Does the Bible Teach Us How to Pray?
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Does the Bible Teach Us How to Pray?

The Mediator Who Brokers Our Peace

Posted March 22, 2024

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”1 Timothy 2:5

My husband, who serves as a trained conciliator through Peacemaker Ministries, says that peacemaking is harder than it looks. Our instinct, when conflict breaks the bond of relationship, is to bring both parties into the same room and help them hash out their differences. But this approach does not tend to end in peace. At best, it brings a fragile truce. People can come to a position of compromise and agreement, while remaining embittered. A thin blanket of calm drapes the smoldering cinders, awaiting the slightest tiff to reignite the full blaze.

A successful mediation requires two elements: listening and coaching. As the mediator listens, he comes to understand the facts and reactions of the parties that have offended each other. This is accompanied by coaching, which helps each person face their sin (getting the log out of their eye, as Jesus put it in Matthew 7:3-5). My husband says that only when people are coached can he guide them through a conversation of peacemaking.

If we need a mediator to settle conflicts with each other, how can we hope to resolve conflicts with God? Where do we get help with that? Who could possibly be qualified to mediate the vast gap between God and human beings? Only Jesus, the Son of God, who descended to become man and ascended to take our humanity into heaven, can faithfully represent both sides. This Jesus is the mediator we need.

Why Do We Need a Mediator?

Why bring up God in situations of conflict? We might say, thanks but no thanks. The tiff within our family has blown over. My neighbors aren’t mad at me anymore now that I finally mowed my lawn. And God? Well, he seems far away, so we are not sure he’s even thinking about us. But that is where we’re wrong.

If we agonize when a loved one turns their back on us, could it be that our Creator does the same? That is exactly how the Bible describes God’s response to our sins. When we treat his commands with indifference, he is the offended party. Our iniquities separate us from him. And to be separated from the source of all life and goodness is far worse than the most grueling conflict we face.

God never has and never will do anything wrong. Unlike human relationships, which are inevitably ruptured by the wrongdoing of all parties, he is entirely innocent. More than that, God’s response when we insult and despise him, though he is innocent, is unlike any of ours. He, the innocent one, pursues us.

1 Timothy 2:5 announces a startling truth. God is not sitting back with his arms folded; he’s leaning in. That’s why Paul urges us to pray for all kinds of people, because, “it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3, 4).

Our mental picture has now been transformed from the God-with-arms-folded to the eager God and his willing mediator, ready not just to build the bridge between sinful people and a holy God, but to cross it. In fact, crossing the bridge from God to man is exactly what Jesus did.

What Unique Characteristic Qualifies Jesus to Be Our Mediator?

The first step in Jesus’s peacemaking mission was to be born. Yes, by being born a natural, human birth, Jesus took on true human DNA. His infant cries for his mother weren’t some kind of act; they were the homely expression of incarnation, God the Son taking on our flesh.

In that moment of conception, the God-man didn’t lose anything. His deity wasn’t somehow diluted or polluted. He remained fully God—the Son of his heavenly Father—while becoming fully human. He looked truly human because he was—developing like we do through the stages of infancy, toddlerhood, youth, and adulthood.

Jesus became one of us so he can understand our temptations. He is able to represent God to us and us to God. From eternity, he has existed as God the Son in the unity and harmony of the Trinity. He descended into Mary’s womb to experience birth, childhood, years of obscurity and years of ministry, culminating in betrayal, abandonment, and crucifixion. His qualifications as our Mediator are unparalleled.

How Does Jesus Accomplish His Work of Mediation?

Two elements stand out from Jesus’s earthly work of mediation. The first is his role as ransom. The second is his timing. In Paul’s words, our mediator is the one “who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Tim. 2:6).

The role of peacemaker comes with its challenges. Jesus endured hostility from the sinners he came to save and, in the final moments of his suffering, he even called out to God, “Why have you forsaken me?” By identifying himself with us, the rebels, he took our punishment and experienced the full wrath of God the Father.

But now, Jesus has been raised and has ascended to become a new kind of mediator, the mediator of a new covenant (Hebrews 9:15a). He mediates on behalf of all who are called into fellowship with God through Christ. Through Jesus’ heavenly mediation, we will not only be snatched from condemnation, but we will also be rewarded with our “promised eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15).

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

How can we apply the truth of Jesus’s mediatory work to our lives? When we receive the blessing of peace with God, we embark on the road to becoming peacemakers ourselves. Among the nine blessings of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount we find the one that passes the peacemaking baton to us: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

What a perfect way to apply our understanding of Christ as our mediator. Our calling as believers is to be peacemakers to the world around us by showing them the mediator they need. May you be blessed as you contemplate and apply this truth:

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.2 Corinthians 5:18–19
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Rondi Lauterbach

Rondi Lauterbach is a pastor’s wife who has been a friend and encourager to women in their life’s callings. She is a mother, grandmother, Bible study leader, Pilates teacher, and fierce competitor at all board games. Her first book, Hungry: Learning to Feed Your Soul with Christ, was published in 2016 by P&R Publishing.