Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“And there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.”
Paul, in 1Tim. 2:5
“We are ambassadors for Christ; therefore, as if God were making His appeal through us, we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
Paul, in 2Cor. 5:20
From a testimony by Amy Pittman.
It used to be that when I thought of Jesus as the mediator between God and man, I thought of him as one of us, pleading our case before God, who had distanced Himself from us because of our sins. That view has been in a process of slow change for a long time now, but when Sister Amy testified about reading Oral Robert’s autobiography, it went through radical surgery.
Questions came to me as Amy was testifying, “Who was reconciled unto whom?” and “Who had abandoned whom?” Then the Lord reminded me of a couple of basic facts. First, men forsook God, not vice-versa, and then invented other gods to worship and serve. Men rejected God; God did not reject man - ever! No matter how wicked people became, God did not forsake them and create other people for Himself, as man had made other gods for himself. It was man who needed to surrender his hatred of God, not vice-versa.
In Christ, God was still reaching out to man; man was not reaching out to God. Man hated God because God was holy and just. God was the mistreated party, but man was the hateful one. Man was the evil doer, but God still tried to make peace. Odd how that works, isn’t it? We were the offenders, not God and His Son, and yet we were the ones whose hearts turned cold toward the Creator.
God tried in every way conceivable to win man’s heart back to Him. He blessed the earth with the riches of sunshine and rain. He humbly appealed to man, “Come! Let us reason together. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow!” He sent prophets to show man his sin; he raised up wise men and righteous kings to show the way back to peace with God, but angry, arrogant men would not relent. Man acted as if God was the one who had done evil, and they refused to forgive God His trespass. And God humbled Himself to such a degree that at times He seemed to be the one seeking our forgiveness. He certainly sought man’s love and friendship. It was always God who tried to “mend fences” with fallen man; never was it man who tried to bridge the gap with God.
Finally, God gave all that He could give. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”. And when the Son of God came to try to win man’s heart back to God, man despised him, abused him, tortured him, and cruelly murdered him. But, to everyone’s surprise – man, angels, Satan, and demons – it turned out that God had known what man would do to His beloved Son before He even sent him, and that the brutal execution of His Son was just a part of another of His grandest plan to reach out to mankind for peace.
The human condition is exactly as Isaiah was moved by the holy Ghost to describe it: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way”. But God’s enduring love is also as Isaiah went on to show: “But He has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
No man could ever say to God, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” But God could say that to us, and He did say it! And He has done it.
Paul said that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself (2Cor. 5:19). We were the angry ones, but why? God is the one who had been done wrong, and He still loved us and wanted peace. We were the arrogant ones, the unforgiving ones, but on what grounds? God is the one who had been slandered and forsaken. God never stopped loving us; He never stopped wanting us to be reconciled to Him.
Jesus is indeed our mediator with God, but the most earnest pleading, and the deepest yearning for peaceful relations, has come from God toward fallen man, not man toward the true and living God. And when that love of God was put into the human body of Jesus, we saw with our own eyes the loving heart of our Creator, who longed with all that was within Him for His created beings to be reconciled to Him again.