Theology Corner

The Sage and the Seeker


In the Orthodox traditions associated with the East, there is a catechetical practice which presents the faith as a dialogue between two characters: the seeker and the sage. This style of discourse no doubt borrows from the earlier pedagogy of 1st Century Judaism and is evocative of the rabbi/disciple relationship we meet in the gospels. We also find an analogous relationship in the Socratic Dialogues of Plato, who imagined his own teacher Socrates engaging various characters, and whose debates are presented for our learning. In these examples, the relationship is integral to the exchange. The context – as much as the content – of our learning is important. Even though the relationship between the seeker and the sage is imagined, it communicates something significant to us as onlookers: wisdom presupposes relationship. Quite a thought as we contemplate the interface between A.I and the exchange of information!

As we seek to mature as Christian disciples, we should reflect on the contexts in which our own learning takes place: who are the sages we turn to? Who is passing on the faith to us? And of course, for whom are we the sage – how are we passing on the faith that is in us?

This Easter we have imagined such a conversation between seeker and sage, exploring the theology of Christ’s role as our mediator. My hope is that we might see something of ourselves in the seeker, and in the questions they ask. (Certainly, these are questions I have asked myself over the years.) Likewise, it is my hope that we might find something of value in the response of the sage.

With Warm wishes

Rev. Simon

Easter 2024

The Discourse of the Seeker and the Sage

Seeker: Who is the Mediator of the New Covenant?

Sage: Jesus Christ, the Son of God; who for our sake clothed himself in our human nature and yet remained fully God.

Seeker: Why must the Mediator be fully human?

Sage: So that in sharing our human nature He might be able to identify with us in our weakness.

So that in his Humanity he might live the perfect life, and so meet the perfect demands of the Law on our behalf.

So that he might take our place, bearing in himself the penalty of human sin without miscarriage of justice. Thus, the sin of all humanity was justly laid upon Him who was fully human.

Seeker: Why must the Mediator be fully God

Sage: So that He might show us in person the Way, the Truth, and the Life within Himself.

So that He might have the authority to forgive sin.

So that He might have the power to overcome the consequence of sin, which is death.

Seeker: Why did God redeem the world through a Mediator?

Sage: To demonstrate the perfections of His love and justice. In the Mediator sin is justly condemned, and through the Mediator sinners are freely forgiven.

Seeker: Is the Mediator a victim of divine justice?

Sage: No. Jesus Christ, the Mediator, is Himself fully God. He offered his life willingly. He is the author and perfector of our faith, and the architect of our salvation.

As the Scripture says: “I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”[1]

Seeker: Could God have redeemed the world another way?

Sage: Perhaps, but that is not for us to know. God’s love is a mystery. In His Wisdom, God redeemed the world in a way that mirrors its fall into death and decay. Death entered the world through sin, and yet sin is defeated through the death of the sinless One.

As the Scripture says: “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”[2]

Seeker: How do I receive the forgiveness of the Mediator?

Sage: By faith. It is the gift of God which receive by faith. By believing in the Mediator, we receive the benefits wrought by the Mediator.

As the scripture says: “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”[3]

And again: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”[4]

[1] John 10:18

[2] 1 Corinthians 15:21-22

[3] Romans 10:9

[4] Ephesians 2:8-9