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Advent: Breaking Down Walls
Ephesians 2:14-15 — A message of peace through Jesus Christ
Through January 6, I’ll be posting devotionals with an Advent and Epiphany theme to focus our minds on the nativity of Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!
Keeping with the Advent theme of peace, today I look at two verses from Paul’s Epistle to the church of Ephesus. The second chapter of Ephesians focuses on reconciliation of man and God through Christ, then segues into a description of how Christ’s peace unites us:
“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.”
Ephesians 2:14-15 NLT
Jesus not only brought peace between God and man, and between Jews and Gentiles, but He IS our peace; the “peace that passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Through His death on the cross, Jesus brought salvation to Gentile and Jew, and figuratively broke down walls.
In the temple, there was a physical wall separating the court of the Gentile and the court of women — the “wall of hostility that separated us”. When Paul wrote this epistle, he was under house arrest in Rome after being falsely accused by the Jewish leaders of taking a Gentile past the temple’s wall of separation dividing Jew and Gentile. Paul recognized that the literal barrier was unnecessary, thanks to Jesus.
Paul explains that the wall of separation is now gone, since the Lordship of Jesus Christ is greater than any division. If Christ’s Lordship does not overpower any differences we have with others — language, geography, political, racial, economic, or other — then our understanding of being under the Lordship of Jesus is incomplete. By removing the Jewish system of law, Jesus also destroyed any reason for antagonism between Jew and Gentile.
The early believers often thought of themselves as neither Jew nor Gentile, but of a new race, one that is unified in Jesus. During this holiday season as we eagerly anticipate celebrating the birth of the Savior, we should pray that although there are still many walls separating humans from peaceful existence with each other, the common message of salvation for Christian believers brings us together.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
I thank you, Heavenly Father, that I have been made a new creation in Christ. You have given me the perfect peace of God to guard my mind and heart. In Your compassion and grace, You broke down the barriers dividing Gentile and Jew, young and old, female and male, making all believers one in Christ. We are Your Body, and we’re praying that we may live together in unity, with thanks for loving us so much that You sent Jesus to be our Prince of Peace. In Jesus’ holy name, AMEN.