But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 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, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
By his death, Jesus destroyed all barriers and divisions between and among the Israelites and the rest of humanity. Through the cross, he invited each and every one of us into a new way of living—the way of the peacemaker, bridge-builder, inviter. But in the young church of Paul’s day, the old barriers persisted. People continued to want to isolate and segregate, so Paul found himself constantly reminding them about what Jesus did and how he has invited us to model our lives after his. Of course, divisiveness, disunity, and disintegration remain in our day, seeming to grow with each passing year. But Jesus invites us into something different.
- As you read this passage, what words or phrases about Jesus stood out to you? Why do you think they did?
- Reflect on a time in your life when you felt outside the family of God or beyond God’s reach. What did that feel like? What did it feel like then to be welcomed in and restored? How would you describe the feeling to a friend?
- Where is there conflict or unrest in your relationships, community, church, or in the world? What would it take for there to be peace? What is God inviting you to do in the particular conflicts or areas of unrest you identified?
God, thank you for Jesus and his peace. I want to be a barrier-breaker. I want to see people in my family, my community, my church, and the world as you do—invited, included, accepted. Open my eyes to the ways I continue to erect barriers instead of bring peace. Fill me with your Spirit anew and give me opportunities to be a peacemaker so that barriers will fall and the people I encounter will know your love. Amen.