Pray: Humbly ask God for wisdom. Ask Him to teach you as you read the following section of the Bible.
Read: Ephesians 2:11-22
Are you old enough to remember when the Berlin Wall was torn down? As the people pulled the walls apart, it was a joyous day for many because it symbolized the fall of communism and the birth of democracy; of freedom, of a united people again. Ideological enemies found peace and the capital of Germany was united once more. Here in Ephesians 2, we learn about another famous dividing wall that Jesus would personally tear down.
There was an ancient wall in Jerusalem, at the Israelite Temple that was meant to keep the Gentiles out of the inner courts. It divided Jews from Gentiles. The wall basically said, ‘YOU DON”T BELONG HERE!’ to all non-Jews. Archaeologists (like Indiana Jones) have recently unearthed a warning sign from this “Dividing Wall” which states that Gentiles would be instantly killed if they ventured beyond the wall. Paul knew this first hand. He was falsely accused of bringing an Ephesian Gentile beyond the wall and into the Temple, and he was arrested for in Jerusalem. (See Acts 21)
Prejudice was alive and well in ancient Israel. Jews and Gentiles were divided by nationality and religion. Jews viewed Gentiles as dirty, ignorant, idol-worshiping outsiders. But the prejudice went deeper, much like how Muslims view infidels today. Ancient records indicate that Gentiles were viewed so low that they were, ‘created by God to fuel the fires of hell’. Gentiles were even known to sacrifice their children to their idols which was tragic and repulsive to the Jews. Can you imagine how blown their minds must have been when the Jews realized that the disciples of Jesus were teaching that the God of Israel sacrificed His Son Jesus to save Gentile sinners? Boom! Mic drop.
Jesus tore down the spiritual dividing wall through His death on the cross. His death brought enemies together and paid the ransom price for the sins of all peoples-Gentile and Jew alike. Jesus Christ stands upon the rubble of that old wall holding a giant blinking billboard that says to the world, “YOU BELONG HERE”.
You may have walked into a church building and felt like you didn’t belong or fit in. You may feel out of place or unworthy, but you can find home in God. God welcomes you with open arms. The Church is not a building. It is a people- a very different and peculiar people with one thing in common…Jesus.
If you are a believer in Jesus it does not matter what nationality, race, gender, socio-economic status, background or how many wicked things you have done. YOU BELONG HERE. Come to Jesus and find peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, a new identity, a new purpose and a new family in Christ. If you are a member of God’s family through faith in Jesus then you will never be a stranger again.
But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. (vs.13)
1. Do you ever feel like a stranger or out of place in the church? What is it that unites very different people in the church?
2. What are some things that keep the church divided today? What divisive issues would Paul write a letter to our church about? Are there any circumstances or issues that the church should divide itself over? Examples?
3. Are there any relationships in your life where you need Jesus to come knock down walls and bring reconciliation? What is your part to play in this reconciliation?
Memorize: Ephesians 2:13
3 “But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.”