The middleman. You know the kind. They sometimes frustrate us to no end.
When buying a vehicle, you don’t talk to the main man. You talk to the middleman. He talks to the main man, and then he talks to you. When you order your food, you don’t order from the one in charge. You order from the waitress. When you work for the corporation, you don’t work for the owner. You work for the manager. In the army, you report to the lieutenant, not the commander-in-chief. When negotiating, you deal with the liaison. Wouldn’t things be easier if you had direct access to the man himself?
The middleman can complicate things. We experience them today for good reasons. One man cannot meet with everyone. Nor does he want to. One man cannot know everything and solve every problem, nor can he execute every decision. The middleman frees up the man, softens the blow, saves him time, allows him to relate more efficiently, and more.
The book of Hebrews begins with these earth-shattering, time-stopping, life-changing words, “God has spoken directly and personally.” Written by an unknown Jewish author to an unknown Jewish audience suffering persecution, this acts as a pivotal moment in the kingdom of God. For in the Jewish mind, God did not speak directly or personally. He used a middleman.
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2)
The Jews had similar frustrations with the middleman. Since he lacked the display of dynamo God exhibited, the people treated him less than honorably at times. Prophets were often ridiculed, even killed, for who they were. Even Jesus said that a prophet is not welcome in his own town (Lk. 4:24). This is because sinful people do not esteem envoys like their officials.
This wasn’t always the case, however. On the other side of the watery fence, the recently delivered Israelites trembled at the thunderous sound and terrific demonstration of God’s Word. Yep, at the foot of Mount Sinai, they begged for a middleman. God’s presence was too terrifying. They feared death at the heat of His radiant glory. So, Moses answered the call and acted as intermediary (Ex. 20:18-21).
Middlemen play critical roles today just as much as they did in the ancient days of Israel. They not only act on behalf of their superiors, but they act as a barrier and warning beacon from their superior’s anger. They come with both positive and negative benefits. On one hand, the Jews did not taste the full force of God’s prevailing holiness. On the other hand, they were unable to hear God’s truth first hand. They were unable to get the exact picture. This is why the opening of Hebrews was so pivotal. God introduced a new middleman who was more than a middleman. He was God.
This article was adapted from the study guide, Jesus: The Superior One, written by Jacob Abshire, Laura Jackson, Curtis Riddle, and Katie Van Dyke, and based on sermons by Nathan Lino, pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church.