On the 8th April 1802, Matthew Flinders sailed his ship, the Investigator, into a sheltered harbour near what is now Adelaide. He was on a voyage of exploration, mapping the ‘Unknown’ south Australian coastline. Much to his surprise he discovered a French vessel, the Geographe, captained by Nicolas Baudin, at anchor in the same harbour. France, ruled by Napoleon Bonaparte, was at war with Great Britain.
Flinders faced a choice: fight, run, or attempt to make peace? He approached cautiously, waving a white flag. There were no hostilities. Flinders and Baudin agreed there was no point in conflict. They shook hands, exchanged information about their discoveries and coexisted peacefully in the harbour that Flinders later named ‘Encounter Bay’. A long way from home, two sea captains established a relationship of reconciliation and peace.
That’s what Jesus does. He allows us to encounter the living God. He establishes a relationship of reconciliation and peace. This is no small thing. We set ourselves up as enemies of God, rebels against his kingdom and purposes. We are at war. Jesus makes peace. Jesus reconciles us to God, enabling us to approach his throne with confidence.
However, peace with God was not established with a white flag and handshake. God’s justice was satisfied and his glorious love displayed through Jesus death on the cross. Jesus’ blood pays the price for our treason. His resurrection provides the gateway to eternal life.
Encounter Bay! When or where was yours? It's a moment in history. Jesus offers peace and reconciliation to those who will come to him as Lord.