by Bobby L. Graham

Please explain the identification of Jesus as the “one Mediator between God and men” (1 Tim. 2:5)


In Galatians 3:19, it seems to me that the mediator is Moses, and this is what I read from several commentators. Although I haven’t found a passage yet that specifically calls Moses a mediator, I see from several OT passages that he “stood between” Israel and God, which to me indicates he was mediating between them. Furthermore, Abraham acted as a mediator between God and Sodom (Gen. 18:22). Aaron seems to have served in this position as well when he “stood between” the living and the dead (Num. 16:48). Nevertheless, 1 Timothy 2:5 declares, “There is One Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” Is Jesus the only person in Scripture who is called a Mediator, or am I making this passage say He is the only Mediator between God and men ever, in OT and NT?


A mediator stands in the middle, serving as “a go-between” (Greek: mesitēs), whether between God and man or between man and man. In 1 Timothy 2:5, Jesus’s qualification for His role as mediator is given. He is both divine and human; the former nature enables Him to understand the claims of God, and the latter provides Him an understanding of man’s needs. His combined nature forbids any other serving in the role of a mediator between God and man. In Hebrews, He is described as the mediator of the New Covenant because of His high priestly work in effecting peace between God and man through the means and conditions of the New Covenant (Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). The entire work of Jesus Christ related to human redemption is His mediatorial work because He performed all of it as the divine-human mediator with a view to redemption.

In 1 Timothy 2:5, Paul addresses Christ’s role as mediator regarding redemption—mentioning God’s desire that all men be saved (v. 4) and Christ’s ransom for all (v. 6). Since there is no other name by which we might be saved (Acts 4:12), Jesus Christ is unique, the only One of a kind in that role. Yes, both Abraham and Moses acted as mediators in the general sense of standing between two parties to resolve a problem or a need. Abraham interceded for the righteous inhabitants of Sodom, and Moses is the probable unnamed reference by Paul as he wrote of a mediator in Galatians 3:19. While those mentioned from the Old Testament did that work, it was not the specific work that Christ came to do in relation to God’s redeeming man from sin.

It is also true that certain Old Testament characters acted in the roles of king and deliverer. Christ alone can offer us the spiritual deliverance from our sins as our Savior/Deliverer and the divine guidance/control that we need from our King. Perhaps it would be correct to state that these Old Testament offices served in their respective roles as types of Christ, who would provide all spiritual needs in His fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and typology (Matt. 5:17; Luke 24:44-45; Acts 3:24).

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