“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation” (Eph 2:14)
Ephesians 2 is a beautiful depiction of the reconciliation of the Jew and the Gentile and their completeness in Christ. In Christ, the Jew and the Gentile have a Home and a resting place. Apart from Him the Gentile had little hope and were aliens to redemption and the promises of God. They were indeed without hope and without God in the world. When Christ came He ushered in the understanding that God would have a family from every nation, tribe, and tongue. With His life, death, burial, and resurrection Christ was able to abolish the middle wall of separation between Jew and Gentile. One translation says “the dividing wall of hostility”. There is so much to dive into in this passage but what can we take away from Christ’s sacrifice that will help us as we try to walk in His footsteps?
Breaking Down Barriers is Costly
As I meditate on Jesus’ life I see the plethora of times He humbled Himself in order to draw His disciples and others closer. Over and over again He patiently taught them, fed them and healed them. When it came time for the Cross we see so plainly that breaking down barriers ultimately cost Jesus His very life. It wasn’t enough to preach a sermon. It wasn’t enough to do a few good works. Removing the hostility took sacrifice. In my opinion this is where many social justice movements either do too much or too little. (I’m not advocating bloodshed by the way.) What I am saying is that in order to truly remove the barriers that many people face whether it is racially, sexually, politically, or ultimately in seeing God correctly, there are no quick fixes.
It Takes Time
I am guilty as anyone of being impatient. Often I want things my way and I want it done immediately. Jesus took the time to step into His Creation and be born, grow up, and interact. Throughout His life I can clearly see that He had to be so humble, patient and kind. The Son of God learning in school? The One from Everlasting learning to walk? This humility is incredible. Even after giving Himself on the cross, the patience didn’t stop. Instead, God waits day after day for humanity to come and receive the peace that He has provided for all who would come and humble themselves before Him. Salvation was purchased at the cross, but thousands of years later we still wait for the full outworking of this Sacrifice.
Interaction is Mandatory
Often I watch or read the News and am struck how often commentators or political pundits gather up steam to launch into a tirade about their particular points. I watch leaders disagree with each other so vehemently that it will of course “go viral”. After watching or reading these exchanges I am often struck by the futility of it all! Most are not truly interacting. I hear these huge talking points. I see the tribalism. In order to truly break down barriers we have to go low, humble ourselves and INTERACT. Instead of just sitting and judging from afar, God took the time to become like His Creation in every way. This level of interaction is unthinkable and mind blowing. When I meditate on this fact I can’t help but worship and realize how unlike God I am. I am content often with being right. I love getting the last word. Throughout my life this was enough for me, but as I get older I realize that it isn’t effective for true dialogue and understanding.
We live in a time of division. It is easy to look around and see that humanity has drawn for themselves boundaries. Liberal. Conservative. Poor. Disabled. I see labels flung at people every day. These labels are often used in a way that minimizes someone and their opinion. If you can label someone you can discredit what they are saying. In Christ, all have a chance to come into His family. As ministers of His Word I believe that it is our duty to show forth this reconciliatory work and break down walls of oppression and inequity as a signal of the God whom we serve.