Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Reconciliation and unity through Jesus Christ
Ephesians 2:11-22


Charles Abraham
St. Johns MTC, NY

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” – Ephesians 2:14
Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist, an inventor, an engineer, an entrepreneur, a businessman, and an author who was born in 1833, and died on December 10th in 1896. In his will, Mr. Nobel stated that a majority of his wealth should be divided into five parts and used for prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology, literature and peace to “those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.” Aside from being famous for being the person who set up the Nobel prizes, Mr. Nobel is most well-known for inventing dynamite (and holding over 300 other patents).  It is still unclear as to why Mr. Nobel selected “peace” as a prize category – but to this day every December 10th (the anniversary of his death) a Nobel peace prize is awarded to an individual as selected by a committee. While the annual Nobel peace award may be fraught with politics, special interests, and other controversies, as Christians we are provided an example of another type of peace-maker. One who does confer the greatest benefit to mankind.
In Ephesians Chapter 2, Paul discusses how Jesus represents the reconciliation between the Jews and Gentiles. In this portion, Paul starts by reminding us of how the Gentiles were not citizens, how we were individuals without hope and without God in the world. Paul reminds us that it was Jesus who brought us (who were previously far away), near to Him and to His kingdom. We know that there is no peace without sacrifice, and Paul notes that it was the sacrifice of Christ; it was His blood that led to reconciliation. Christ’s blood has led to the destruction of the dividing wall of hostility, it has led to the peace that was purchased on the cross.
Today we are live in a society filled with divisive rhetoric, pain, poverty, and politics. I believe that Paul’s message continues to ring true today. Today we continue to be divided, and we need reconciliation through the blood of Christ. In verse 18, Paul exhorts the Ephesians by stating “for through him [Jesus] we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” The end goal of reconciliation and unity is not only to have access to the Father; it is not just a mere prize, but rather to become a dwelling place for the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, can we say that today? Can we say as Paul did, that we are “being built together to become a dwelling place in which God lives by His spirit”? In these divisive times, we need to remember what unites us. We need to recognize the sacrifice by which we have been brought near, without walls of hostility. We need to continue to grow (and be built) into the holy temple of God.


Father, we pray that we might be united through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ. That we might recognize the sinful nature from which You have saved us, and that we can work together as Your children to become a holy dwelling place for You. Amen.

Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14