For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. Colossians 1:19-23
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace…”
In his last and perhaps most memorable major speech, his second inaugural address given on the steps of the Capitol, Abraham Lincoln pleaded with a divided nation to bind up its wounds.
Journalist Noah Brooks reported: “Chiefly memorable in the mind of those who saw that second inauguration must still remain the tall, pathetic, melancholy figure of the man who, then inducted into office in the midst of the glad acclaim of thousands of people, and illumined by the deceptive brilliance of a March sunburst, was already standing in the shadow of death.”
Within weeks, Lincoln would be shot dead.
What will it take for men and women to reconcile? Is there any hope for peace, or will we always be at war with each other? What hope is there when a good and noble man is shot dead?
What hope, when they crucified the Holy One?
Peace on earth should have been possible without the blood of the beautiful Shepherd, but it is the way peace came. “Peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Col. 1:20). There God did what only God can do.
Now it wouldn’t make much sense for God to provide a way of peace between himself and individual human beings, but no way for human beings to make peace between themselves. It may be true that this world will always have wars and that neighbors will always fight, but the peace that God brings between individuals and himself does bring chapters of reconciliation into the human story as well.
PONDER: Can you think of someone who made peace at significant personal sacrifice?
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The Cruciality of the Cross
“He who understands the cross aright… understands the Bible, he understands Jesus Christ.”
Emil Brunner, The Mediator
“Christ is to us just what his cross is. All that Christ was in heaven or on earth was put into what he did there…
You do not understand Christ till you understand his cross.”
P. T. Forsyth, The Cruciality of the Cross
“The death of Christ is the central point in history; here all the roads of the past converge; hence all the roads of the future diverge.”
Stephen Neill, The Truth of God Incarnate
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2 thoughts on “Blood, Then Peace”
Heavenly Father, the transparency of reconciliation is hard and requires a commitment in the most vulnerable areas of my life, forcing me to make difficult choices…
Lord Jesus, I don’t want people to know that I fight lust, greed, pride, that I can be controlling, I’m easily angered, I struggle being patience, loving and kind. I admit Lord that reconciliation is difficult for me, because I build up a wall that allows no one to know the real me and I know that it is impossible to maintain reconciled relationships if they’re based on a lie… OH LORD, this hurts to admit… Please Forgive My Heart!!!
Holy Counselor, my lack of humility is what is causing division in my life and you have made it clear I must start reaching out no matter the personal difficulty. Holy Spirit your call to the ministry of reconciliation is about caring for and helping the broken hearted, the difficult, the hurt, the misunderstood, the repulsive, the wicked and the liars and no matter the risk to me I must allow people as many chances as they need to know the power of your love and forgiveness…
Lord God, you are the God that rescues, you take my most appalling failures and turn them into the most unimaginable triumphs, please make this area of my life one of those victories…
Oh Lord, Hear My Cry…
What an encouragement in our war weary world of today! I recently followed a procession of pilgrims in Ethiopia, walking in the dark with candles and singing to God and praying for world peace. And my first fleshly thought was this is a hopeless prayer. Can man possibly become anymore depraved? What a good reminder this is. With God all things are possible and all that can be done for peace with our brothers, image carriers of God, has been completed on the cross. He is in control.