I’ve been watching the News more than I should this week. Hamas has set its heart on the destruction of Israel. Pharoah did it in Egypt. God responded with plagues and destruction of the entire army in the Red Sea. Hitler tried it in Germany, and God responded with total destruction of the Nazi Regime. The hatred of the Jews has been a theme throughout history. The two mentioned are just the most famous episodes. There have been other attempts to eradicate Israel from the face of the Earth. As I watched the News, saw some of the scenes of devastation, and heard the report of total disregard for the lives of innocent women and children, I couldn’t help but remember what the Prophet Isaiah foretold about the Nation of Israel. Isaiah 33:7-8 says, “Behold, their valiant ones cry without; the ambassadors of peace weep bitterly. The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceases. The enemy has broken the covenant. He has despised the cities and the witnesses. He regards no man.”

In the Middle East, two religions are at war. Judaism is at war with Islam. Islam is at war with Judaism. They will fight each other to the death for the sake of their religion. I wish the world would understand that Jesus did not come to set up another competing religion, which is the way the world shapes the struggle. The world presents Christianity as the third religion in the world, alongside Judaism and Islam. Jesus came to reconcile the world to God, not to add another player to the world scene. God sent Jesus to be the mediator, the representative who would reconcile sinful man to a holy God. His task was accomplished when he said, “It is finished,” before he died on the cross. We now have been given the task of being God’s spokesman for this wonderful message. Paul makes this perfectly clear in 2 Corinthians 5:20 when he says, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you, on behalf of Christ, to be reconciled to God.”

Notice the emotion connected with the plea. It says, “We implore you.” This is a passionate plea. Instead of killing people in the name of religion, Jesus pleads with the whole world to set aside their cultural and religious differences. There is no distinction between Jew and Gentile or any other distinction that pits one group against another. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s plan for man. The passive voice of the verb must be translated as “be reconciled.” It’s to receive God’s offer, not to make a contrary offer. There’s no negotiation in God’s offer of peace. This is a passionate offer of peace because peace with God is the result of reconciliation. The atoning, substitutionary death of Christ brings reconciliation and peace with God.  Beautifully, the promise of this peace was made long ago by the prophet who condemns us for our sins. Isaiah says, “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” As Ambassadors, we’ve been entrusted with the most wonderful message in the world.  The Angel announced it at Jesus’ birth, “Peace on Earth.”