WHO INTERCEDES AND MEDIATES FOR US?
T. Pierce Brown
The question is sometimes asked, “Since 1 Timothy 2:5 says that there is one mediator between God and man — Christ Jesus who intercedes on our behalf (Romans8:24), how is it that Romans8:26indicates that the Holy Spirit also intercedes for us?” The basic question is, “If there is only one mediator, how can the Holy Spirit also intercede for us?”
One key to the problem is the failure to distinguish between things that differ. “Intercession” is from the Greek word “enteuxis” and means “a petition with respect to.” The verb “entugchano,” translated “deal with” once and “make intercession” four times, means “make petition or intercession either for or against a person” (see Acts 25:24, where the Jews made intercession against Paul). The Spirit makes intercession (Romans8:26), Christ makes intercession (Romans8:24, Hebrews7:25), and we are to make intercession for each other (1 Timothy 2:1; 4:5). God in no way, at no time, limited the number of persons who are allowed to intercede for another.
However, the word “mediator” is from the Greek word “mesites,” and literally means “a go-between” — one who mediates between two parties to produce a reconciliation of differences. Christ is a mediator in a way that no one else is or can be. The peculiar nature of man’s relationship with God demanded a special mediator. Man was estranged from God by sin, and there needed to be a price paid, an offer made and accepted before man could be reconciled to God. Although Moses could be a mediator of the law (Galatians3:19), he could not accomplish what Christ needed to and did accomplish as a mediator.
In a dispute between labor and management, a federal mediator may be able to offer certain things to management on behalf of labor, and to offer certain other things to labor on behalf of management. He may or may not intercede, but if he does, it is a different function than that of mediation.
As a Mediator of the New Testament (Hebrews9:15), Christ entered once (for all) into the Holy place to make possible this reconciliation of man to God (Hebrews9:24-28), but one can intercede to God on behalf of man without doing that.
Although this is a slightly different aspect of the same subject, it is my considered judgment that the intercession of the Holy Spirit spoken of in Romans 8:26 is done through the prayers of the individual who does not know what to pray for as he ought, so he makes inarticulate groans in the spirit, and the Spirit by which he lives knows and “interprets” these groanings to God who searches the hearts. One would need to have an unusual concept of the Holy Spirit to conclude that the Holy Spirit Himself had to express his mind by inarticulate groanings.
But this intercession of the Spirit, however it may be done, is not the same as the mediatorial office or function of Jesus as spoken of in 1 Timothy 2:5. I realize that a far more scholarly and definitive article could be written about this profound subject, answering far more questions, and dealing with it in more depth, but perhaps this is at least enough to help make us more aware of the differences between intercession and mediation, and that the particular kind of mediation Christ does for us is unique.