3 Apr 2010

Reconciling the World to Himself

"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 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."
2 Cor 5.18-20

This semester for one of my classes which we affectionately have named "Ruth & friends" we have been asked by our professor to read each of the books assigned (Ruth, Psalms, Ephesians, Philippians, Romans, Jonah & Ruth) and to journal about them thoughtfully.

I was journaling on Ruth and the concept of "kinsmen-redeemer", that which Boaz was to Ruth and her family. In thinking about what defines a kinsmen-redeemer the following 4 things summarize it quite well:

1. He must be a Kinsman ~ this can mean related by blood or a person having the same nationality or ethnic group.

2. He must be Free himself

3. He must be able to Pay the Price.

4. He must be Willing to pay the price.

It was Good Friday when i was journalling. And it struck me how Boaz is a type (or a symbol that came before) of Jesus. He was an early picture for us, for the people of Israel what it means to redeem, buy back, give a future and a hope, and to be willing to all of this at a great price. I also got to thinking that God is so gracious for leaving us examples everywhere of how he is reconciling the world to himself in Christ.

I think of the countless men and women I know overseas, pouring out their lives that others may know the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. That people may not only know, but understand why He came and died. This for many has come at great price, that of leaving sons & daughters, and mothers & fathers, and brothers & sisters on the other side of the ocean. No doubt today skype has closed the gap, but playing play-dough across video skype is different that attending your nephews birthday party in person.

I also think of my friend Mark (& Nancy), who adopted a little Polish girl. And at a great price he eagerly brought her (along with her brother) into his family, giving her a hope and a future. I think of my friends Michael & Vickie who did this for 3 precious siblings... and my heart smiles.

It brings to mind the Village of Hope, where foreign parents had moved to take care of and raise precious children that God sees as beautiful, but the state had rejected. These foster parents were a redeeming picture of what Christ did for us. (please continue to pray for these parents who this month were deported and forced to leave their foster kids behind).

And all of that brought me to the verse in 2 Corinthians, the fact that He "gave us the ministry of reconciliation". Because of the example we have in Christ, "he has committed to us the message of reconciliation". God is making his appeal through us! What a humbling fact and a incredible calling!

"We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God."

Today, the day before Easter Sunday may you be encouraged not only in what Christ has done for you but in the truth that if you know Him, He has given YOU the ministry of RECONCILIATION!

If you take a moment to think, or look around what hints that God is reconciling the world to himself do you see around you today?