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  • Chad Werkhoven

Hebrews 2:17-18 - The Man in the Middle

Don't appear before God until you've lawyered-up.

Read / Listen

Read Hebrews 2:17-18

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 36

Q. How does the holy conception

and birth of Christ benefit you?

A. He is our mediator,

and with his innocence

and perfect holiness

he removes from God’s sight

my sin—mine since I was conceived.



As we noticed yesterday, we've been turning to the book of Hebrews often the last few weeks, and in fact, we're going to come right back to this same book again tomorrow. Whereas the gospel accounts focus on the things Jesus did historically, and Paul's epistles teach us about how the doctrines of grace Jesus made possible ought to shape our lives as we look forward to His return, the book of Hebrews explains how Jesus fulfilled the role of mediator that the Old Testament spends so much time introducing in books that are often hard to wrap our head around like Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

A defense attorney is a good example of a mediator: a person who stands between the judge and the accused, making sure that the defendant's case is presented well and that all exculpatory evidence is made known. But there are some shortcomings with this analogy. The defense attorney can never perfectly represent the defendant because their experiences have been so different. The attorney is never as motivated to win as the defendant, because the attorney won't have to serve the sentence if convicted. Worst, the defense attorney has nearly zero chance of exonerating the defendant if the evidence is massively overwhelming, as it is in the case of our sin before God.

But you can be confident that you have perfect representation before the throne of God in heaven, because Jesus is your 'merciful and faithful high priest (mediator).' He perfectly represents you before God in ways that no defense attorney ever could.

In order for Jesus to be your perfect mediator, v17 indicates that 'He had to be made like his brothers in every way.' As amazing and powerful as what the angelic host is, there are no angels that are qualified to represent you before God, because ultimately, an angel will never know what it's like to be you. But Jesus does, because Jesus took on flesh and faced the same sort of trials you face:

Because Jesus himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (v18).

Dig Deeper

This is the third time now that the catechism has mentioned the word 'mediator' when referring to Jesus, emphasizing the importance of this concept.

The problem is that most Christians are not very quick to think of Jesus first of all as their mediator. People often consider Him their friend they can count on, especially when times are tough. For many Jesus is primarily a guide and example for how to live. Unfortunately, most people - even Christians - don't really know much at all about Jesus.

Knowing Jesus is your friend and example in life is certainly important, but be sure to first of all know Jesus can be your perfect mediator. He does this by being a:

  • Prophet: representing God to you by teaching you God's will for your salvation;

  • Priest: representing you to God, not just presenting testimony on your behalf, but by providing His own innocence and perfect holiness as if it were your own.

Jesus is able to be this perfect mediator because He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He always was and will be fully divine, so since He perfectly represents God, you ought to listen to Him.

But Jesus was also born of the virgin Mary. He took on your humanity and experienced the same temptations you do, so He can perfectly represent you before God. Be reminded that He continues to do so every minute of every day.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, sitting on the throne, before whom all people must give an account.

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for your mediator, Jesus Christ, and pray for the strength to listen to Him and fully trust Him in every regard.



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Matthew 1


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