Paul had a unique role as the messenger of the Gospel to non-Jews, but this letter is written to all the members of the church in Ephesians in all its glorious diversity.
Read Ephesians 2:14-17 in The Message. If possible, read these verses aloud.
14-15 The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody. 16-18 Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father. (Ephesians 2:14-17, MSG)
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
- Jewish historian Josephus describes 13 stone slabs with writing in both Greek and Latin that were part of a dividing wall in Herod’s temple. Archaeologist have recovered two of these warning slabs which state: “No foreigner is allowed to enter within the balustrade surrounding the sanctuary and the court enclosed. Whoever is caught will be personally responsible for his ensuing death.” Jesus death and resurrection changed everything.
In Acts 21:16-30, we read about Paul’s arrest for bringing a Gentile into the inner court. It was a physical testimony that Jesus had broken down the dividing wall, and there now is a spiritual unity between Jews and Gentiles who all have access to God through saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Read these verses for a second time, this time in the New Living Translation.
14 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. 15 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. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. 17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. (Ephesians 2:14-17, NLT)
Identify the information that these verses contain.
|How did Christ’s death on the cross bring peace to us?|
We’ve read God’s words, we understand the setting a little more fully, and we’ve gathered the details together in a clear way. Now we will open our hearts to God and read them a third time, this time in the English Standard Version.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. (Ephesians 2:14-17, ESV)
What stood out to you as you read? It may be just a word, or a picture, or a truth that became very clear. Put it on paper in the way that you choose: in black and white or color, in word(s), through a picture that will help you explain the concept you heard as you opened yourself up to God.
(INFORMATION & RELATION) + HOLY SPIRIT ACTIVATION = TRANSFORMATION
God’s word to us is meant to be more than a theology, a learned catechism.
It needs to go a step further and be a theocracy, where what we believe is evident in our words and actions. And the same Gospel that brings us together in peace, the same Holy Spirit who lives in each of us who believe, is where the will and power become alive to who we are in Christ, to be filled with His love.
What is the Holy Spirit prompting you to add or subtract from your life this week?
Thank you for joining me in going through Paul’s letter. If you want to share your thoughts with me, write in the comment box below. Or send an email to KSEvenhouseWWV@gmail.com