Wayne Hobbs

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Progarm)


For over 20 years back in the 60s and 70s, Kentucky Pine Mountain State Park presented an outdoor drama called The Book of Job. The actors were dressed in stained glass appearing costumes and the entire book was recited with expression, sometimes in a choral fashion and sometimes individually. I was too immature at the time to really appreciate it, but I do remember the costuming and the backgrounds and the beauty of this scene. And I bring this back in my memory as I read the book of Job.

Most of us are familiar with the story of Job. He was an exceptionally godly man, individually recognized by God as he spoke with Satan. And it appears that Satan already knew about him. So God and Satan had a conversation about Job. Satan provided challenges to God about Job. He said he will curse God to his face. First of all he said, “If you take his possessions away and his family, he will curse you.” Secondly he said, “If you personally bother him, if you hurt him, if you inflict him with pain he will curse you.” Let’s listen to the words. “But stretch out your hand and strike everything that he has and he will surely curse you to your face.”

And, secondly, “Skin for skin,” Satan replied. “As a man will give all that he has for his own life. Stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones and he will surely curse you to your face.” But the Bible also says in all this Job did not sin in what he said. With all the discouragement and all the difficulties that he had, the discouragement from his wife and from his three friends, Job refused to curse God.

You probably recall that later in the book a fourth friend showed up and talked to Job very sincerely. And then, finally, God and Job had a conversation as well. But during all this, including the serious discouragement by those friends and his wife, Job refused to curse God, thinking, understanding he was not a man of ungodliness and he had not been so bad to be punished in that way. This was a test of faith and faithfulness that took place in sequence without Job knowing the eventually outcome until it happened. He functioned on faith.

Knowing the end of the story and how God blessed Job with more children and more possessions and another 140 years of life, it is easy for us to quickly read past the personal, physical, emotional and psychological challenges that Job faced.

Just listen to Job at one point in his life as he was struggling with this. In Job chapter nine verses 33 through 35 he says this. “If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us, someone to remove God’s rod from me so that his terror will frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him. But as it stands with me, I cannot.” Job could not stand up to God. He recognized his own inability to resolve the condition. He recognized that he had to have help. He asked that there would be someone who could arbitrate, mediate between him and God, for someone to lay his hand, figuratively, of course, on himself and on God in a sense of bringing them together. And I picture this, being an old school teacher because I have had two students who couldn’t get along and with a hand on each of their shoulders I talked to them together, trying to bring resolution to their concerns.

Well, this is the picture that I have with Job wanting to talk to God. Certainly God in his holiness and Job with being a human being, it wasn’t exactly going to happen that way. But that is the picture that I had in my head. Job knew that none of his three friends who arrived could help him at all. Two of these friends had already spoken before with the words that I shared and one more was yet to speak. But he knew they were no help. He likewise lacked the personal ability, understanding and worthiness to plead his own case before God, even though later we will find that God initiated talking to Job. He was actually afraid and unable to speak for himself before God knowing that power and authority of God that he has. He wanted to talk with God about his misery and about his condition and about his concern, but he didn’t know what to do. So he just called out.

And, you know, in the Old Testament days there were men who actually did mediate between man and God. Abraham pled the case for the lives of the people of Sodom. Moses pled the case for the Jews on several occasions. You may remember those. The high priest pled for the sins of the people on a regular basis during the days of temple worship and offerings. And we know that Nehemiah when he prayed even included himself saying, “We have sinned,” even though it was the people, the Jews themselves that had not done what they should do. And he presented his request for them before God. But, do you know, all those people have some things in common. They all were sinful. None of them had the power to forgive sin, their own or anybody else’s. And, you know, they all died.

Today Jesus Christ is the only one who can come for us before God. He is the only mediator that there is. But what does a mediator do? A mediator stands in the middle as a middle person. His business is to bring the two together and bring peace between them. Only Jesus can bring peace between us and God, because he cleanses us, not that he changes God, but he changes us so that we can stand before God through Jesus Christ.

In 1 Timothy Paul says: There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.

There are at least three considerations that I would like to address today concerning Jesus Christ, our mediator. First, needing a mediator indicates that there is a difference between God and man. Well, that is obvious to many of us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. We know there is a difference. But there is a clear difference between God and man. All mankind is sinful while God is holy. The gulf between God and man first appeared when sin appeared on the earth. When Adam first sinned the gulf was put in place. Man used to walk with God. Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the day. But all of the sudden they hid themselves from God knowing that they had sinned. Sinful man could not remain in the presence of God and man was blocked from the tree of life. Man was removed from the garden that had been prepared for him to live in. Death became part of man’s lifetime experience that it hadn’t been there before.

So instead of providing comfort and pleasant living, life became difficult and unholy because of sin. Many people don’t even accept the fact that they have sin or don’t believe that they really sin. But the Bible is very plain. In Romans it says there is none righteous. And in Isaiah it says: We like sheep have gone astray. And then in 1 John 1:8: If we say that we are not sinful, we are fooling ourselves.

We are sinful. It is as though the harmony between heaven and earth, between heaven and man itself is broken. We have all heard sounds that just didn’t go together. The chord didn’t fit right. The sounds were so awful they just grated on us. Well, that is the position of man not in harmony with God because of sin. And, you know, man even tried to solve this by justifying himself by creating his own gods, his own little idols and whatever, which did absolutely nothing.

Now the second point we can make is: Man cannot restore himself. Man cannot remove sin. Only the great Redeemer, only the great Mediator Jesus Christ is the only one who can possibly resolve this. Man can’t do it and we need to listen to Jesus. We need to tune in to Jesus and no other. No matter how good man can become, after wrongs have been committed, the wrongs will never be undone. And all men have sinned.

