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Comparative Theology, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
31- Difference between the Mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Intercessions of the Saints
Our Protestant brethren reject intercessions of the Virgin Mary or of the angels or of the saints they base their rejection on Saint John the Apostle: "... we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1John.2: 1) and the words of the Apostle Paul: "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1Tim.2: 5).
(1) In fact there is a fundamental difference between the mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ and the intercessions of the saints
The mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ is an atonement, which means that He mediates for the forgiveness of our sins, being the Atoner who paid our debts on our behalf. His mediation means that He says to the Father: "Do not count their transgressions because I have carried their iniquity" (Is.53:6). Thus He stands as a Mediator between God and men; or rather, He is the only Mediator between God and men; He fulfilled Godís Divine Justice and granted people the forgiveness of sins, by dying for them.
This is what St. John the Apostle meant when he said: "And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (1John.2: 1,2). Here, the atoning mediation is very clear. It is a mediation for the sinner: "If anyone sins", and this sinner needs atonement. The only One who offered this atonement was Jesus Christ the righteous. Hence He can mediate for us through His blood which was shed for us.
The same meaning is given in the words of St. Paul the Apostle about the Lord Jesus Christ being the only Mediator between God and men. He says: "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all" (1Tim.2: 5,6). The Lord Jesus Christ mediates for us as the Redeemer who sacrificed Himself and paid the price of our sins.
This type of mediation is utterly unquestionable. It is attributed to Christ only, whereas the intercessions of the saints has no connection with atonement or redemption. It is intercessions for us to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
(2) The intercessions of the saints for us are merely praying for us; they are of the pleading type, which is completely different to Christ's atoning mediation
This is sanctioned by the Holy Bible which says: "...pray for one another" (Jas.5: 16). The saints themselves asked people to pray for them. St. Paul said to the Thessalonians: "...pray for us" (2Thess.3: 1) and asked the Hebrews the same request: "Pray for us" (Heb.13: 18). He also said to the Ephesians: "...praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints - and for me" (Eph.6: 18,19), and we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other pages. The request to pray for one another is countless in the Holy Bible. If the saints ask us to pray for them, shall we not ask them to pray for us? If we ask the prayers of those who are still in their spiritual combats, 44 subject to sufferings like ourselves", shall we not ask the prayers of the saints who completed their striving and departed to Paradise, living with Christ? Or have these saints been demoted after their departure from earth to Paradise so that we are only allowed to ask their prayers when they are on earth and forbidden to do so when they are in Paradise close to God? If we ask the prayers of human beings, is it too much to ask the prayers of the angels?
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