Exodus 17:1-7, 33:7-23, 34:1-9, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, Hebrews 12:18-24, 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, 1 Peter 2:4-7
My wife and I recently went to the theatre to see Bridge of Spies. While you might expect an espionage story to be action packed, the majority of the film is actually focused on Tom Hanks in the role of a master negotiator. No spoilers here. You can gather from the trailer that Hanks, a mild mannered insurance lawyer, is up for the challenge of a lifetime. He must mediate an unofficial prisoner trade between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the peak of the Cold War.
As we walked out of the theatre, I thought, Being a professional mediator would be an insanely stressful job.
A little later on, though, it made me think of Moses.
Moses was a mediator for Israel. Part of his role as leader was to stand between Yahweh and the people of God. Instead of merely serving political interests, Moses was responsible for mediating the Law of God to an entire nation. Initially, he was also responsible for mediating the sins of the people before God. Though we serve a loving and gracious God, I cannot imagine a more demanding role.
At the outset of His public ministry, Jesus proclaimed clearly that He had not come to abolish the Law, but rather to fulfill it (Matthew 5: 17). In fact, the entire Sermon on the Mount is reflective of Moses standing before the people, presenting the Law. Every time we hear Jesus proclaim, “You have heard it said…but I say unto you,” we witness Him reissuing, reaffirming, and remediating the Law.
Where Moses had to continually offer sacrifice and ask for pardon, Jesus laid down His life, becoming not only the sacrifice, but also the Great High Priest. For truly, only someone who was (and is) fully God and fully man can accurately mediate the relationship between God and humanity.
God, in His mercy, appointed Moses to temporarily stand in the gap between Him and His people. Knowing Moses could not sustain the type of mediation needed for a relationship with a perfectly holy God, the Lord entered into our dying world in the form a child. This child was and is the world’s only hope. As the writer of Hebrews clearly established, Jesus is the true fulfillment of Moses’ mission.
Whether you’ve lost hope of meaningful contact with God, or you’ve overestimated your own ability to mediate, there is great news! The coming of Jesus at Christmas represents an opportunity for relationship with the perfect advocate; one who has known our suffering and heartbreak, but also knows the perfect love of the Father.
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human, who gave Himself—a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
He is Emmanuel, God with us and in the gap for us.
Written by Andrew Stoddard