Specific Instructions to Mediate and Examples of Subordinate Mediation
Matt. 5:44-45 - Jesus tells us to pray for (to mediate on behalf of) those who persecute us. God instructs us to mediate.
Matt. 17:1-3; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:30-31 – deceased Moses and Elijah appear at the Transfiguration to converse with Jesus in the presence of Peter, James and John (these may be the two “witnesses” John refers to in Rev. 11:3). Nothing in Scripture ever suggests that God abhors or cuts off communication between the living in heaven and the living on earth. To the contrary, God encourages communication within the communion of saints. Moses and Elijah’s appearance on earth also teach us that the saints in heaven have capabilities that far surpass our limitations on earth.
Matt. 26:53 – Jesus says He can call upon the assistance of twelve legions of angels. If Jesus said He could ask for the assistance of angel saints, then so can we, who are called to imitate Jesus in word and in deed. And, in Matt. 22:30, Jesus says we will be “like angels in heaven.” This means human saints (like the angel saints) can be called upon to assist people on earth. God allows and encourages this interaction between his family members.
Matt. 27:47,49; Mark 15:35-36 – the people believe that Jesus calls on Elijah for his intercession, and waits to see if Elijah would come to save Jesus on the cross.
Matt. 27:52-53 - at Jesus' passion, many saints were raised and went into the city to appear and presumably interact with the people, just as Jesus did after His resurrection.
Mark 11:24 - Jesus says that whatever we ask in prayer, we will receive it. It is Jesus, and also we through Jesus, who mediate.
John 2:3 - Jesus knew the wine was gone, but invites and responds to Mary's intercession. God desires our lesser mediation and responds to it because He is a living and loving God.
John 2:5 - Mary intercedes on behalf of those at the wedding feast and tells them to do whatever Jesus tells them. Because Mary is our perfect model of faith, we too intercede on behalf of our brothers and sisters.
John 2:11 - in fact, it was Mary's intercession that started Jesus' ministry. His hour had not yet come, yet Jesus responds to Mary's intercession. Even though He could do it all by Himself, God wants to work with His children.
Acts 12:7 – an angel strikes Peter on the side and wakes him up, freeing him from prison. The angel responds to Peter’s prayers.
Rom. 15:30 - Paul commands the family of God to pray for him. If we are united together in the one body of Christ, we can help each other.
2 Cor. 1:11 - Paul even suggests that the more prayers and the more people who pray, the merrier! Prayer is even more effective when united with other's prayers.
2 Cor. 9:14 - Paul says that the earthly saints pray for the Corinthians. They are subordinate mediators in Christ.
2 Cor. 13:7,9 - Paul says the elders pray that the Corinthians may do right and improve. They participate in Christ's mediation.
Gal. 6:2,10 - Paul charges us to bear one another's burdens, and to do good to all, especially those in the household of faith.
Eph. 6:18 - Paul commands the family of God to pray for each other.
Eph. 6:19 - Paul commands that the Ephesians pray for him. If there is only one mediator, why would Paul ask for their prayers?
Phil. 1:19 - Paul acknowledges power of Philippians' earthly intercession. He will be delivered by their prayers and the Holy Spirit.
Col. 1:3 - Paul says that he and the elders pray for the Colossians. They are subordinate mediators in the body of Christ.
Col. 1:9 - Paul says that he and the elders have not ceased to pray for the Colossians, and that, by interceding, they may gain wisdom.
Col. 4:4 - Paul commands the Colossians to pray for the elders of the Church so that God may open a door for the word. Why doesn't Paul just leave it up to God? Because subordinate mediation is acceptable and pleasing to God, and brings about change in the world. This is as mysterious as the Incarnation, but it is true.
1 Thess. 5:11 - Paul charges us to encourage one another and build one another up, in the body of Christ. We do this as mediators in Christ.
1 Thess. 5:17 - Paul says "pray constantly." If Jesus' role as mediator does not apply subordinately to us, why pray at all?
1 Thess. 5:25 - Paul commands the family of God to pray for the elders of the Church. He desires our subordinate mediation.
2 Thess. 1:11 - Paul tells the family of God that he prays for us. We participate in Christ's mediation because Christ desires this.
2 Thess. 3:1 - Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray for Him, Silvanus and Timothy so that they may be delivered.
1 Tim. 2:1-3 - Paul commands us to pray for all. Paul also states that these prayers are acceptable in the sight of God.
2 Tim. 1:3 – Paul says “I remember you constantly in my prayers.”
Philemon 22 - Paul is hoping through Philemon's intercession that he may be able to be with Philemon.
Heb. 1:14 – the author writes, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?”
Hebrews 13:18-19 - the author strongly urges the Hebrews to pray for the elders so that they act desirably in all things.
James 5:14-15- James says the prayer of the priests over the sick man will save the sick man and forgive his sins. This is a powerful example of men forgiving sins and bringing a person to salvation with the sacrament of the sick.
James 5:16 - James instructs us to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another so that we may be healed.
James 5:17-18 - James refers to God's response to Elijah's fervent prayer for no rain. He is teaching us about the effectiveness of our earthly mediation.
1 John 5:14-15 - John is confident that God will grant us anything we ask of God according to His will.
1 John 5:16-17 - our prayers for others even calls God to give life to them and keep them from sinning. Our God is a personal and living God who responds to our prayers.
3 John 2 - John prays for Gaius' health and thus acts as a subordinate mediator.
Rev. 1:4 – this verse shows that angels (here, the seven spirits) give grace and peace. Because grace and peace only come from God, the angels are acting as mediators for God.
Rev. 5:8 - the prayers of the saints (on heaven and earth) are presented to God by the angels and saints in heaven. This shows that the saints intercede on our behalf before God, and it also demonstrates that our prayers on earth are united with their prayers in heaven. (The “24 elders” are said to refer to the people of God – perhaps the 12 tribes and 12 apostles - and the “four living creatures” are said to refer to the angels.)
Rev. 6:9-11 – the martyred saints in heaven cry out in a loud voice to God to avenge their blood “on those who dwell upon the earth.” These are “imprecatory prayers,” which are pleas for God’s judgment (see similar prayers in Psalm 35:1; 59:1-17; 139:19; Jer. 11:20; 15:15; 18:19; Zech.1:12-13). This means that the saints in heaven are praying for those on earth, and God answers their prayers (Rev. 8:1-5). We, therefore, ask for their intercession and protection.
Rev. 8:3-4 – in heaven an angel mingles incense with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne of God, and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God. These prayers “rise up” before God and elicit various kinds of earthly activity. God responds to his children’s requests, whether made by his children on earth or in heaven.
Margie Prox Sindelar