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Our Mediator And His Efficacious Blood- Hebrews 12:24

In Hebrews 12 we were reminded about absolute terror that it we would be if we were to stand before God without a mediator. To stand before God without a mediator would be like standing at Mt. Sinai and beholding “...a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.  For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” (18-21)

The good news for us is that we we have not come to Mt. Sinai. We “...have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (22-24)

Today we are going to consider Hebrews 12:24 which says, “But you have come to...Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” We will consider four points:

  • Jesus the mediator

  • Jesus and the new covenant

  • Jesus’ blood has been sprinkled (applied)

  • Jesus’ blood speaks a better word than the blood of Abel

We have come to Jesus the Mediator

Can you imagine having the responsibility of mediating between God who is absolutely holy and righteous and sinful mankind who is stiff-necked against God and His Word?

There is only one mediator between God and Man- the man Jesus Christ. We did not choose Him. No, God chose His own Son to be our Mediator. In the Baptist Confession we read these words, ‘God was pleased in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain (to select, appoint, to predestine irrevocably) the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, according to the covenant made between them, to be the mediator between God and humanity’. (LBC 8.1)

This would appear to be an impossible position to succeed at but Jesus agreed to do this most willingly. He agreed to do this even though He would have to leave the glory that He had in heaven and be born as a man under the law. He would have to perfectly fulfill the law through His active and passive obedience.

Jesus did this most willingly even though He would have to experience the punishment that we deserved because of our sin. He was made to experience extremely heavy sorrows in His soul and in His body as the sins of His people were put upon Him and He bore the punishment for those sins. He was crucified, He died, He was placed into a grave, and He remained in a state of death for several days. (LBC 8.4)

The word ‘mediator’ speaks of someone who stands between two warring parties and this person seeks to reconcile them together. Illustration: These days it is not uncommon to hear in the news about the need for a mediator to come between two estranged parties. Recently I heard about a prisoner exchange between two countries that was mediated by a third party. This mediator stepped into the middle of a difficult conflict and listened to both sides. Then this mediator negotiated a deal that brought some mutual benefit to both sides.

It is important to realize that Jesus does not operate exactly like the illustration that was just given. As the mediator between God and humanity Jesus does not listen to both sides and then try to find a compromise between the two. No, there is no room for compromise between a holy God and a sinful and rebellious people.

God cannot compromise His holiness and justice. Sinful people are not looking to be reconciled with the holy and righteous God. Sinful men do not have any inclination to seek God and to submit to His sovereign rule. (LBC 2.1) They have no inclination to give thanks to Him and to worship Him with reverence and awe (12:25-29).

In God’s sight everything is open and visible and no sin can be hidden from Him. No sinful thought, word, or deed will ever go unpunished. (LBC 2.2) He will certainly not clear those who are guilty of committing any sin against Him and His Word.

Because of this Jesus does not go to His Father and seek some compromise. No, mankind is entirely in the wrong. We stand guilty before God. God is completely justified in being offended by our sin and our willful rebellion against Him. He is justified in condemning all people if He were to show no mercy.

God does not just have a little complaint against His rebellious creation; no, He has an an indefensible case against them for which they are to be eternally condemned. Man was created in the image of God and they were to be a reflection of His nature and character.

When we sin against God’s law, which is a reflection of His righteous nature, we reject God and choose not to be His image bearers. (LBC 6:2) His image bearers exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:21-23)

Because of sin all of humanity is thoroughly biased against God and antagonistic towards all that is good. In our sinfulness we are completely inclined towards evil. (LBC 6:4) No one seeks after God or honors Him or gives thanks to Him.

Because of this Jesus does not come to sinful men and listen to their complaint against God and try to find a compromise between them.

So, here is the problem that Jesus has to address.

  • First, He has to mediate in such a way that God’s righteousness and holiness are fully satisfied. Jesus does not seek a compromise with God; rather He brings to Him gifts and offerings which please Him and placate His wrath.

  • Secondly, when it comes to dealing with men Jesus has to regenerate sinful people so that they willingly come to Him through repentance and faith and serve Him as LORD. Jesus has to overcome the sin in the heart of mankind by creating in them a new nature, a new heart, a new will, and new desires.

Consider what the LBC 8:8 says regarding these things, “Jesus intercedes for them, unites them to Himself by His Spirit, and reveals to them in and by His Word the mystery of salvation. He persuades them to believe and obey and governs their hearts by His Word and Spirit. He overcomes all their enemies by His almighty power and wisdom, using methods and ways that are perfectly consistent with His wonderful and unsearchable governance. All these things are by free and absolute grace, apart form any condition for obtaining it that is foreseen in them.

We have come to Jesus the Mediator of a New Covenant

I would encourage all of us to spend some time this week rereading Hebrews 7-10 to remind us about the next few things that we will consider. They speak about the New Covenant and Jesus’ blood and what it accomplishes.

Why does Jesus need to be the mediator of a New Covenant? 

Hebrews 7-10 reminded us of many reasons why there needed to be a new covenant. The first one never provided access to God. The first one never perfected the conscience of the worshipers through animal sacrifices. The Lord found fault with those who operated under the first covenant. The first one centered around things that were made by human hands and it did not bring the people to the eternal realities. The first one had priests that died and could not continue in that office.

To answer the specific question that we just asked we will need to consider two other texts in the book of Hebrews where we are told that ‘Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant’. Both texts solve the two problems that we just described between God and man.

The first passage is Hebrews 9:15-18. In that text we see that Jesus mediates a New Covenant that addresses our sin before God. It says, “Therefore He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.”

