Pastor's Corner: Von Anderson
II Corinthians 5:17-19, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (ESV)
So over the past few weeks we have been looking at the story of Jonah. How God called him to go to Nineveh and proclaim a message to them. In the last verses of the book of Matthew, God gives his disciples, and through that all that would come after them, the command to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. So what is our message that we are to share? Here in Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, he shares with us that God has indeed given us a message, and that message is the message of reconciliation. A basic definition of the word reconciliation is—the ability to bring two things that are in disagreement back into agreement with one another.
There is a story of two brothers. These brothers were extremely close to one another. They grew up doing everything together. Even as they grew older they still remained close. They even built houses next door to each other on very large piece of land. There was a wooded area the kept them separated and a small dam that had been erected to provide a small pond that they could fish and swim in. But like most relationships, there came a time when there was a disagreement. It festered a grew and caused these two brothers to drift completely apart, to the point they never spoke or saw one another. One day the brother on the east awakened to find that the dam had been removed and there was now a running stream of water that ran right through the middle of the two properties. Somewhere/sometime during the night the brother on the east had removed the dam and in a sense widened the rift between them. About a year later there was a knock on the eastern brothers front door, and there on the doorstep was an older gentlemen with a tool box, wearing some ragged work clothes. He proceeded to tell the brother that he was a handyman just looking for some work. He asked if the brother had any projects that he could do. The brother responded by telling that
he had just purchased a load of wood for a special project and he would be happy if the gentlemen could complete the project for him. They walked through the house to the backyard and there, just as the brother had said, was a large pile of wood. The brother explained that he would like a fence built right up against the stream so that he would no longer have to look at his brothers property. He asked for a proper fence, not a six foot high, but an eight foot high. He told the gentlemen that he was leaving for a few days on business and would be back by the end of the week. The gentlemen told him that the project would be done by the time he returned. At the end of the week the brother returned and walked to the back of the house and was amazed and shocked by what he saw. Where there was supposed to be an eight foot high fence was a simple but masterfully built bridge. The design was simple but functional in every-way. It was built directly over the new free flowing stream, once again connecting the two properties. Before he could ask the gentlemen why the bridge and not the fence as requested, he looked on the other side and saw the last thing he expected to see. There walking across the bridge was his estranged brother. He proceeded to walk across and met him half-way. There his brother held out his arms with tears in his eyes and the two embraced. Both pouring out their hearts in apologies and sorrow for time lost for their split. They walked off the bridge to talk with and thank the bridge builder. They told him that they had several more projects that they would love for him to help them out with. The gentlemen gently told them that he would have to decline, he had several more bridges that needed built. He packed up his tools and left the brothers laughing and continue to repair their once broken relationship.
Romans 3:23 says, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.(ESV). Isaiah 59:2 says, but your iniquities(sins) have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.(ESV). You see our sins, and that is on a personal not a collective sense, have created a rift between us and God. It has separated us from Him and has caused a division that we, as mankind, had no way to repair. Enter in Jesus. He is THE MASTER BRIDGE BUILDER. God sent him to repair what we had broken. He
took our sins, our iniquities, our failures, our weaknesses and took them to the cross where with his arms stretched outward built the bridge that reconciles us to God. That ministry of reconciliation is what Christ has left us to continue. To share the message that Christ has built the bridge that restores our relationship with God. That Christ has paid the price that we had and have no possible way of paying. So we have our audience(the world), we have our commission(to go to the whole world), we have our message(reconciliation), and we have our example(Christ). So really what are we truly waiting for?