Job 9:33, “There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both”1 Timothy 2:5, “There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Reading in Job again this morning. One of the really fruitful “lenses” through which to read this book is to look for all of the “shadows” of Christ that we see in the laments of Job. What I mean is, Job often talks about God as an enemy seeking to destroy him….he longs for vindication, and yet he knows he could never stand up to God and would only be condemned…even the angels are not pure in God’s sight (Job 4:18, 15:15)….
In many of Job’s protests we can taste something of what it would be like to have God as an insurmountable foe….one who we could not avoid and could not survive….put simply, we glimpse what “God Against Us” might feel like. And all of these groanings and terrors would be true were it not for the incarnation of God the Son to bear the sins and punishment of His people from all times and places.
We see a particularly clear Christological shadow in Job 9:33. Job has just confessed that even though he is “blameless” humanly speaking, still God’s searching eyes would prove him to be perverse (9:20), and even if he were to meticulously cleans himself, still God would plunge him into the pit (9:31). It is in the face of this hopelessness that Job laments that there is no arbiter between him and God, someone who could “lay his hand on us both.”
Beautifully, the word that the Greek OT uses for “arbiter” here is the same word that Paul uses in 1 Timothy 2:5 for the “one mediator (arbiter) between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Who can lay a sympathetic hand on the most grevious of human sin and suffering, but one who is himself fully human? And who but God Himself would dare to lay a mediating hand on God? This is our one mediator–our arbiter–the Word who is God become flesh for us, the man, Christ Jesus…..and the cross is His climactic mediation (I believe the eternal work of intercession that He carries out as our high priest is an ongoing application of the ultimate intercession of the cross, not a “new” intercession beyond the cross).
At the cross, Christ places a hand on the sin-scarred head of His Bride and bears her wickedness in Himself, and lays the other hand on God, bearing in Himself the fires of sin-damning holiness…..The arbiter hangs between heaven and earth and is destroyed by both: destroyed by the perversion of earth and the purity of heaven…and that destruction is God’s steadfast love on display, His supreme work of redemption, and therefore His supreme act of revelation.