When Jesus died upon the cross the Old Covenant came to an end and a New Covenant was established. Jesus’ perfect sacrifice would redeem us from our sins and reconciled us to God. Through Jesus’ sacrifice we are united to Him and now stand before God in His perfect righteousness and holiness. We now have peace with God.

The second passage is in Hebrews 8:6-13. It shows us that the New Covenant addresses the other issue which is man’s bondage to sin and the wickedness of our hearts which reject the Lord and refuse to submit to Him. It says, “But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says:

 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israeland with the house of Judah,not like the covenant that I made with their fatherson the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.For they did not continue in my covenant,and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israelafter those days, declares the Lord:I will put my laws into their minds,and write them on their hearts,and I will be their God,and they shall be my people.And they shall not teach, each one his neighborand each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’for they shall all know me,from the least of them to the greatest.For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,and I will remember their sins no more.

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”

The Old Covenant found fault with the people and held them accountable to God. The New Covenant that Jesus now mediates removes our sin from God’s sight and it also removes sin from our hearts.

The New Covenant accomplishes four wonderful things.

  • The Law has been put in the minds and hearts of His people

  • God is now our God and we are His people

  • We are taught by God and we know Him

  • The Lord is merciful towards our iniquities and He remembers our sin no more

Under the Old Covenant Israel was given the Law but they would not submit to it. Israel resisted and rebelled against God’s law. Now, however, the Law of God has been put into our minds and in our hearts. We no longer fight against God and rebel against His Law because it has become internal to us. Now, when we fall short of obeying the Law we lament over it as Paul did when he says, “The good that I want to do I do not do.” (Romans 7:13-20) The new covenant believer does not fight against the Law any longer because he knows that God’s law is righteous and good and he desires to obey His commands. As the believer matures in the faith he or she does this more and more through progressive sanctification.

We have come to the sprinkled blood

Once Jesus’ blood was shed it had to be applied. This is what the next part of our text emphasizes when we read the words,“and to the sprinkled blood”.

The ‘shedding of blood’ speaks of the sacrifice being offered up. The ‘sprinkling’ of the blood of that sacrifice speaks of its application.

Hebrews 9:11-15 are good verses to consider here. It says, “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.  For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”

Christ’s blood is ‘sprinkled and applied’ so that it becomes efficacious between both parties.

  • When the shed blood of Jesus Christ is ‘sprinkled and applied’ He presents Himself before God and it secures forgiveness and our justification.

  • When the shed blood is ‘sprinkled and applied’ to a person he/she is forgiven and justified before God and they are granted all of the promises and blessings of the New Covenant.

Example: We see an example of the application of the blood on the night of the Passover when God was delivering His people from bondage to the Egyptians. The blood of the sacrificed lamb had to be applied to the doorposts to become efficacious. If someone made the sacrifice but they did not apply the blood to the doorposts the firstborn would not safe. However, when it was applied the angel of death was kept from coming to that house.

Another example is seen in the sacrifice that is made on the Day of Atonement. That sacrifice had be killed and its blood had to be applied and sprinkled so that the sins of the people could be forgiven. (Lev. 16:14-19)

Similarly, when Jesus’ blood is presented to the Father, our sins are atoned for and we are forgiven and have peace with God. This is the foundation of our assurance that we can now draw near to the throne of grace in Hebrews 10:19-23. It says, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”

When the blood of Jesus Christ is ‘sprinkled and applied’ it inaugurates the New Covenant with all of its blessings and benefits. Example: We have an example of this in the Old Covenant. In Exodus 19 God gives Moses the Law. Then in Exodus 24 Moses puts the Law into a book and reads it to the people. At that time the people swear with one voice that they would obey the Word of the LORD and submit to it. This promise, however, did not trigger the beginning of this covenant. The covenant was initiated after Moses took the blood of the sacrifice and applied it by sprinkling it on the people and upon the book that contained the law.

In Hebrews 9:18-20 the author describes that moment in Israel’s history and then he draws this conclusion about Christ and His sacrifice. In Hebrews 9:23-26 he says, “Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices then these. For Christ has entered, not into the holy places made with hand, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf, Nor was it to offer Himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then He would have to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

Similarly, Jesus applies His sacrifice so that the new covenant blessings and promises can be applied between God and His people.

We have come to the blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel

There are two things that we need to consider in these words. First, when Christ’s blood is presented to the Father it speaks. We must ask ourselves the question, ‘What is Christ’s blood speaking?’

We may wonder if Christ’s blood is accusing us before the Father like Abel’s blood condemned Cain?  Is Christ now condemning us before the Father? Is the blood of Jesus now speaking against us and asking for vengeance, retribution, justice, and punishment.

Although we would expect Jesus’ blood to cry out for these things His blood cries out to God for mercy, grace and for forgiveness. Jesus vocalized this when He cried out with a loud voice, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know not what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) Jesus’ sacrifice and the application of His blood speaks to the Father and brings us forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.

Secondly, we see that not only does the blood of Jesus speak to be heard by the Father but it also speaks to be heard by us. Hebrews 12:25 says, “See that you do not refuse him who is speaking.” The LORD offers mercy, grace and forgiveness to sinners. The question is,

  • Will we listen to Him?

  • Will we respond to His invitation and come to Him for salvation?

  • Do we believe that Jesus our Mediator has ended the war, resolved the conflict, and established a lasting peace?

We would do well to remember that we have a Mediator who stands between sinners and a holy God.

We would do well to remember that Jesus has brought an end to the Old Covenant which condemned us and He has established a new better and everlasting covenant.

We would do well to remember that Jesus offered Himself up as a sacrifice and then He has applied His blood so that it can be efficacious before God and His people.

We would do well to remember when our sins condemns us, when the world opposes us, and when Satan accuses us that we have a Mediator whose blood speaks a better word than that of Abel’s.


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