Other people, regardless of what they do they want us to have our sins removed. They work for us to be godly. They create situations that are godly for us. But they can’t remove our sins either. We must receive life from Jesus Christ and no other. Sometimes a person attempts to pay restitution for a theft or some other thing. And it is good that we do that. A parent might pay of the damages of his child, that the child has done. Or a parent might pay for the damages that a child… where he has broken something or something like this. But that doesn’t erase the fact that it has happened. That doesn’t erase the sin as we need to look to God, to the Lord Jesus Christ only for that. We must listen to Jesus, the only one with the power and authority and the truth.

Let me share a story with you. A western bound steam train was in a heavy thunderstorm. A woman had a baby with her on the train and she wanted to leave the train at one of the little stations along the route. She repeatedly told the brakeman, “Don’t forget me. Don’t forget me.” He would call out stations and he was going to tell her where she was to stop. Her husband was going to meet her at that station. At one point the train slowed to a stop and a fellow traveler said, “Here is your station.” She hopped off the train with her baby out into the storm and the train moved on. About 45 minutes late the brakeman said, “Where is the lady? Where is the lady? Her stop is coming.” “She got off at the last stop,” the traveler said. “Well, then she got off to her death,” the brakeman replied. We stopped only because there was something wrong with the engine and we had to do a quick repair.” A search party went back and they found her. She was frozen to death while protecting the life of her baby. She had followed the wrong man’s directions and they were dead wrong.

Remember that Paul said that there is but one mediator between God and man and that is Jesus Christ, no other, no other at all. Peter declared that there is no other name given whereby we must be saved. That is Jesus.

Our third point. In order for God to be just and righteous and perfect and holy, he could not or would not just remove the guilt of man’s sins without a price being paid to appease the divine wrath against our sin. Jesus is that great propitiation, the only one who could mediate such an act of forgiveness. A propitiation is an appeasement for gaining or regaining favor. And only Jesus could do this, because only Jesus is that perfect offering. For God to forgive without that perfect offering would negate the holiness of God and the justice of God. And he wasn’t going to do that, so he gave Jesus the perfect mediator, the perfect one. God’s perfect standard was maintained through Jesus and at the same time man was give the opportunity to have restored holiness. By providing the mediator in this way, God is glorified, God’s law is maintained perfectly and man is blessed with forgiveness and peace.

In the passage from Job that we are considering, he spoke of having a mediator so that the terror that frightened him would be removed, so that he would be able to speak without fear. God has always planned that man fear him, not so much as scared to death, but in an awesome respect and honor of his power and his wrath and understanding. And maybe we do need to be scared if we are living in sin. But he also, by the power of the great high priest mediator Jesus gives us the opportunity to approach him with confidence, not a confidence in ourselves, not confidence in man, but the confidence in Jesus Christ, the great high priest and mediator.

In Hebrews chapter four starting with verse 14 it says this: Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heaven, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

That is what Jesus does. The great high priest, gone through the heavens, perfect and holy for us. He likewise understands our weaknesses, having been tempted himself. His temptations did not make him sinful. They made him strong. And they make us strong. Because Jesus resisted, his temptations showed us his strength and his holiness. And we can approach the throne of grace with confidence in Jesus Christ. And the result is we have that great blessing. We have that great blessing in Jesus Christ.

What does mediation do in a case where there is a dispute and what are the benefits of it? In my research I found a list of them. Let me see if there is a Bible application for us on them. First of all, there is a saving of cost. We are told that by using a mediator it is cheaper. Well, it is for us, but not for Jesus. The cost for us was free, the free gift of God is Jesus Christ. But for him, it cost his blood at Calvary.

Confidentiality is another one. While court hearings are public, mediation remains strictly confidential. And we can talk to our Lord through our mediator Jesus Christ privately. We can just go talk to God and nobody hears but him. And I don’t want anybody else to hear but him, because he is our Lord.

Control is another aspect. Mediation increases control by the parties who have a resolution. We have complete control on making a decision for Jesus and by doing so we understand that we accept the control that God provides. We make our decision of giving that control over to Jesus Christ. We have the choice to choose him and let the Lord Jesus Christ, through the guidance of his Spirit, control our lives.

Compliance is another aspect. The compliance is on our part. We are permitted to become a child of God and do things his way. Mutuality is where parties to a mediation are typically ready to work mutually toward a resolution. God is ready and willing as Jesus stands at the door and knocks and invites us in. He wants us.

Support. There is no greater support than we have through the Lord Jesus Christ in the presence, if we are Christians, of his Holy Spirit. What a blessing it is to live in this age, to understand these things, that we have this great mediator, Jesus Christ, the one that will bless us.

Job didn’t fully understand this in his life. I know he didn’t, but he was calling out. He saw the need. He saw that he needed to have one who would go before God for him and that is Jesus. And that is why we can enjoy the presence of our Lord in our lives. That this why we can enjoy the presence of his Spirit today. And when we think sometimes that no one understands and we become discouraged, it is our great opportunity to reach out and receive the blessing of Jesus because he loves us and he cares for us.

Let’s pray. Lord, we thank you for the Mediator Jesus Christ, the perfect way that you give salvation. We couldn’t improve it. We couldn’t change it and we don’t want to. Lord, we thank you for the forgiveness found in Jesus and we ask that you will bless each of our listeners today that they would understand that the way for salvation is Jesus Christ. Thank you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


Wayne Hobbs is a member of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.