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Throughout history walls have been erected to keep people in or out of various places and apart from each other.

Eph. 2:16-17

16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.

In recent times Berlin comes to mind with the divide between East and West Germany going through that city. The other that I easily think of is in Northern Ireland where the walls that divided Catholic areas from Protestant were known as Peace Walls, which sounds pretty strange to me. The intention of these walls was to reduce the violence, death and destruction that was occurring on the streets. They were about replacing violence with calm on the streets – a version of peace.

Warring between different groups of people is nothing new and it was a reality in the first century when Paul wrote this letter. Two groups not at peace with each other were Jews and Gentiles. Jews looked down on Gentiles – they were unclean and to be avoided at all costs. The heart of God was different though. Throughout Israel’s history God commanded his people to care for the alien and Gentile amongst them. But at the time of Jesus the Jewish leaders had forgotten this. Paul was at the time of writing this letter under arrest awaiting trial because he was falsely accused by the Jews of taking a Gentile into the temple past the literal wall of separation dividing Jew and Gentile. Paul made it clear that in Jesus, the wall is gone.

In these verses we see that it is through Jesus both Jews and Gentiles – or Jews and everyone else – that they are reconciled to each other and to God. Through this act, all done by God through Jesus, the hostility experienced between the two groups is put to death. This was God’s plan all along, to reconcile all of creation – including Jews and Gentiles – to himself.

The message of Jesus is a message of reconciliation. That reconciliation is of the individual to God through Jesus then one individual to another also through Jesus. The Lordship of Jesus over our lives must become greater than any differences we might have with others who are different from us when it comes to ethnic background, political persuasion, economic, language or geography. And we note from verse 17 that this message of reconciliation leading to true peace doesn’t change over time – it is true for those who lived at the time of writing and for those ever since and well into the future.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for Jesus and his death on the cross that enabled me to be reconciled to you so that I might become a child of yours. How costly that was. May the truth of this act of reconciliation drill down into my heart, soul and mind that I might see Christians who are different from me as true brothers and sisters and treat them as such. May I see unbelievers as people you long to reconcile with and help me to love them as you love them with the help of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

A song to listen to:   Bind Us Together

Tim Hewlett

Living Church – Creek Road

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