Why Did Christ Tear Down the Wall? Part 2Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
In yesterday's reflection, I began to answer the question, "Why did Christ tear down the 'wall' separating Jews from Gentiles?" Ephesians 2:15 explains that Christ's purpose had two parts: "His purpose was  to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and  in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross." Today, I want to focus on the second part of Christ's objective.
When we think of the reconciliation forged by the death of Jesus, we naturally focus on the reconciliation of individuals to God. Because of the cross, that which separated us from God—our sin—has lost its power. Thus, you and I are able to be in a loving, lasting, covenant relationship with God. This is not just good news. It's great news.
Yet, there is another dimension of reconciliation that is sometimes neglected by Christians. This reconciliation is also a result of Christ's death on the cross. It is a reconciliation between people or people groups. It is seen most dramatically, as illustrated in Ephesians 2, in the unifying of Jews and Gentiles in Christ.
We would tend to think of such reconciliation between people as a result of the reconciliation we experience individually with God. And in a sense, this is surely true. But, in Ephesians 2:16, we view reconciliation from a different perspective. Here, Christ's purpose is "in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross." In this verse, Christ first reconciles Jews and Gentiles, forming them into one body. Then, he reconciles this unified body of people to God.
Ephesians 2:16 reminds me of a passage from the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus says, "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift" (Matt. 5:23-24). I have always been impressed by the order Jesus commends here: reconcile with your brother or sister before you offer your gift, a sign of reconciliation with God.
Both Ephesians and Matthew underscore how much God values reconciliation between people. If we are going to live according to God's intentions for us, then we also will be committed to working with God to bring reconciliation to our relationships, families, communities, churches, and world.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How might you be able to live today as an agent of divine reconciliation? How can you contribute to the unity of the "body" of God's people?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for bringing together diverse and divided people into one body. Thank you for where this is actually happening in our world today, as your people live out the value of reconciliation in their daily and corporate lives. Help me, dear Lord, to be a reconciler in my relationships and in the institutions where you have placed me. Amen.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.