The Mediator between God and Man
Thesis: The greatest comfort and deepest need is that Jesus is our mediator who reconciled us to God
Background of the Text:
In 16:16-22, Jesus prepared the disciples for a specific trial which they will have to endure. He will be gone “for a little while” and then “after a little while” return (16). This refers to his three days in the tomb. He will die for the sins of his people, and then enter into the presence of the Father to receive his due glory (17:5). He also marks out this specific time period between his death and resurrection when he says, “you will be scattered each to his own house,” (32). They were about to face the most troublesome point of their entire time with Jesus. He was about to die. For example, when Jesus spoke clearly about his death and resurrection to the 12 a few months earlier, Peter rebuked him! (Mark 8:32). He did this because they did not understand fully what he had been telling them until after the fact.
In verse 21, He described their short intense time of endurance by the analogy of a woman in childbirth. This would be a time of great trial for a little while and then it would pass. This harkens back to Jeremiah 30:6, when Jeremiah saw a vision of men giving birth, which showed the intensity of their trial, but also the brevity. It would only be for a short time, and then, “their joy” would be that they saw the outcome. Like a woman gets a child as the reward for the process of childbirth, so the disciples needed to endure this specific trial.
This brings us to the main purpose of the passage. Jesus intended to “keep [the disciples] from stumbling into unbelief.” (16:1). Since this trial would rock their faith, since this would make them question Jesus, he spoke to them in their trial about their deepest needs in order to encourage them to endure. Notice in 16:33, he states his purpose, “that [the disciples] would have peace,” and be “encouraged” through their trial.
Need: This is relevant for us today, because we all face various trials every day. We all face evil in the world. We face temptations to sin. We face temptations to despair. We face temptations to doubt Jesus. We face these every day, and all sorts of incarnations of the same basic things.
Main Q: The questions is, how does he do it? How did he give them peace, comfort?
Tentative A: He met their deepest need! He instills in them comfort, not for little needs, not for peripheral needs, but for the greatest and most profound need of all. He did not say, “Armed gaurds are coming, here are the details, sit still and do as they say.” He did not say, “This is how you manage you life.” “Here are some stress management techniques.” He did not gives them peripheral answers, he went to the heart of the matter….
1) The greatest and deepest need is that Jesus is our relationship to the Father
App: Jesus got to the heart of the matter. He met the deepest need of all! He met the fundamental need which makes all other needs pale in comparison. The most basic need you have is your relationship to the God of the universe!!!
Let me put this in to Perspective. All other needs pale in comparison because …
1)This one deals with everlasting issues, and all others with the temporary. One day you and I will die, and we will stand before the Lord for judgment. On the day of judgment, He will condemn you for your sins. Every secret sin will be laid out in front of you, rehearsed, and judgment will be decided! The sentence will be equal to the crime. You will bear your crimes for all eternity! Tell me! How is that not the most important dynamic in your life? That day is drawing nearer. The clock is ticking. The Time is coming!
2) Also because, Honestly, this is the deepest concern of all people. Even if they hate God, they still worry about him. Let me prove that. Whenever I talk to unbelievers about the Lord Jesus, they get uncomfortable, simply because it makes them think about the fact that they will die, and they have no hope! They ignore it as much as is possible, but sometimes it comes up!
So, I repeat, your relationship with God is the most fundamental, basic, important thing in this life!
Segue Q: How did he answer their need for a right relationship with God!
Notice… Jesus in verses 22-28 he answers their concern. 22-23, he said, “ask in my name.” In 25-28 he told them that “he would go to the Father.” The most important thing here is to note that Jesus is speaking about himself, his name, his representation of them before the Father.
In order to feel the full force of what he said here, let’s look in the larger Biblical context. Turn to Deuteronomy 31:11-14. Notice he told them the command is “not out of their reach.” 11. This implies that they assumed it was out of reach. Why? All Israel asked Moses “how are we able to be righteous if we are sinners?” They knew they committed many sins up to his point. They knew their own hearts. They knew they would continue to sin!
This is the same tension we live with today. We ask, “How can God accept our obedience?” Since, the Bible teaches that we 1)Sin in thought word and deed. 2)Even our good acts, when done for self serving purposes (giving to get) are evil acts! 3) We are by nature sinners, and so we do what comes naturally to us. And 4) On top of it all, we are criminals, with a guilty verdict, waiting judgment day.
So here is the tension, we know God calls us to be righteous, act justly, but we are unjust. So, Israel’s question to Moses was, “Who is going to get that righteousness for us?” They say, “Who will go to heaven and get it, come down and give righteousness to us.” They knew they could not do it on their own, therefore, someone else must represent them!
They realized this because they had a priest. He represented them before God. He brought their prayers. He brought them reconciliation through sacrifice. The people would pray, and they would come in the “name of the Priest.” They would pray in Aaron’s name, or Phinehas’ “name.” To say, “In his name” means his office as representative.
But they also realized that the blood of bulls and goats were not ultimate. They realized the priests changed their personnel over the years. So, their question was, “Who is really going to get ultimate righteousness for us?” Moses could give them the command (trust), and the assurance (God came “near” and made you righteous, 14). But he couldn’t answer the question, “Who got righteousness for us?”
Jesus resolves the tension! Jesus says in 26, “come to the Father in my name” In verse 27 he assured them that he is indeed one with the Father, so the Father will certainly give knowledge of himself to them! It is not like Jesus asks the Father and then hopes he’ll answer. No! When Jesus prays the Father acts because they both love! In Verse 28 Jesus says, “I came down from” and “go back to the Father!”
>>>He is saying, “I represent you.” I am that one! I am the high priest! I am the Mediator! The Go-Between, Representative!
Q: How does Jesus comfort them? How did he resolve their deepest need for a relationship to the Father? How does he resolve this tension about us as sinner before a holy God?
2) He is the Mediator, the High Priest!
App: Moses and Israel realized there is nothing we can do to be right before God on our own. They knew they needed a mediator. Today, we have the same tension! We need the same resolution! We have the same sin! We need the same salvation! We need Jesus to represent us before the Father!
Hebrews 9:11-15 tells us Jesus is the true High Priest (11) and Mediator (15). He offered himself up to God through the Holy Spirit (12-14). He made eternal salvation for his people who he “calls” (15b)!
The answer to the greatest human need is the cross and resurrection of Jesus. He reconciles you to God. He calls you to reach out to him for salvation. He calls you to reach out by faith! He commands you, “Believe in the Me, and be saved! (Rom 10:8b-11)”
App: Notice the results of resolving the deepest concern! All the other concerns fade!
In v. 33, Jesus gave them these words so that they would have “peace” and “courage!” Peace in trial comes from knowing that no matter what happens God is with you!
Courage in trial means that you have the courage to do the right thing, to endure, to believe, because God is for you! If God is for you, who can be against you? Think about the pressures of this world. The cause us to stumble into unbelief, sin, doubt, fear, to cave into the world’s patterns, expectations, etc. Jesus gives courage by saying, “I represent you before the Almighty God!” “Do not Fear!”
Faith in Jesus minimizes other fears, concerns, and trials. The main concern is: what do I do with Jesus! Am I right before God? Do I trust in Him? Even if you were to lose everything, The greatest comfort and deepest need is that Jesus is our mediator who reconciled us to God!