The Necessity of a Divine Mediator

Why is it important for Jesus to be God? Without this being his identity, you would have no Savior.

Finally, our mediator needs to be divine so “that he might…bring [us] to everlasting salvation” (Q&A 38). His divinity has sustained the wrath of God against him because of our sins. His divinity gave infinite value to his work on our behalf. His divinity has satisfied God’s eternal justice against our sins. His divinity has procured God’s favor of us. His divinity has purchased us to be a part of his people. His divinity has given us the Holy Spirit. His divinity has conquered all foes against us. And his divinity makes him able to “save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him” (Heb. 7:25). Our divine Jesus not only brings us eternal life already in this life, preserves us in that eternal life, and will one day persevere through us to the end and bring us beyond the gates of splendor.

“No offence, but Muslims love Jesus as much as Christians do.” On December 19, 2001, this is how John Casey, a Cambridge scholar, entitled an article in the Telegraph on the issue of Christian and Muslim theology. How could he make such a claim? The the Qu’ran teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin, was sinless, was a prophet, worked miracles, ascended into heaven, and is coming again to judge the living and the dead (see chapter 7 in my God With Us: Knowing the Mystery of Who Jesus Is). Yet there is something missing from that description. There is no crucifixion or resurrection. What else? According to the Qu’ran, Jesus is not divine.

The big question, then, is whether it is necessary that our mediator between God and us be divine? In a word, the answer is yes, for without divinity he could not be our Savior. Why? The Scriptures teach that only God can save: “I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior” (Isa. 43:11). For Jesus Christ to save us from our sins he must be God. We see this in Q&A 38 of the Larger Catechism.

To Sustain His Human Nature
The necessity of our mediator being divine is to sustain his human nature: “that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death” (Q&A 38). This means that since every sin against an infinite God must receive an infinite punishment, even if a sinless man like Jesus wholly kept the law his entire life in thought, word, and deed, he would not be able to bear the weight of God’s punishment against the sins of the world. All his life and especially at the end when he carried our cross through the streets and on the cross, Jesus was bearing our sins. This was like having the weight of the world upon him. And on top of that the punishment of God’s justice was added, which was like a final weight to crush anything underneath it. No human, however perfect, is able to bear that weight. Only God can sustain the weight of God’s wrath.

To Give Worth to His Work
Jesus’ divinity is also able to “give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession” (Q&A 38). Even if Jesus obeyed, his obedience would only be a human, creaturely, and therefore finite obedience. An infinite justice needs to be satisfied with an infinite payment. Therefore as divine, Jesus’ obedience, death, and intercession has eternal worth. Because of this, you can trust him to completely and sufficiently satisfy your eternal needs of salvation. As we sing,

My hope is built on nothing less,
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

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