Summary: Jesus took that group that had no citizenship in Israel & made them fellow-heirs (not exactly shared citizenship-we'll talk about that next time). So the outside group is now inside the inside group. Then He brought both together as super-insiders. We are all in Christ.
Ephesians 2:14 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.
Last time we didn't talk about the role of Jesus' blood in bringing us reconciliation.
Laws are good. They provide structure and can create security in a community. Law can also be limiting and restrictive, separating one community from another. Some people living according to a certain kind of law dress and interact differently from those governed by another law. This can create tension between groups. We see both aspects of Law in the world today.
Jesus brought together Israel-those governed by God- and the Gentiles. This was the insider group (Israel) and the outsider group (Gentiles). First, Jesus took that group that had no citizenship in Israel & made them fellow-heirs (not exactly shared citizenship-we'll talk about that next time). So the outside group is now inside the inside group. Then He brought both together as super-insiders. We are all in Christ.
To me, this demonstrates a difference between our nature and God's nature. He tends toward unity and love. We tend toward division and strife. The idea of being in Christ may help us with this. When I think of myself being in Christ there are all kinds of positive outcomes described already. When I think of us, you and me, and everyone else who follows Jesus, as in Christ a whole new set of implications arise. It is difficult to think of myself as merely an individual when I think of myself as in one body with you. It is difficult for me to alienate any group which shares the space inside Christ's body. We really are one. Jesus died to make us one. Maybe that's part of the reason He prayed five times the night He was betrayed "Father, make them one as we are one". He knew we, by our nature, tend toward disunity.
That brings us back to Jesus' blood. When we share in communion-the Eucharist-we proclaim our unity with the Body and Blood of Jesus. We also indicate our oneness with everyone else who shares in that communion. His blood was shed so He could remove the division between us and God. How much more does His blood proclaim God's desire that we would remove the divisions between one another?
Prayer for Today
Teach me to be an instrument of unity in Your Body. Open my heart to love, to overlook and embrace differences, to learn from Your people, to humble myself before you and others.
Help me, today, to open my heart to all those outside your body, to invite them in-to treat them as insiders, as people You love and died to save.
Resolve the multitude conflicts in Your Body. Make me a peacemaker for You.