Summary: The cross makes reconciliation possible. It brings us together as one nation, one body, and one building, so be hopeful, be healed and be holy in all your relationships.
Once upon a time, there was an elderly couple who lived together in a nursing home. Though they had been married for 60 years, their relationship was filled with constant arguments, disagreements, and shouting contests. The fights didn't stop even in the nursing home. In fact, the couple argued and squabbled from the time they got up in the morning until they fell in bed at night.
It became so bad that the nursing home staff threatened to throw them out if they didn't change their ways. Even then, the couple couldn't agree on what to do.
Finally, the wife said to her husband: “I'll tell you what, Joe, let's pray that one of us dies. And after the funeral is over, I'll go live with my sister.” (John Beukema, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania)
She thought the only way they would ever have peace is after he died. Sometimes, our relationships even with other believers can get so bad, we wonder if the hurts could ever be healed this side of the grave. We wonder if there could ever be peace. We wonder if there could ever be true reconciliation before we all get to heaven.
Well, if you’re in that kind of a relationship, I’ve got good news for you: Peace IS possible this side of glory! The healing of broken relationships can happen starting today.
You say, “Phil, how is that possible? How can my broken relationships be healed?” Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Ephesians 2, Ephesians 2, where God shows us how true reconciliation is possible between any and all believers in Christ.
Ephesians 2:11-13 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (ESV)
Reconciliation is possible, because the cross of Christ brings us together. The blood of Christ, shed on the cross, not only brings us close to God (vs.1-10), it brings us close to each other (vs.11-22). First of all…
THE CROSS BRINGS US TOGETHER AS ONE NATION.
It makes us citizens of the same country. Those who were once our enemies are now our neighbors through the blood of Christ.
You see, before the cross, God’s people, the Jews, despised the gentiles. They despised anyone who was not one of them. In their minds, Gentiles were without circumcision (how gross is that?!). They were without Christ (or any Messiah). They were without citizenship (they were barbarians). They were without covenants (they had no promise). They were without confidence (without hope). And worst of all, they were without God.
But the cross of Christ changed all that. The cross of Christ brought enemies together in one tribe, or in one nation. Now, we no longer have to fight each other, because we are fellow citizens in Christ, brought together by the blood of Christ.
Paul Yonggi Cho in South Korea is pastor of one of the largest churches, if not THE largest church, in the world. Many years ago, as his ministry was becoming international, he told God, “I will go anywhere to preach the gospel – except Japan.” He hated the Japanese with a gut-deep loathing because of what Japanese troops had done to the Korean people and to members of Yonggi Cho's own family during WWII.
It was only after a prolonged inner struggle and several direct challenges from others that he answered an urgent and starkly worded invitation to preach in Japan. Yes, he went to Japan, but he went with bitterness. His first speaking engagement was at a pastor's conference with 1,000 Japanese pastors. Cho stood up to speak, and the only thing he could say was, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.” And then he broke down and wept.
At first one, then two, then all 1,000 pastors stood up. One by one they walked up to Yonggi Cho, knelt at his feet and asked forgiveness for what they and their people had done to him and his people. As this went on, God changed Yonggi Cho. The Lord put a single message in his heart and his mouth: “I love you. I love you. I love you.” (Mark Buchanan, Your God Is Too Safe, Multnomah, 2001, p. 47)
That’s the power of the blood of Christ! It can heal the hatred between Koreans and Japanese. It can bring Jew and Gentile together, black and white, even Wildcats and Jayhawks; and it can bring reconciliation between you and… well, you know who.