Last week we saw in the first chapter of Ephesians 2, Paul laying the groundwork for understanding how all the variety of the human race can be unified in Jesus Christ. We have in common our sinful disposition, God’s love for us, and our invitation to be part of God’s purpose.
In the second half of this chapter, Paul reiterates the division between first century Jews and Gentiles, almost as if to emphasize the power of reconciliation in Christ. The reality is that the differences between peoples have historically created hostility between them. Like, duh. Read any history book.
Maybe that’s why Jesus didn’t just teach us to try and get along. He didn’t suggest shaking hands and making up. On the cross, Jesus’ death tore down the curtain in the temple, the division between us and God. Consequently, the division between persons is also torn down and reconciliation made possible. Jesus “destroyed” the barrier and put hostility “to death.”
- How many examples can you think of in history, where differences between peoples created hostility?
- If Jesus destroyed that which divides us, why do even Christians still experience hostility based on our differences?
- What kinds of steps must we take to live into our identity as a “new humanity” in Christ?
- Should the Church be leading the culture in celebrating the variety of human culture while still living in unity and peace? Why or why not?