Reconcilation

Hebrews 2

Hebrews 2 18

This chapter focuses on reconciliation. Throughout all of time we see over and over where even God’s greatest saints fall short (outside of Christ, more on that soon). God cannot be in the presence of sin and evil and that leaves us sinners in a difficult spot – separated from God.

So when people are separated from God, they need a mediator who comes between them to bring reconciliation. Before Christ, the priests stood between God and sinners, offering sacrifices that would reconcile the two.

Then God changed things up – he created his son. His one and only begotten son, Jesus.

Jesus is the perfect mediator/reconciler – he has common ground with both parties but is not the same as either. He was the only perfect man – the spotless lamb the law required. Unlike the priests who repeatedly brought animal sacrifices for themselves and the people, Jesus offered Himself once for all to the Father in payment for the sins of all mankind.

His work on on our behalf does not end there. After his death, he arose and then ascended to heaven, where He sits at the Father’s right hand and intercedes for us. Take comfort, we have someone next to God, fighting on our behalf seeking reconciliation and offering help when we are in need.

-John Wincapaw

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A Job to Do

2 Corinthians 5

2 Corinthians 5 19

 

I recently watched Finding Hope Now (also more recently titled Streets of Hope) based on the true story of the ministry of Roger Minassian and his book Gangs to Jobs: Faith-Based Gang Intervention for Your City.  At 53 Roger left his comfortable pastorate to create a ministry to gang members (something he knew nothing about at the time – except that they needed help – even though they often didn’t want it).  I won’t share too much about the movie because I hope you see it for yourself.  But at one point a gang member is before a judge who has the power to convict the young man for crimes he did commit and deliver him to a punishment he did deserve.  But, Roger was there at the teen’s side – even though this kid had personally caused Roger much personal pain, heartache and property damage.  Roger was speaking for the troubled teen.  Telling the judge of the change he saw – the old was gone, the new had come.  Roger was deep in the ministry of reconciliation – both to reconcile this young man with the court system and his community – as well as to reconcile him to God.  Now, you have to watch the movie to see what happened next.

 

Reconciliation is “the restoration of friendly relations”.  And, the world is much in need of it – particularly as it pertains to restoring a relationship with God.  Paul says it best here:

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.                   (2 Corinthians 5:17-21 . NIV)

 

 

God seeks restoration and “friendly relationships” with His creation.  So much so that He sent His sinless Son to carry our sins to the cross so we could become new, righteous creations who could draw near to God.  Previously our mountain of baggage and sins we were carrying was keeping us from embracing God.  But God made a way for us to set it all down – at the foot of the cross.  Because Jesus spoke for us God is not holding our sins against us – if we are in Christ – and have asked for forgiveness, accepted Jesus as Lord, been baptized to demonstrate the putting off of the old self, and are living a life of obedience.

 

If you aren’t there yet – in Christ – why not?  “We implore you on Christ’s behalf.  Be reconciled to God.” (vs. 20).  Please talk to your pastor or Sunday School teacher or youth group leader or Godly parents or me.  You don’t have to wait until you are perfect or you know the whole Bible – none of us Christians fall into either of those categories.  You just need to be ready to put the old behind.  Drop the junk you are holding onto, accept the sacrifice the Son made for you as he was speaking to his Dad for you and put on a new friendly relationship with God.  Be reconciled to God.

 

If you are there – in Christ – Congratulations!  Best choice ever!   Daily enjoy that friendly relationship with God that was opened for you by Christ.  And, get to work – you have a job to do!

 

“God has committed/given to us, the ministry/message of reconciliation.” (vs. 18 and 19).  Saying it once wasn’t enough for Paul.  So, I will repeat it, too.  “God has committed/given to us, the ministry/message of reconciliation. (vs. 18 and 19)”.  Do it!

 

If you’ve got the priceless gift of reconciliation with God through His Son – give it to others.  It won’t subtract what you have, but it will only multiply as you follow God’s command.   Maybe you will bring the message to gang members and in the process save a whole town!  Maybe you will boldly speak to a neighbor, family member, friend, co-worker, or church youth and be instrumental in that priceless person’s decision to be reconciled to God.  And all of heaven will rejoice with you.  Pray for God to show you where to start – and then start!

 

People are listening.  People are looking for hope in a hurting world.  Yesterday my heart hurt to hear of a girl in Malaysia who posted an Instagram poll – should she live or die?  Tears are falling as I type that she received a 69% response to die – and she took her own life.

 

The enemy is alive and well and we have a job to do!   Spread life and hope and reconciliation.  You won’t convince everyone.  Paul didn’t.  Roger didn’t.  But they did change lives because of their ministry of reconciliation.  And, we can, too.  People need reconciliation with God – even if they don’t know it yet.  How will you share it?

 

In Christ and Reconciled With a Job to Do,

Marcia Railton

Not as I Will

Matthew 26

Matt 26 39

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

 

Our lives are so very busy. I know it can be hard to carve out the time to read these devotions & I applaud you for making it to this point! Some of you may be going through today & are just trying to make it to tomorrow. Some of you are stressed. Some of you are hurting. Some of you are worn. Some of you may be just fine. As we go through the highs and the lows of this life may we remember that the God who is with us on the mountain, when life is great, is the same God who walks with us in the valley, when life becomes much to bear. Today, I am challenging you to spend some quality time seeking after God. As you read through His word, I encourage you to turn off the world around you. Turn off your cell phones. Turn off your work desktop. Take a second to breathe. Pour yourself a cup of coffee (or for my southern friends, some sweet tea) and curl up next to your Bible, spending valuable time with our LORD.

Or, if there is another form of worship that draws you near to God, I encourage you to spend some time pursing it. God welcomes us with open arms. May we take some time today thanking Him for His faithfulness, His grace, and for His Son Jesus Christ who died for our sins.

A lot is happening here in Matthew Chapter 26. As Easter is approaching in just a few short days, now is a great time to read about and remember the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on our behalf. In Matthew 26, the events leading up to the death of Jesus have taken place: Jesus was anointed at Bethany, Judas planned to betray Jesus, Jesus and his disciples partook in the last supper, Jesus predicted Peter’s denial, Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, Jesus was arrested and put before the Sanhedrin, and Peter disowned Jesus. Below, I have listed a few passages that really stood out to me while reading in this chapter.

 

A Few of Many Key Passages in Matthew 26:

 

“I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom” (Matthew 26:19).

 

“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:39).

 

“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:53-54)

 

“But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64).

 

Jesus endured the worst to wash our sins clean. “Not as I will, but as You will.” What powerful words. He was sent out of love to die for you. Let that sink in today.

 

-Kayla Tullis