In between you and me, and in between you and other people there is always space. We can respond to the space between us in one of two ways:
1. Use that space to continue to create distance,
2. Reconcile: create a connectedness and a restoration of relationships – the way Jesus did.
The Ministry of Reconciliation: 2 Corinthians 5:14-20
-Our Motivation: Love (ch 5:14)
-Our Mission: We are Christ’s Ambassadors (ch 5:20)
– God’s heart of reconciliation:
He (God) devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.” (2 Samuel 14:14)
Reconciling to Our World: Luke 10
• An expert in the law asks: What must I do to inherit eternal life?
• Jesus answers his question with a question
• After providing a beautiful answer, the expert in the law asks
Who is my neighbor?
• Jesus answers with a story
Who is my Neighbor?
Three elements of Jewish stories:
‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he [fell into the hands of] robbers.'” – a common occurrence on this journey.
They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.” – Without clothes, his social status would not be able to be discerned.
1st candidate for neighbor: A Priest
• Comes, but passes on the other side – more likely straddled the man with his donkey.
• Goes, without doing anything to help
2nd candidate for neighbor: A Levite (who worked under the priests)
• Same scenario
3rd candidate: “But a Samaritan”
• These half-breeds were despised by the Jews
• Not only did he COME, he DID
• Seven acts are described by Jesus
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” “The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.'”
• God, who is my neighbor?
• What can I do to close the space between us?
• To whom can we as a church extend reconciliation?