1 Timothy 2:1-7
1 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human, 6 who gave Himself —a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a herald, an apostle (I am telling the truth; I am not lying), and a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. — 1 Timothy 2:1-7
Jesus, a Man, is Mediator Between God and Humanity
by Dennis Worley
Co-Author: Karla Worley
Yesterday we got a picture of Christ as a high priest who sympathizes with our weakness. A priest is an intercessor—a go-between. A priest goes to God on behalf of people, and also goes to people on behalf of God. This is an important part of who Christ is now, today. His work was not done when He died on the cross or even when He rose from the dead, but His work continues today because of where He is. God has seated Him at the right hand of God’s throne, where He intercedes for us:
Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. (Romans 8:34)
If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the Righteous One. (1 John 2:1)
Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
In today’s passage, Paul urges that we follow in Christ’s example and also become intercessors—those who go between God and people. Notice what Paul says: “I urge, then….” That little word “then” means “therefore.” We have to ask, what is the “therefore” there for?
It’s because of what Paul said about himself and Jesus right before these verses. Paul says, “I once was a blasphemer, a persecutor, an opposer of Christ—the chief of sinners! But the grace of Jesus was poured out on me abundantly.” Paul, the great fire-breathing enemy of the early church, was the last person any of the early believers would have prayed for—unless they prayed for him to be destroyed. He was on the side of the chief priest, the Jewish rulers, on the side of Caesar and the Roman government. Who would have believed that Jesus would save Paul and then use him as His ambassador?
That’s why Paul urges believers to intercede for rulers and those in authority: because God wants all men to be saved. Even His opposers! This was a hard thing for Paul’s congregation to swallow, because the officials in authority over them, the masters over those who were slaves, even their own families who rejected them—they were harsh opponents.
Paul knows this, so he tells us something about who Jesus is: the Mediator between God and man. Not just any mediator, but Jesus, Himself human. Jesus understands what it means to encounter human authorities who bring real human consequences in opposing God. In Jesus’ time on earth, He had conversations and confrontations with human rulers who opposed Him, who orchestrated His death. From the cross, a human dying a horrible death, He forgave them.
His human death makes Him the one qualified to mediate—to broker forgiveness, to restore a relationship between alienated parties. Jesus, the greatest ruler of all, lowered Himself to become human and die at the hands of humans so that God and humans could be reconciled—so that humans and humans could live at peace, not at odds. (Philippians 4:1-11) How can we follow in His example?
- Do you regularly pray for government leaders and political figures, regardless of whether or not you agree with their platforms? What does this passage tell you God wants for them? So how should you pray?
- Who is a person with authority in your life or influence in your culture who opposes God? What are your usual conversations with God about them? How would your conversation with God change if you see yourself as an intercessor—a person who goes between God and them for God’s purposes?
- Who is the last person you think Christ could draw into a relationship and use for God’s purposes? How are you praying for that? How does praying for that change the way you interact with them?
- How does interceding in this way for those you oppose change the conversation you have in public forums, like social media?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.