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Jesus the One Mediator

DAY 134

CHALLENGE

“Catholics shouldn’t ask Mary and the saints for intercession. Scripture says, ‘For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (1 Tim. 2:5).”

DEFENSE

Christ has a unique role as mediator, but this does not mean that he alone intercedes with God.

The term “mediator” (Greek, mesitēs) began as a business term refer- ring to an intermediary who helped two parties do business. In Judaism and other ancient religions, it came to refer to one who served a similar role securing good relations between God and man, reconciling them.

In several senses, Jesus is uniquely the Mediator. First, by virtue of the Incarnation, he alone is the God-man, who shares the natures of God and man (CCC 618). Second, because he is God incarnate, he became the Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 8:6, 9:15, 12:24), just as Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant (Gal. 3:19).

Jesus’ status as the “one mediator” does not mean he is the only person with a role between God and men. Paul’s apostleship meant he had such a role, and he appealed to his apostleship in the same passage he refers to Jesus as the one Mediator (1 Tim. 2:7). Other ministers have similar roles (2 Cor. 5:20; cf. 1 Thess. 5:12, Heb. 13:17), as do all Christians (2 Cor. 3:2–3; 1 Pet. 3:15).

Although Jesus intercedes for us (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1), he is not the only one to do so. The Holy Spirit does (Rom. 8:26–27), and all Christians are called to as well. Thus Jesus instructs us how to pray for ourselves and others (Matt. 6:5–13), and tells us to pray even for our enemies (Matt. 5:44).

Paul asks for prayer for himself and for others (Rom. 15:30; 2 Cor. 1:11; 2 Thess. 3:1–2), and he introduces the very passage in which he refers to Christ as the one Mediator by exhorting his readers to pray for others: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, inter- cessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men” (1 Tim. 2:1).
TIP
If this objection worked, it would prove too much: If Jesus’ status as
the one Mediator meant only he could intercede for us, then it would contradict his teaching that we should pray for others.

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