Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Negotiation Table

“You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, Who is Lord of all.”
Acts 10:36

“’Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’ For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isaiah 1:18-20

We are at enmity with God. That is a fact no one can dispute if he’d take a moment and consider it. Our sinful and fallen state causes us to be God’s enemies and we have been waging war against Him since Satan’s first attempt to overthrow God’s will and sovereignty by enlisting Adam’s disobedience. We have gathered together armies of “self”, built bulwarks of idols, and have shot arrows laced with the poison of our souls at the heart of God Almighty.

At the time of Christ’s appearance on earth, Israel was wearying of war, was under subjection to Rome, and had assimilated into the Roman culture, adopting and accepting their practices and idols. But there was always within their ranks a minority of zealots who would revolt and upset the balance the Jewish leaders tried to maintain with Rome. These zealots threatened the comfortable existence the Jews of higher rank enjoyed with their oppressor, and they didn’t like it. When trouble would erupt, the leaders would go to their Roman overseers and negotiate peace with them, reassuring them the “problem” would be taken care of.

The Jews knew and believed the Torah’s prophecy of a Messiah that would come and deliver them, one who would bring “peace” to their nation. However, they interpreted prophecy incorrectly, assuming this Messiah would gather together a great army, driving their oppressor back to Rome and establish himself as a King in the manner of David. So, when Christ came with His message of peace, they expected something and someone completely different. Although Jesus fulfilled every word of prophecy that was foretold of Him, this “Lamb of God” was not what they wanted and their enmity to God was carried out on the Cross of Calvary. But, before this was fulfilled, Jesus established ambassadors, negotiators of peace, who would carry His treaty to the entire world.

The Apostles were the true “negotiators” of peace, the true Ambassadors of God’s love for Israel and for all who would listen and accept it, for they carried with them His “peace treaty” to end all peace treaties. God had wearied of Israel’s halfhearted sacrifices and their rivers of blood coursing down His altar. He would provide one final sacrifice, His perfect and spotless Lamb, as the last peace offering, one whose blood would cover the sins of all mankind and end the war between Him and His people. He would place His Son on the tables of negotiation, would offer Him to both sides, and redeem the world to Himself. This would be the message His Ambassadors would carry to the world.

All men have yet to accept this treaty of peace that God still offers. Wars still rage, men still hate, and idols are still being built. Treaties are proffered between nations, and always within their ranks are those who are ready to break them. Truces are made, then hatred is rekindled, and what they have attempted to erect is once again torn down. Today’s Israel is still trying to negotiate a “peace treaty” with her enemies, choosing to ignore the one God has given them - Jesus Christ.

But until the day comes that God withdraws His final offer of peace, a day He has ordained to end all wars and bring true peace, there will be Ambassadors who will continue to carry the Good News to a dying world. Faithful men and women who believe and trust the God Who has sent them, who will join together both sides of the rebellion and lay upon the table of negotiation their Champion, their Savior Jesus Christ, whose gleaming white banner of peace is made scarlet by His blood.

Charles H. Spurgeon once said, “God’s sovereignty is not threatened by mere man’s opposition to Him.” He Who is Lord of All could have ended all rebellion centuries ago with the breath of one word. But “He is slow to anger and abounding in love,” and He desires you meet Him at the negotiation table where the “good news of peace” that is written upon the heart of God is graciously offered.


Mama Mimi (Dana) said...

Great post Karen. Very relevant for what is going on right now. How I pray that all people who don't know Jesus will know Him for who He is and accept His graciousness and mercy to them. Things are getting hot aren't they?

Mom said...

Very good peice.If you were a student and I was your teacher I would give you an A+. Mom

Karen said...

Unbelievably so! I couldn't believe yesterday, the conversation we had with Peter Grasso, then the sermon he posted last night. I was going to wait and watch it, then decided to do so at 10:30 - it was worth it, tho. What a strong young man!

If we get anyone to read this, I would like to join in your prayer that everyone will want to know Jesus and accept Him. It is to their peril if they don't!

Love you!