May 18, 2016
READ: Ephesians 2:11-18
[Jesus] made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people (v.15).
I live in a region and neighbourhood that share a tragic racial history. For instance, the daughter of one of my elderly neighbours was part of a civil suit to force area schools to obey federal law and desegregate. As I’ve spoken with my neighbours, I’ve had to grapple with the racial divide in my country, with the many ways people have yet to fulfil God’s mandate to be agents of reconciliation.
Reconciling humans to God and to each other (part of the gospel message) isn’t merely some modern social imperative that is insisted upon by enlightened people. Rather, reconciliation is a central part of God’s mission in the world. We “have been united with Christ Jesus. Once [we] were far away from God, but now [we] have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). Jesus “made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people” (v.15).
The Duke Centre for Reconciliation has issued a fantastic document that lays out ten theses for “Recovering Reconciliation as the Mission of God”. The first thesis declares the essential foundation for a Christian vision of reconciliation: “Reconciliation is God’s gift to the world. Healing of the world’s deep brokenness does not begin with us and our action, but with God and God’s gift of new creation.”
Reconciliation isn’t something that we first do—it’s something that is done to us. Jesus brought us back to God, reconciled us—and then (and only then) called us to participate with Him in His grand vision to renew the world.
To reconcile means to bring together what has been severed, to move people from a place of enmity to a place of friendship. In Christ, God has done this for us. In Christ, God has done this for the world (v.18).
365-day plan: Psalm 145:1-21
Read Galatians 3:26-29 and consider how people of all races are one in Jesus.
What does it add to your understanding of the cross to recognise that Jesus was enacting your reconciliation with God? How does it expand your vision when you understand that He was also providing for reconciliation among estranged people?