Mediators on earth and in heaven

This morning I was reading in Colossians and came across a passage referring to Christ as a mediator.  I looked up several other passages about His mediation skills in the scriptures.

For example: 

Hebrews 12:24 – And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things that that of Abel.

Hebrews 9:15 – And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

I have read these passages probably 10s or 100s of times in the past 25+ years, but this morning I realized that I didn’t fully understand their meaning until today.  The difference between now and before is that I have attended three mediations as an attorney in the last year.  Thus, I have a fuller understanding and I suspect that the following information may be of use to others.

 We have an EXCELLENT mediator here in Meigs County – she apparently has about a 90% success rate in crafting/negotiating an agreement between the parties and thereby avoiding the further expense of a trial.  The following is a description of the mediation process as I have been involved in it:

The first party has a complaint against the second party and files a suit against the second party because the parties have been unable to come to a solution to the problem.  The second party files an answer to the complaint and sometimes files a counter-complaint against the first party.  At some point between the initial filings and the trial, the Judge usually orders the parties to a mediation.  In some cases, the mediator is appointed by the Judge and in others the mediator is chosen by the parties.

At the mediation, the parties meet with the mediator in a conference room – usually with attorneys, but the attorneys have a secondary role – the primary goal of the mediator is to get the two parties talking to one another and to get past the emotional prejudices against one another and down to the actual complaints and problems between the two people.

The mediator will start with both parties in the room and begin asking the first party questions about their complaints regarding the second party.  The second party is not permitted to talk at this time and is informed that they will have their opportunity to air complaints and tell their side of the story in a few minutes.  The mediator will listen to the first party’s complaints, ask LOTS of clarifying questions, and will then repeat back essentially all of the story in order to assure the first party that she thoroughly understands the complaints of the first party.  Once that is clear, the mediator will then turn to the second party and repeat the same procedure.

Once both parties have aired their complaints and both parties are sure that the mediator understands their complaints and positions, the mediator may then ask the second party to leave the room so she can discuss the situation in private with the first party.  At this point, the first party’s real, underlying complaints about the second party begin to come into focus.  After 15 minutes to an hour with the first party, the mediator will ask the first party what they REALLY want/need in order to settle the case.  If this is a child custody case, the first party’s requirement might be more visitation with the child.  If it is a house fire case and the insurance company hasn’t paid the claim, then the first party might require a sum of money in order to settle the case.

Once an offer of settlement has been obtained from the first party, the mediator will bring in the second party and ask the first party to leave.  Then the process is repeated with the second party until the point when an offer from the second party has been obtained.  The two initial offers can be a LONG WAY apart.  For instance, I was involved in one house fire case where the initial offers of settlement were $1,100,000.00 and $12,000.00.  That case eventually settled at a second mediation for about $240,000.00.

The mediator will then travel back and forth between the separated parties.  The mediator will tell the first party why the offer is so low from the second party by referring the first party to the weak points in their case and at the same time express feeling and understanding for difficulties of the first party’s situation.  The mediator will then try to obtain a lower offer of settlement from the first partyand take it to the second party.  The mediator will then repeat that process by telling the second party why the first party’s offer is so high and what the weak points of the second party’s case is in an attempt to raise the second party’s offer.

 The mediator’s expression of understanding of and feeling for the situation of each party is crucial to the process.

 The above process will continue until the parties come to an agreement or get up and leave in frustration.  However, in all three of the mediations I have been involved in, one or both of the parties got frustrated and wanted to leave, but the mediator would (almost physically) restrain them – she is VERY persistent in her attempts to get the parties to communicate and settle the case.  It is no coincidence that our mediator has about a 90% success rate at settling cases because she takes the time to understand both sides of the argument, she is very good at remaining unbiased, and she is very persistent.

Anyway, that’s kind of how the mediation process works in a court case.  Reviewing some of the other translations of the scriptures on mediation is useful in comparing Christ’s mediation to the court mediation process.

Hebrews 9:15 – And for this cause it is through Him that a new agreement has come into being, so that after the errors under the first agreement had been taken away by his death, the word of God might have effect for those who were marked out for an eternal heritage.  Bible in Basic English.

Hebrews 9:15 – And because of this He is the negotiator of a new Covenant, in order that, since a life has been given in atonement for the offences committed under the first Covenant, those who have been called may receive the eternal inheritance which has been promised to them.  Weymouth’s

Hebrews 12:24 – And to Jesus by whom the new agreement has been made between God and man, and to the sign of the blood which says better things than Abel’s blood.  Bible in Basic English

 Hebrews 12:24 – and to Jesus the negotiator of a new Covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks in more gracious tones than that of Abel.  Weymouth’s

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Hebrews 12:24

Christ is the Mediator of this new covenant; he is the middle person that goes between both parties, God and man, to bring them together in this covenant, to keep them together notwithstanding the sins of the people and God’s displeasure against them for sin, to offer up our prayers to God, and to bring down the favours of God to us, to plead with God for us and to plead with us for God, and at length to bring God and his people together in heaven, and to be a Mediator of fruition between them for ever, they beholding and enjoying God in Christ and God beholding and blessing them in Christ.

This blood of Christ pacifies God and purifies the consciences of men.  This is speaking blood, and it speaks better things than that of Abel. First, It speaks to God in behalf of sinners; it pleads not for vengeance, as the blood of Abel did on him who shed it, but for mercy. Secondly, To sinners, in the name of God. It speaks pardon to their sins, peace to their souls; and bespeaks their strictest obedience and highest love and thankfulness.

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Published in: on February 20, 2008 at 6:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

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