Do you remember being in grade school and having a crush on someone in your class? But, of course you could never talk to that person yourself. Such communication in the elementary years is simply not done. So what does one do? You acquire a go-between. The most dangerous route to go was to write a letter (the go-between document) in which you offered this person a choice “will you go with me… yes or no, circle one”. Which is a weird ultimatum… that nearly always resulted in a “maybe” (though I’ve always wondered about the question itself: “go with” you where?) The danger of using the note as an intermediary is you have just created paperwork that can be used against you… there’s no plausible deniability regarding your affections when that person has the documentation in hand. Not only are you subject to rejection, but incriminating evidence could even be handed to the teacher [gasp!]. A more careful approach was to employ an intercessor (a negotiator, mediator, or go-between). This was usually a good friend whom you send to broach the subject on your behalf, assessing the viability of this playground romance. Perhaps your chosen second goes not directly to your romantic interest, but to a friend of your romantic interest; thus multiple levels of intermediaries are employed to maximize the safety of everyone’s feelings. These intermediaries keep appropriate distance such that you might readily deny your affections if the result is less than optimal. You could claim your friendly go-between was only engaged in an elaborate joke; you of course disdain even the thought of a relationship with this person as you are certain that said person is rife with virulent cooties. When you examine it, it really is an impressive amount of diplomacy and tactical precision for mere children.
The intercessor (go-between) is a concept deeply entrenched in human culture. Whenever we consider a tricky or dangerous social engagement the thought of getting help from someone who might represent you emerges quite organically. It’s not merely part of our nature, it’s also present in nearly every religious system in the world: this is clearly evidence of a deep spiritual need for someone to bridge the gap. Nowhere though is the concept of intercessor so central as in Christianity. This week we are going to focus on Jesus the ultimate go-between, not just historically but even now. Behold Jesus our Intercessor today!