Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant and is therefore the Mediator of the New Covenant. A Mediator is someone who stands between two parties. Jesus is the One who stands between men and God to reconcile them. As the Mediator, Jesus holds a three-fold office in the New Covenant: Prophet, Priest, and King. As our Prophet, He reveals God’s word to us. As our King, we submit to His rule and reign. As our Priest, He intercedes for us before the Father. In our sermon this morning, we will consider in more detail Jesus’ role as High Priest: His work, His Death, and His Perfection.
The Mediator’s Work
Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant. He “came as High Priest of the good things to come” (Heb 9:11). What have we learned thus far about Jesus being High Priest? Hebrews 2:17 tells us “He had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 3:1 describes Him as “the apostle and high priest of our confession.” Hebrews 4:14-15 reveals to us that “we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
Jesus passed through the heavens “where [He] has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 6:20). Hebrews 5:5 says, “So also Christ did not exalt Himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by Him who said to Him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you.” Hebrews 5:10 goes on to say that Jesus was “designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 7:26 says, “For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.” Hebrews 8:1 summarizes this by saying, “Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, One who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven.”
Jesus’ work as Priest is to be the mediator of the New Covenant which was prophesied in Jeremiah 31. God said He would put His law in their mind and write them on their hearts and forgive their sin. Why did Jesus come to earth? He came “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus saves the lost through His sinless life, sacrificial death, magnificent resurrection, and glorious ascension. Jesus came to do the Father’s will (John 6:38).
The Mediator’s Death
In this section, we shall focus on the sacrificial death of Jesus. Jesus’ death was not an accident. A vital part of Jesus’ mission on earth was to die. He predicted it at least three times. The first time Jesus predicted His death is detailed in Matthew 16:21–23, Mark 8:31–32, and Luke 9:21–22. Jesus predicted His death a second time in Matthew 17:22–23, Mark 9:30–32, and Luke 9:43–45. Matthew 20:17–19, Mark 10:32–34, and Luke 18:31–34 describe the third time Jesus predicted His death. Jesus told the religious leaders in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple [the temple of His body], and in three days I will raise it up again.”
Why did Jesus have to die? His death was for His people. In John 10:11, Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant because of His death. A covenant/testament (Heb 9:16) goes into effect after a death because it is enacted through blood as “not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood” (Heb 9:18). Hebrews 9:22 says, “And according to the law almost all things were purged with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” It is “not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Heb 10:4) but Jesus offers his own blood. He “has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb 9:26).
The Old Covenant sacrifices brought “a reminder of sin every year” (10:3). The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23).The New Covenant is the covenant in which God forgives sins and offers eternal redemption. Sin cannot be forgiven until it is punished. In the New Covenant, we have the Holy Spirit within us and God chooses to not remember our sins anymore. We are specifically told that we have remission (cancellation of sin through forgiveness) of sin.
The Mediator’s Perfection
As the Mediator of the New Covenant, Jesus offers forgiveness of sins, justification before God, and the promise of being conformed to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29). Jesus does not have to offer sacrifices continually year by year (Heb 10:1) but “offered one sacrifice for sins forever” (Heb 10:12). For “by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (10:14). What does this mean? Pay close attention to that verse. Jesus “has perfected” those who “are being sanctified”. Jesus’ one offering (at one point in the past) has perfected the one who is continually being sanctified. This means that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6). The One who sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44) willingly laid down His life (John 10:18) in order to redeem us (Heb 9:12). The lamb that was slain (Rev 5:6) is the lion that conquers (Rev 5:5).
Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16). The Apostle Paul wrote that God the Father sent the Son “to reconcile all things to Himself all things…having made peace by the blood of His cross” (Col 1:20). What does this mean for us? Knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord, we should “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Col 1:10).