Question: Why is Jesus our mediator and intercessor?
How is Jesus our Mediator?
To understand this we need to look into the Old Testament. Through the Law that God gave to His people the Jews, He established the system of priesthood and sacrifice for sins in those days. The priests from the tribe of Levi were the mediators between men and God. Only they had the authority to intercede on the people’s behalf. The High Priest was the most powerful priest and only He could enter the holiest place in the tabernacle that God instructed them to set up. The Bible says that this priestly system set up on earth was a type or representation of the things in heaven and that Jesus is our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16 and Hebrews 8:1-6).
So what was the purpose of this system of priesthood? God is holy, just and righteous. Because He is holy, he cannot tolerate sin. In order to forgive the sins of the people, God instituted the system of sacrifices to cover the sins committed by them. Hebrews 9:1-10 vividly explains this system. The priests would receive the sins of the nation, and offer sacrifices as a covering for this sin (atonement). In addition once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies and sprinkled the blood of the sacrificial animal on the mercy seat within the ark of the covenant, as an atonement for the sins of the people. This imagery shows that blood had to be shed to pay the price for sin. Animal blood could not wash away the sins once and for all, so this was done again and again every year. This temporary system was in place till the Messiah would come and once and for all pay the ultimate price for sin with His own precious blood. Thus the whole system of earthly priesthood was a type or picture of Christ as the true High Priest. Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world, His own precious blood was shed instead of animal blood which cannot save man from the curse of sin.
As Heb 9:11-14 shows, Jesus ascended into heaven and thus once and for all entered the Holiest place by His blood. From the Old Testament imagery, it would follow that the blood of Christ should then be sprinkled on the equivalent of the earthly mercy seat. From Revelations 5, we know that God the Father is seated on the mercy seat and Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father. The Hebrew word used for ‘mercy seat’ means propitiation or covering, with a link to that of sin. In the New Testament Jesus Himself is described as our propitiation! (Romans 3:24-25) So in a sense, Jesus Himself is our mercy seat – the covering for our sin. Thus it becomes beautifully clear how Jesus once and for all shed His blood on the cross at Calvary and once and for all entered into Heaven and offered His blood to the Father as the covering for sin (Hebrews 9:23-27). How much better is the blood of our Saviour who is God Himself than the blood of goats and bulls that cannot save. So it is no surprise then that Jesus is called the Lamb of God who was sacrificed to pay the price of our sins (John 1:29 and John 1:36)! To defeat the curse of sin on humanity once and for all and to reconcile man to God, God the Father sent His own beloved Son to earth so that he would lay up His life and shed His precious blood as a propitiation for our sin. How simple is the Father’s plan of salvation!