Hello everyone. Welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are continuing what has been called our Trinitarian Commentary on the Bible. We started this a long time ago, such that I can’t even remember the exact date, and today, we have made it to the book of 1 Timothy. Tonight, we’re going to be in 1 Timothy 2 and looking at a verse that has been used to argue against the deity of Christ. Our text today is 1 Timothy 2:5:
For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
In their booklet Should You Believe In The Trinity?, the Watchtower says the following:
The disciples viewed Jesus as the “one mediator between God and men,” not as God himself. (1 Timothy 2:5) Since by definition a mediator is someone separate from those who need mediation, it would be a contradiction for Jesus to be one entity with either of the parties he is trying to reconcile. That would be a pretending to be something he is not.
I find this an incredibly odd statement. One wonders if when the Governing Body needs a mediator to settle a dispute if that means they somehow have to track down a non-human in order to represent each of them. Now we could say it would not be proper for one person to be both mediator and to be one being mediated.
I also wonder if the Witnesses are denying that Jesus is a man in this passage since Jesus is the one mediator between God and man. If Jesus cannot mediate for us if he is God, then it would seem just as much that he cannot mediate for us if he is man. Last I checked, I have not come across any Jehovah’s Witnesses however who deny the humanity of Christ, especially since they have a book out called The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived that is, of course, about Jesus.
However, this does fit in just fine with the doctrine of the Trinity. We see that Jesus is the mediator, which will be further expounded on when we look at the book of Hebrews. Jesus comes on behalf of the Father and represents what the Father desires to do on the Earth. In that sense, he pronounces forgiveness on those who have sinned, but also in that sense, when he is directly sinned against, such as at the crucifixion, he asks forgiveness for those who are sinning against him.
The humanity of Christ in this case is emphasized because he is our mediator and as Hebrews says, Jesus needed to be made in every way like his brethren. In an ironic twist, it is the doctrine of the Trinity that in fact explains this verse the best. Jesus can mediate on behalf of man because he does bear the nature of man. He can also mediate on behalf of God because he has the full nature of God. God can use go-betweens like angels or even humans for many actions, but as one who would directly represent him, anyone who is less than him could not accurately fulfill that role.
In the end, Jesus is indeed the one mediator and there can be no reconciliation with the Father apart from him. Why? Because of the unique status of who Jesus is. He is God coming to us and he is man before God. Only the God-man can be a mediator.
We shall continue tomorrow.