"He is arisen! Glorious Word! Now reconciled is God, my Lord; The gates of heav'n are open. My Jesus did triumphant die, And Satan's arrows broken lie, Destroyed hell's fiercest weapon. O hear what cheer! Christ victorious, Rising glorious, life is giving. He was dead but now is living!"
We know the pain and frustration when divisions arise between friends or within families. Relationships may remain broken unless the parties in disagreement can be reconciled—brought together again. Our sinful ability to shatter relationships stretches back to Eden. The members of the first family, Adam and Eve, rebelled against their Creator and disobeyed His Word as they ate the fruit forbidden to them. They were driven from paradise, carrying the burden of broken relationships with one another, with creation, and with God.
It is a burden of guilt and shame that we carry too, the terrible ability to harm relationships. Through our sin we have brought on ourselves the eternally deadly burden of a broken relationship with God. There is nothing we can do to reconcile ourselves to God. In our fallen sinfulness, we would not even want to do so: "The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's Law; indeed, it cannot" (Romans 8:7). It was God alone who acted in grace to reconcile us to Himself.
God sent His Son into the world to be our Savior. Jesus took our sinful brokenness, our inclination to destroy relationships, and our every sin onto Himself and carried that shameful burden of guilt in His own body on the cross. There, our Savior "did triumphant die." We may think of death as defeat, but not this time. By His sacrifice, Jesus "destroyed hell's fiercest weapon," death itself. "Satan's arrows," those temptations and schemes used from Eden onward, fell broken at the foot of the cross. Jesus suffered the penalty of death that should have been ours; death has lost it power over us. Our sins have been washed away in Jesus' blood.
At the cross, our broken relationship with God was fully healed. In Jesus "all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross" (Colossians 1:19b-20). Our hymn proclaims, "Now reconciled is God, my Lord; the gates of heav'n are open." Through Jesus' death and resurrection, God has brought us back to Himself. In Christ, we are free to forgive others as we have been forgiven and to seek within our daily relationships the reconciliation we know in Christ. We are also called to share the Good News of salvation with others, so that by faith in Jesus they too will know the reconciliation of God. "O hear what cheer! Christ ... was dead but now is living!"
WE PRAY: Lord God, lead me to forgive others and to seek reconciliation with them in Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "He is Arisen! Glorious Word," which is number 488 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Maintaining good connections with people can be difficult. What do you do to keep your relationships healthy and growing?
2. How has God reconciled the world to Himself through the blood of Jesus?
3. What are some things we can do to move our thinking from a fleshly mindset to a more godly frame of mind?
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