Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. John 19:18
Jesus in the middle. It seems like Jesus was always in the middle. The Greek word translated “in the middle” is mesos – the middle, the midst, in the midst of, amongst, between. It comes from meta, which means “with,” “denoting accompaniment,” “amid.”
That’s why he came – to be with us, among us, in our midst. That was his mission and his passion. From the beginning to the end of his life on earth when he died still in the middle of sinful man.
[When he was 12 years old:] After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among (or, in the midst of) the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Luke 2:46
[His last night on earth:] For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. Luke 22:27 (ESV)
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, God revealed to John the Baptist that Messiah was coming and that he was in our midst, not like John himself, who had kept himself separated.
“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know.” John 1:26
So many times, the Bible tells of Jesus in the middle of the crowd, being grasped at and jostled, so that in the crush his disciples would be astonished that he could ask, “Who touched me?” (Luke 8:45)
And Jesus touched them, and held them, and he mingled with them, and he ate with them, and he welcomed them – much to the consternation and distain of many.
Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the crowds were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Luke 19:6-7 (NLT)
Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:2 (NASB)
But you know what is the most amazing and wondrous example of Jesus in the middle? It’s in Colossians:
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away (out of our mesos = midst, out from amongst us), nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14
Do you see it? He took out from our midst all our sins, all that stood against us, all that opposed us, all the kept us separated from the love of God. And he replaced it with Himself. One of the meanings of mesos is “between.” Jesus stood between us and the just wrath of God. Like Aaron the High Priest, a type of Jesus, who ran into the midst of the assembly with the censer, stopping the deadly plague (Numbers 16:44-50). Jesus in the middle.
And he is still in the middle, still in our midst, still interceding for us. His blood shed on the cross for all time has stopped the deadly plague of sin and death if we will but look to him in faith.
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Luke 24:36
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20 (ESV)
… and in the middle of the lampstands [which represent the churches] I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. Revelation 1:13 (NASB)
For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” Hebrew 2:11-12 (ESV)
This post is also available as a Bible study at https://hiddentreasurebiblestudies.home.blog/2021/06/03/jesus-in-the-middle/
Image: Ford Maddox Brown, Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet [1852-6], Tate Archive, image released under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported)