1 Timothy 2:5-6
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 

Verse 5 makes very clear that there aren’t many Gods, there is one God, a single God to all humans. This is a big truth statement and defines Christianity as a monotheistic religion. It’s still very broad, though, because many religions believe in just one God, but each offers very different claims on ways or routes to knowing and being loved by that one God. 

Well, the very next phrase in verse 5 narrows down the Biblical view much further and separates it from all other views. It says, “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” That is very clear cut. There is just one God for everyone, but there is also just one mediator, Christ Jesus, who was a man.

If we picture the many suggested paths to God as footpaths branching out in different directions, each taking a different route to the same destination, the Bible is saying that eventually they all become dead ends, except one. If we follow the path that the Bible claims is the one true way, we still come to a deep ravine that we cannot cross alone. God desires that you be saved and that you know him, he desires peace and for his promises to be yours. But there’s been a terrible breach in the original agreement, the old covenant between you and God. If you sin, then you lose it all.

I lost it all. You have, too. We burned down the only bridge to God.

So, a third party is needed, a mediator. In an official setting, a mediator is a person who attempts to help people involved in a conflict come to an agreement. Normally this person’s job is to be detached from the conflict and objective, to help both sides to compromise, to admit and make amends for their part in the conflict, and to coach the two parties until enough overlap and agreement can be found to resolve the conflict. To use the path and bridge picture – mediators don’t build bridges, they encourage each party to rebuild their part of the bridge and meet in the middle so that they can reconnect. Is Jesus really good at doing that with us and with God? Is that why he’s the only mediator?

No. Because you can’t coach a holy God into accepting what is unholy. He doesn’t compromise with sin, that’s what makes him perfect and unstained and pure. Jesus doesn’t ask God to try to see the situation from our viewpoint, to cut us some slack because he knows what it is like to make mistakes. Instead, Jesus tells his Father, “I know what it’s going to take for you and Nate to be restored, he needs to be made perfect like you, and so all his offenses must be paid for in full. Would that bring peace back between you two?” And God says, “Yes. I would fully receive him back forever, if that were done.” Then Jesus looks over at me and says, “Do we have a deal? That sounds fair to me. It’s in your original agreement.” 

And in despair, I say, “No, I can’t repay the debt, I can’t uphold my side of that deal. We both know that I will exist in lonely punishment and agony for eternity and that won’t even pay the first installment. I have no hope to rebuild the bridge I destroyed. Is there another way?” 

There was no way. There was only one who could pay the price to rebuild the bridge…the mediator himself. Hold on a second, isn’t a mediator just here to guide? “Christ Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all.” As Hebrews 9:15 says, “Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”

Wow. The mediator cares so much, that he gives himself, he pays the price to build the bridge! He is no uninvolved coach; he is not a detached third party. He truly gets in the middle of the conflict, in order to establish a new agreement, a new covenant between the parties; he becomes the new bridge. And I must mention that God the Father is not detached and angry in this, either. He is angry with sin, yes. But it was his plan from the beginning to offer Jesus in our place. As verse 4 says, he desires that all people be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. The Father gladly joins in the sacrifice needed to be restored to us. Oh, how wonderful it is to live with God on the other side of the ravine!