deep in the bushes of darkness.
So then, who is Jesus the ransom for? Ready, wait for it…Us. We are the hostage and the kidnapper. Jesus dies for me. He dies for me so I can trust Him to die for Him.
When we fell in the Garden we turned to self. Because we forgot who God really was we had no alternative but to rely on ourselves. Add a bunch of condemnation and guilt and unfounded fear and we dive deeper and deeper into self. We pride ourselves with control. We love the law and lists and rules to judge ourselves by. We trust no one but the one in the mirror. We worship our effort and not God’s goodness. It is just a product of a fallen nature. Apart from Jesus we are slaves to ourselves. Look, sin needs a root to be a fruit. It grows in a stubborn, independent, rebellious, self-sufficient fallen-Adam nature. The devil needs a person to torment to be a tormentor. The devil torments us through our self-nature that hides in the bushes in fear of a loving God. It is the self that becomes self-conscious, self-absorbed, selfish, self-righteous. Paul calls it the flesh.
Jesus willingly went to the cross so I could see who God really is. Then maybe I would “die to myself and be alive in Him.” Maybe if I see my amazing and loving Father in Jesus, I would quit trying to live an empty self life. Maybe if I could just see how good God is I would stop running from Him and instead embrace Him. I believe this is exactly what Jesus did on the cross. He died to prove how far He would go so we could know Him. He let us kill Him so we could see how deeply He loved us. He took the power of sin and the devil because He took my “self” to the cross with Him. When I finally let go of my trust in me and instead fall off the cliff in trusting Him I find freedom. I am no longer a hostage to me but a free man to Him. I am no longer a slave to sin but a slave to righteousness. I am forever captivated by a right relationship with God who is so amazing I have all eternity to learn more about Him. Check out what Paul says here with a new perspective:
Rom 6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
And this is a fun passage from The Message:
Rom 8:5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored. (The Message)
Jesus is the one that reveals God’s true nature. I need that revelation so I can fall in love with Him. We love Him because He first loves us. I need to surrender myself to trusting His love. That is my death. That is His life. When I see how far God will go to prove His love and set me free I am free indeed. That is mediation of revelation.