April 10th, 2019
The cross has many facets to it. Each week we have been looking at these facets and how they apply to our understanding of God’s work in our lives. Way back in our first session we reflected on the cross as atonement or the “bringing together” of God and humanity through Christ’s work on the cross. Today we look at another facet, the cross as reconciliation. Let’s take a look at Romans 5:9-11, “9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” It is through the work of Christ on the cross that we are reconciled back to God. He overcame our rejection and restored us to faith.
Let’s pray - “Lord and Father, you see us turn away from you time and time again.” Forgive us for wanting to be the masters of our own lives. Draw us back to you by the power of your Spirit. Shape us into the people that you would have us be, that we can trust more deeply in you, through Jesus Christ. Amen.”
We don’t have to look too far into Scripture to discover stories about the need for reconciliation. Jesus’ teachings are full of parables that address this issue. An excellent place to starts is Mark 12:1-12; the parable of the owner and the tenants. The story goes like this: There is a man who owns a vineyard and rents it out to tenants. When it is time to collect some of the fruit from the vineyard he sends his servants to collect it. Multiple times the tenants either beat or killed the servants. Finally, the owner sends his son to collect what is due to him; but he is also killed and thrown out of the vineyard. The situation is simple: the tenants ignored the owner. They created a circumstance where the relationship was broken between them and the owner, to say the least. The son was rejection and destruction ensued.
In this parable we recognize God the Father as the owner and the son as Jesus. Jesus, like the son, is rejected and killed. But this is not the end of the story. We read in vs. 10-11 that even though Christ was rejected God used Him to be the cornerstone of the Kingdom of God, “10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:“‘ The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’[a]?” Man’s rejection isn’t the final word about Jesus. God’s acceptance of Him is.
For true reconciliation to take place, we must accept the fact that we are broken. We create the situation in which our relationship with God is broken. We rebelled against our creator, just like Adam and Eve. Our open relationship with God is transgressed by our own sin.
The stark reality is that we are enemies of God. The good news is that Christ died for us and sets a model for what reconciliation looks like. Jesus gives us clues as to what He will do on the cross early in his ministry in places like Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you . . . “ Christ loves us, even if we are enemies of God. He loves us, prays for us, and reconciles us back to God.
Jesus models this love for His enemies as we were His enemies. Christ was not in it to prove His own righteousness, but to save us. He laid down His life for His friends, showing us what love is, creating the relationship faith between us and God, which is what God had intended from the beginning.