But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.

Ephesians 2: 13, 14

 

Christ is all about the resolution of conflict. His presence brings into existence the reconciliation of people who have developed long-standing and very deep differences that have often grown into animosity. Although Paul is discussing the division of humanity into two groups, Jews and Gentiles, that was at the center of his world, I think that we can apply the same fundamental principles to other forms of human separation and categorical stress. The reasons for these differences are real, and they have often been developed over long periods of time. They are not easy to resolve, and they may seem to be completely beyond any possibility of finding commonality or of entering into true peace. Yet, Christ is the worker of these sorts of impossibilities.

 

What is perhaps even more remarkable is the way that the Lord does so much of this reconciliatory work. As Jesus went to His death on that highly divisive implement of torture and execution, the cross, He was effectuating the destruction of all that is divisive in our world. That might seem to be highly debatable in that followers of Christ and people who hold other religious beliefs or lack of them have been in conflict since those early days of the Christian church. Yet, Christ, through His death and resurrection, has given all people the means by which we can come into a common relationship with God, our Creator and the Sovereign King of the Universe. Jesus took upon Himself the punishment for sin that all people deserve, and He also cast aside all of the rules and systems of belief that create dividing walls to segregate off small portions of our world, one from another.

 

We may not speak the same language, and we certainly do not all look the same or practice life in the same style and manner. But all people can know the same God, and we can recognize His creative hand in and on each of us. Humanity, in the aggregate of all that we are, is the full and the nearly total picture of that image of God in which we were formed and shaped. So too, in Christ, all that forces us into separation and division is taken to the cross of sacrifice, and resolution of these differences is to be found in our own willingness to follow Christ into the new life of eternal hope and peace for our souls that He grants to all who enter into relationship with Him. We are no longer identified as Jew and Gentile, Asian, African, or Caucasian, female or male, native born or foreigner, or by any other of our myriad divisions and differences. In Christ, we have been brought near to God; so, we have also been brought by Christ to share a common table of grace and to speak the same language of peace.