The Christian calendar has many important events and traditions throughout the year. These events and traditions have, over the centuries, served as reminders of who God is, what He has accomplished for His people, and what we should know and expect from His promises.
This week is Holy Week. Easter is the most important celebration in the Christian tradition, next to Christmas, after all, without Christmas, there would be no Easter.
This year, we have planned a three-part series of articles to help us reflect personally, on why Easter is practically impactful to us men. More than a celebratory tradition, Easter has practical implications for our everyday life, more than any other event.
Our focus for this series is to answer this question: How Must Easter Affect Men?
This is the first article of three, and we wanted to focus on the first impact of Easter to men: You Are Called to be Reconciled!
Man: You are Called to be Reconciled!
The great need of every human being is to be reconciled.
One of the great factors contributing to poverty, school dropouts, substance abuse, and emotional and physical unhealth is fatherlessness. In other words, if fathers were reconciled to their children and children to their fathers, they and society would be more whole and well. What is true in our households is in even greater measure foundationally true in relationship to our Creator.
Man, your great need is to be reconciled to your Heavenly Father.
Jesus came proclaiming: “The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). What was this good news? It was the proclamation and demonstration that those who had been separated from God the Father could turn around (that’s what repentance means) and come home because God the Son had come to reconcile the breakdown of God’s family. Human beings, created in God’s image, had rejected home and rebelled like prodigal children, but God the Father was eager for reconciliation.
Jesus’ wonderful parable in Luke 15 describes the plight of the prodigal son(s). One was a jerk who rejected his dad’s loving provision, the other stayed home thinking he was making his dad happy, yet missed the Father’s heart. There is not just one lost son, there are two. The first problem is not the runaway son’s immorality or the stay-at-home son’s grumpiness toward his rebellious brother. The real problem is what makes the Father peculiar to both his boys: the desire for joyful, reconciled relationships that did not depend on who did or didn’t do what. The real problem to be wrestled with, in the story of the lost sons is not what we have done in running away or proving ourselves, but who the Father is and his lavish, undeserved, love of reconciling with his kids. The fundamental question is not what have the boys done, but why is the Father so ready to reconcile relationships!
This heart of the Father messes with both sons. In fact, the sons are unreconciled even with their own selves because they have missed this crucial point. They have misunderstood the Father. As Miroslav Volf points out as he reflects on Luke 15, the Father’s “behaviour was governed by one fundamental ‘rule’: relationship has priority over all rules. Before any rule can apply, he is a father to his sons and his sons are brothers to one another.” The good news is that this is the type of Heavenly Father who is calling you!
God the Father prioritizes the relationship he longs to have with you, not the rules you have broken or the rules you have kept.
Fatherlessness can end. Internal storms, self-doubt, self-loathing, or self-righteousness can end. The fracture between you and your brother can end.
Man, your great need is to be reconciled to your Heavenly Father!
This is precisely what Jesus has made possible. Because God the Son prioritized his joyful relationship with the Father and gave himself up for the prodigals, we can have the relationship that was severed – that we severed by our insolence or by our proud self-righteousness. We can be healed, restored, renewed, and brought to peace, friendship, and new beginnings. We can come running home like the one who ran far away or finally be at home like the son who only wandered in spirit. We can rest in that foundational relationship with our Heavenly Father that sets the course for everything else. “All this,” writes the Apostle Paul, “is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Man, look what has been done for you! Come on home.
Peace & Reconciliation Network – Phil Wagler, North American Network Coordinator