Two years ago we suffered a serious house fire. The very next day a whole team of people, sent by the insurance company, were on our doorstep to help plan the recovery and rebuilding process which turned out to take the next seven months. The key person in this team was the ‘loss adjuster’. His job was to help us and the insurers settle on the cost of replacing what we had lost. Though he was appointed by the insurance company he was also looking after our interests as well. He was a kind of ‘middle man’.
I am involved in another situation where I need someone to represent me, to act as my ‘middle man’. I trust him to speak on my behalf in a situation where it would be difficult for me to speak for myself.
We sometimes want to cut out the middle man. It sometimes feels as though the middle man is getting in the way of our dealing directly and more cheaply with the wholesaler or the boss or whoever it is. Yet there are circumstances where that middle man is crucial. He can do things we cannot do on our own. He can achieve an agreement which meets the needs of both parties. If we trust him, he can take the worry, resolve the problem, help us forward.
Jesus himself is described as a ‘Middle Man’. The Bible word for that is Mediator, but it means the same thing. Some modern Bible translations describe his job, for instance in 1Timothy 2, verse 5 - “There is one God, and there is one who brings God and humanity together, the man Christ Jesus.”
It is not that God is against us, any more than the insurance company - if it’s doing its job properly - is some kind of enemy. Just as the insurer appoints and pays for the loss adjuster to bring us together, so God appoints and sends his Son to represent him and to draw us into harmony and a deeper relationship with God.
But if you have ever acted as a mediator yourself, ever tried to bring two people together who had some kind of problem relationship, you know it is not always an easy job. It can be costly, even dangerous; it needs patience, understanding and self-sacrifice. It can involve rejection and abuse.
To bring us to the Father, Jesus came among us, sat with us, talked with us, reached out a hand to us, and in the end suffered and died for us - all to bring us into closer, deep and good relationship with God. Here is a Middle Man who reaches out, who rescues, who restores. Here is one we can trust with our lives.
He reaches out his hand to us now. Our part is to take his hand and be drawn to the Father and to find peace in him. He then challenges us to become middle men and women for others, to be makers of peace and to help reconcile the separated. It may be costly for us too, but we will be extending the hand of God into the world in the work of drawing all people to him.