Please read Ephesians 2:11-13
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Paul describes how things were for Gentiles (unless you’re Jewish, you’re a Gentile) as they related to those who were Jewish. Becoming part of the Jewish community was very difficult. Words like ‘separate,’ ‘excluded from citizenship’, and ‘without hope’ within versus 11-12 would leave anyone without much hope. Then verse 13 comes along. Praise God, we’re brought near by the blood of Christ! Take a moment and reflect on what this means to you. Where would you be had you not come into relationship with Christ?
Please read Ephesians 2:14-18
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 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. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Jesus is our peace! And he brought these separate groups of Jews and Gentiles together into one by removing barriers and walls, long thought to be an impossible task. If you think about our own lives, you can see what’s been done. We have things dividing us, perhaps causing a sense of unrest and a lack of peace. Jesus has torn down these divisions, removing that unrest, bringing diverse people into one community. In Jesus, we find the ability to live together in peace! His peace is showered on us all, and we’re given direct access to God the Father, all brought through Jesus. Pause for a moment and contemplate what this means to you. How has Jesus’ accomplishment helped you in your journey?
Please read Ephesians 2:19-22
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Sometimes I read passages of scripture in the Bible many times and keep going, while reading it later brings new insight. That happened to me with this passage. I’ve gone through Ephesians several times, only this time it was different. It struck me: I’m no longer a foreigner or stranger, but a member of God’s household! I’m his, and he’s mine! What we’re a part of has its foundation in the apostles and Jesus holding it all together! In this holy temple, we’re being knitted into a dwelling place for God through the Holy Spirit. Me, this seriously insignificant man, has the Holy Spirit as a companion, never to be alone. Consider what’s been done on our behalf and the peace that awaits. If you sense divisions keeping you from joining with others in this community, lift them to Jesus and let him tear them down.
By Rich Obrecht