“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them …” (Hebrews 9:15a-b from Hebrews 9:1-28 )
I noted that this has been a sustained theme over 6 chapters – the role that Jesus Christ can play in the life of the believer, as an agent of grace, mercy, and salvation. However, I am chagrined to report that it took me this long to look back at the beginning of Hebrews; this letter from Paul is designed from the first to be an introduction to Christ the Messiah, and specifically that, his role as Messiah. Here Paul reveals Christ in the role of mediator which ties into the other roles that Paul has identified as Christ having. And I might have said again, yes/but, this is not all the Jesus does. Instead I have a different approach I want to make to this.
I don’t usually spend a lot of time with clients over the course of a year. First, most of our clients are stable in their lives and do not need some to monitor them. Second, most of them have other service providers who oversee their medical, physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. But not all. I spent several hours with a client who was in the midst of a client and needed to get services beyond what had already been established. My role was to advocate and insure the client got the needed services. So in a way I functioned as a mediator between the client and the location of services. It is not the first time I have done this, and most certainly will not be the last. As I read this verse, it gave pause.
Let me hasten to say that the services I mediated and advocated for were most certainly earth bound. Furthermore, they were not spiritual in nature. And finally, I am not the only one who can and has done this type of advocating and mediating. We are familiar with the term “mediator” because it is something that is done all the time in our culture and the global culture. It is a task that is quite often needed, especially as our global community because more broken and hurting. All of us at one time or another need fresh starts and new beginning.
I am aware that thus far I have not said much new or revolutionary. Nor perhaps have I explained completely why it gave me pause. Certainly I was pleased in a human earthly sort of way I helped by client by being an advocate and mediator. But it is the portion of the verse where Paul says “those who are called may receive.” From Paul’s perspective not everyone may gain the benefit of this new covenant or beginning. And that Christ is the mediator insuring that they are granted the new covenant. That it is ONLY THROUGH Christ, in fact, that this new covenant if available to them.
Now, if I was to tell you that my biggest role today was to insure that my client’s name would be called to receive treatment and receive exactly the treatment that was needed, perhaps the parallel would make more sense. So many people go to service providers of all types for treatment, but often they and their problems are minimalized or overlooked. It is very helpful to have someone there to make sure they are called back for services and treated correctly and appropriately. Is this not what Paul is saying that Christ does? I do not say this to place a spotlight on myself, but to show you gentle reader that while we may not be Divine, our actions can be life-saving to another. Do not think that what we do for another is inconsequential – for better or for worse. What we do matters. While we cannot bring any eternal to the other, we can bring grace, mercy, and compassion.
And the reason I am so adamant about this is because it is exactly what is missing from Paul’s theology in Hebrews. That Jesus is not only Highest Priest but Exemplar as well! Paul portrays a Christ who does most wondrous things, but does not teach that we should model as much and as best we can what Christ does for us!
May you gentle reader look to Christ for mercy and redemption for a new beginning; may you also work with and for others so that they might have new beginnings also. Selah! And shalom for all of us this day.