You’ve come to Jesus, who presents us with a new covenant, a fresh charter from God. He is the Mediator of this covenant. The murder of Jesus, unlike Abel’s—a homicide that cried out for vengeance—became a proclamation of grace. —Hebrews 12:24, The Message
I once got into a dustup with a boss. By once, I mean that I am thinking of a particular instance, not that I have been wise enough in my life to have argued with a boss only once.
Anyway, this disagreement began small, as such things usually do, and grew very large. We were each convinced of our own righteousness, and the feud was interfering with our work, our relationship and our organization. Our attempts to resolve the issues face to face failed. Ultimately, we went before a higher authority, a board of mediation. They heard us out, discussed the issues, and made a judgment that allowed everyone to get back to work. No bloodshed.
There was no mediator standing between Cain and Abel.
Abel was the second son of Adam and Eve. Cain, his brother, was their firstborn. The fourth chapter of Genesis tells us that Cain became jealous when his younger brother seemed to find favor with God. When his jealousy turned to rage, Cain murdered Abel.
Thus, the first family of creation not only introduced the world to disobedience, but also to the willful taking of human life. For the first time, the blood of an innocent man had been spilt on the earth by another.
God himself sentenced Cain: he was banished from his land, banished from his family, and banished from the very presence of God.
Whether you read this story as history or allegory, the question it raises is the same: If we, too, have broken God’s laws and offended God’s sense of justice, can we expect to fare any better than Cain, the very first child of the earth? Is there any good reason to believe that we might find leniency where Cain did not?
No? Then I have another question: Is there anyone who has the moral standing to mediate between God and me?
Hebrews 12 asserts that Jesus Christ is our Mediator. Jesus, the righteous, perfect Son of God places himself—his own body, his own life—between God and me. The innocent, spilt blood of Jesus has been accepted as the substitutionary payment for my sins. Jesus took my guilt, and in Jesus I have been granted a full and unconditional pardon by the Lord God.
That, in a nutshell, is Christianity. It could be a lot of pie-in-the-sky nonsense. Or, it could be that in Christ we have discovered a more generous and merciful God than we ever imagined. A God who, out of love for us, appointed his own Son to be our Mediator.