The fooling is a brief chapter from a book entitled Grace Manifold, By Ken Gurley:
They had the same last name, the same genetic heritage flowed through their veins, yet they avoided each other. For as long as most of the family could remember, these two boys were enemies.
As the boys grew they played together. They chased rabbits, hunted squirrels, and swam in their favorite East Texas swimming hole. But when they became men, something happened/ One family member recalled that the brothers had gone into business together. Each felt that the other was cheating him. They parted ways and the silent years began.
At family gatherings on Thanksgiving and Christmas, they remained sullen, trapped in yesterday’s misunderstanding. They would not speak to each other even to answer the simplest question or to give a warm greeting. While their heredity united them, a huge chasm separated these two brothers. In the bottom of this gorge flowed a deep river of hurt and anguish. These chasm seemed uncrossable, the river seemed inexhaustible.
Then it happened. One of the brothers found out that he had a terminal disease. Lying on his deathbed, he recognized the wasted years spent on the bleak land of unforgiveness. He remembered the sleepless, miserable nights when he had rehearsed the supposed wrong over and over, burning it into his memory and churning it in his heart. But what did it matter now? He was dying.
He called his estranged brother to his bedside. “I am dying,” he began without fanfare. “We never made peace in life. Can we make peace at my death?”
The torrent of emotion was spent. With tears flowing down their faces the brothers embraced. In life they remained alienated. In death they were united.
Perhaps the most descriptive term for death is separation. The living is separated from the dead by death’s thick drape. At death the visible gives way to the invisible, the temporal gives way to the eternal, and mortality glimpses the window or immortality.
In some strange way, however, death also unites. At the death of a loved one, hatchets are buried and wrongs are forgotten. Sometimes death becomes the link that enables a reunion impossible in life. Death can draw people together.
What is true in human nature is superlative in Christ’s death. Jesus prophesied that His death would “draw all men” unto Him (John 12:32). At the end of His life, eleven apostles, some women and a few others still followed Him. Through Christ’s death, however, the entire world is drawn to Him.
Just West of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is the sprawling Atchafalaya Swamp. Standing in the swamp’s murkey waters are large trees draped with heavy moss. The darkness of the waters shrouds its contents of catfish, snakes and alligators. Its silt and mire are filled with decaying, organic matter. The swamp is a dreadful place in which to be lost.
An airboat, barge, or wading gear is not necessary to maneuver this swamp, for spanning this huge swamp is a bridge some 18 miles in length. Unless a person is merely seeking adventure, the bridge is the best means of crossing the swamp. It makes the opposite shore of the swamp accessible.
Christ’s death affected the whole world. At Golgotha, the place of the skull. the Cross spanned the awful gulf of sin. God and humanity were brought closer through this blood-stained bridge. The apostle Paul said, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).
The bible clearly teaches that sin fractures our relationship with God. The sin that drove Adam and Eve into hiding and away from paradise still alienates people from God. Like sheep seeking their own way, people are led astray by sin, which brings a separation from God (Isaiah 53:6, 59:2).
The cross is the only means for a person to bridge sin’s gap and be reconciled to God. Man could never be good enough in himself to turn God’s face toward him, so God turned His face toward man through Jesus Christ.
The cross spanned the swamp of sin for the rich, the poor, the alcoholic, the adulterer, the thief, the murderer, the gossip. The cross bridges the chasm.
Sin’s swamp is a miserable place. Life in the land of unforgiveness, wrath and unhappiness is perilous and replete with disappointment. Yet Christ’s death spanned this dreadful place and like nothing else, brings us close to God. It restores the fractured relationship between God and humanity. The blood of Christ gives us access to a lost paradise. His blood reunites.