The Awesome Mediator of God
“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” So, the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.”
Exodus 20:18-21 NKJV
God called the Israelites to come near the mountain and gave the commandments. “If you want to be with Me, then keep these commandments.” But, when the commandments were being given, it was a formidable sight. It was an awesome and imposing sight. The people saw thunderings, lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking. So, they encountered how awesome God is in trembling fear.
And the people made a request to Moses out of their own will for God to speak not directly to them but to Moses and that they would listen to what Moses said. They said, “Let not God speak with us lest we die.” They were trembling to the point of death. And since God in His holiness was giving them these commandments, how would they respond? “You shall have no other gods before Me; honour your father and mother; do not murder; do not commit adultery…” When the people heard these commandments coming from God’s mouth, what would the people listening have felt? They were feeling convicted by every single one of them. And it is not someone else that they hear from.
Imagine God saying every one of these Himself. God says, “Do not covet.” But everyone is coveting and full of covetousness. He says, “Do not commit adultery.” How would the adulterous people feel? They all tremble in fear. It feels as though God is watching everything. So, the people could not take it anymore and took hold of Moses and said, “We will listen to what you say from now on. So, please do not let God speak to us. We will listen to your words as God’s words.” They pleaded with Moses.
From that time on, God did not speak directly to the people but called Moses separately and spoke to him. And Moses would have everything written down and read it to the people. In the beginning, they said, “Yes, we will do that. All of us will obey.“ But soon, they forsook.
People themselves realized the need for a mediator between them and our God. Before God even offered to give them a mediator, they already felt the need and asked for one. They realized that they would not be left alive. And God was pleased with them. He wanted them to have that in their heart. He wanted them to have a fear of God.
If we were to be face to face with God today, none of us would remain alive. Our God sent Jesus to us so that God’s will is passed onto us through Him, who knows all of our weaknesses and lacks. Jesus delivers God’s will to us exactly but, at the same time, understands our situation so well because He came in the flesh. He tells the Father about all of our circumstances. He tells Him of all our weaknesses and pains.
In the past, God appointed a mediator who represented God and passed things on from Him. Yet, the God those people met in the past was not actually God Himself. It was merely an angel sent by God that they saw. If they so trembled in terror when they met just an angel sent by God. What would happen if we see God face to face? It is beyond what man can imagine. In the past, God used angels to represent Himself, and the people were represented by Moses, and the two met together, and the Old Testament church was established.
There needed to be two representatives: one who represents man and one who represents God. The two sides then met together as though to negotiate. In the New Testament, however, there are not two mediators. There is only one. Who represents God? Jesus. The Son of God Jesus. What about the man’s side? It is Jesus. Jesus, the Son of Man, is the mediator for all. Jesus intercedes for man and also delivers God’s word unto man. He stands in between man and God. Actually, the person in the middle has the hardest job. The one above him says, “Tell them to do this!” but the people below say that they cannot. Who gets in trouble in that situation? The boss says to do something. The manager in the middle passes that message on to the rest. But the people do not listen but argue back with their excuses. And if the manager conveys that to the boss, what happens? The boss gets annoyed. And the manager gets in trouble.
So, it is Jesus who is in the middle that had to bear all the suffering. He Himself carried the cross and bore every punishment, but to us, He gave just the grace. And for that, He wants those who received it to acknowledge and have a heart of thanksgiving. To whoever has the heart like so, He sends the Holy Spirit so that they have the strength to do it.
What is important right now in Jesus is not whether or not you have the strength to do it. Instead, do you have the willing heart for it? If you have the heart, He will give you the strength. So, make up your mind. In the Old Testament times, if they did not have that strength, they died. If they did not have the strength to obey, it meant death. So, it was death for all. But in the New Testament, He is not looking for your ability but your willing heart to obey.
No matter how weak a person might be and though he is always sinning, if he has the willing heart to obey despite his weaknesses and mistakes, he will live. Yet, if a person does not even try because he thinks he cannot do it anyway and looks for excuses to justify his iniquities, he has no potential. That is the difference between the person who repents and the person who does not. The person who repents is the same in that he still sins every day. Let’s say there were two people who both sin at the same. But, one of them realizes he is a sinner and repents after he sins, seeking a second chance. However, the other person who sins only looks for excuses as to why he was led to sinning and tried to justify his sins. He is doing what the devil does. There is such a difference, isn’t there?
We think of it so lightly, don’t we? Because our mediator is Jesus, we take Him so lightly. But, we must realize that the glory of God is in Him. Then, we stand before Him and see Him. Do we actually see the glory of God, whom the people of Israel were so terrified of and did not dare face themselves? We need to realize that the One who came near us is actually the fearsome God. Yet, just because He is formidable, that does not mean we have to distance ourselves from Him. Since He bore everything for us, we must go before His altar, not with fear but with love for Him. We ought to enter before Him and receive God’s love.
Therefore, before we receive grace, we need to first realize how great and awesome God is so that we do not conduct ourselves rashly. Likewise, we must not rashly treat Jesus as the mediator who represents God. Let us give thanks that our souls came to know how great and awesome our God is and for how we have been given the grace to come near and meet Him. Let us pray that we will be given a heart to revere God more.
God our Father, thank You for allowing us to receive into our hearts the great and awesome God and to share in His name and His spirit. Since You have given us such great grace and entrusted us with God’s work, help us to know how great this work we are doing, how great the name of Jesus is, and why the demons cannot help but flee before us. Fill our hearts with joy. Also, help us in fulfilling this work, to give all our heart and best effort. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Sermon by Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center
Sermon on October 22, 2012
Translated by Sungrak Mission Center English Team