Have you ever turned the wrong way on a one-way street? This is something I can tell you that I haven’t done. Yet. And it’s a miracle, actually, since I work downtown and many streets in that area are all one way.
Now, I have been driving and someone else has turned the wrong way down a one-way street. And that’s a little disconcerting. I remember one morning I was driving down Second Street (a one way street) and I saw a semitruck heading directly for me. The driver had gotten confused and turned the wrong way. I remember seeing cars scrambling to get out of his way before he realized what he had done. I’m not sure what he was trying to do, but if he wanted to get on the highway he couldn’t. Not on Second Street. You can get off the highway onto Second Street but you can’t get on from there. Because it’s a one-way street and it only goes one direction.
It’s not a very good example, but that’s what I thought of when I read today’s verse, 1 Timothy 2:5-6.
5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.
As much as people would like to argue the fact, there is only one God. Granted, people don’t live like there is. And even Christians don’t live like this is the truth, but the Bible says there is only one God.
Similarly, there is only one Mediator between God and Man and that is Jesus. It’s not a priest. It’s not Mary. It’s just Jesus.
What is a mediator, though? What does it take to be a mediator?
Well, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law, a mediator is “one that works to effect reconciliation, settlement, or compromise between parties at variance.” So a mediator is a person who intervenes between two people (or groups of people) who are at odds and seeks to bring peace between them.
Well, how does that work? Ideally, a mediator is going to need to understand both sides of the story.
If you’ve ever been in the middle between two people who are fighting about something, you (as the third party observer) will understand if you open your eyes that there is always more than one story happening. And if you desire to bring peace between two people, you have to understand both (or all) sides of that story. Who wronged who. Why they did it. What their motivation was. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Then, once you understand both sides, you can start to bring peace between them.
This is what Jesus did.
He is God. He’s has always been God. God created everything we know through Jesus, and Jesus is the force holding everything together.
But what we celebrate as Christmas is the miraculous event where God came to us in flesh and bone. He lived here with us. He walked with us. He talked to people and loved people and experienced everything people experience — just without sinning.
I’ve heard people say that they don’t think Jesus really understands us because He wasn’t the same as us. I can understand how people would believe that because, yes, He’s God. And even if he put on skin and lived among us, He was still God while He did it. But He was still 100% human at the same time. How can that be? I don’t know. That’s one of those things in Scripture that can’t be explained. How can anyone be 100% anything AND 100% something else at the same time? That’s not anything we can do. But we’re not talking about us. We’re talking about God. And for God to understand 100% what it was like to be us, He had to become us. So that’s what He did.
Every temptation and every struggle and every difficulty and every problem we have in our lives, Jesus experienced too.
So, now, He’s in heaven at God the Father’s right hand mediating. He understands what it’s like to be human. He knows how hard it is to keep working even though you’re overloaded. He knows how hard it is to be a good son (or daughter). He knows how hard it is to say goodbye to friends who are bad influences. He knows how disappointing it is to say no to temptation. He knows.
And it’s not to say that God the Father doesn’t know what it’s like to be human. Of course, He does. He’s God. But there’s a big difference between knowing and understanding. And Jesus understands.
And I guess I said all of that to say this:
There’s one God. There’s one Mediator. So that means there’s one way.
People get really upset when we talk about there only being one way to get to heaven, but that is what the Bible says. Of course, you are free to disagree. But if you do disagree, please don’t say you believe the Bible. Because that is what the Bible is about.
As it says at the end of 1 Timothy 2:5-6, this is the message that God gave us. There is one way to get to heaven, and that is through Jesus, who gave His life to bring everyone freedom.
I’m thankful there is a way to get to heaven. Knowing who I am and what I have done in my life, I don’t deserve any way. But God loved me enough to send a solution — and not just a solution so I can get into heaven, but a means for me to be reconciled to Him. So now I have a relationship with God Himself. I can drop everything I’m doing and talk to Him, tell Him how I’m struggling, tell Him what I’m worrying about, and He’ll help me. He’s my Father. He’s my Friend.
You can try other ways to get to God if you want, but they won’t work. Much like a one-way street, you can drive the wrong direction down it, but you run the risk of getting hurt (or hurting others) and, in the end, you won’t get where you’re trying to go.