…see the sheer enormity of God’s plan. It begins with two people groups who do not get along with each other and yet are the media in which the Divine Artist is working. To accomplish his purpose, to make his masterpiece, these two people groups, who have been at odds for millennia, must be reconciled. But reconciliation requires sacrifice.
Who will be sacrificed? The Jews? The Gentiles? No! The artist sacrifices himself. Verse 14: “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”
That last phrase requires some explanation. Paul was writing this letter from prison and his readers knew why he was there. He had been arrested on the charge of bringing a Gentile past the barrier and into a part of the temple that was forbidden to non-Jews. Had the emperor himself come to the temple and stood before that barrier, he would have been told he could go no further.
Paul had in fact done no such thing. But he had been accused of it and the accusation was so serious – the enmity between Jew and Gentile so great – that a person could be put to death if found guilty of helping a Gentile cross the barrier.
(By the way: in Old Testament times there was no such barrier. That barrier was not God’s idea. It was not a sign that God didn’t want Gentiles but that Jews didn’t want Gentiles.)
Paul’s readers knew he had been accused of helping a Gentile cross the uncrossable barrier. That barrier was a tangible symbol of the hostility and alienation that existed between Jew and Gentile. But Paul says (verse 14) that Christ has torn down the barrier and made Jew and Gentile one.
Jew and Gentile are one? Really? Where are they one? You certainly don’t see it in Israel or on the West Bank. No. The only place you see it is in Christ.
That’s the same place where Indian and Pakistani are one. The same place where Japanese and Korean are one. The same place where black and white are one. They are one in the magnificent church of Jesus Christ, where there “is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (Colossians 3:11).
Among those for whom Christ is all and in all, racial barriers fall. Among those for whom Christ is just much of more, or a little of something, they remain standing.
This oneness in Christ is something that racists can never prevent and that progressives can never provide. It cannot be compelled by law but it has been propelled by love – the love of Christ. I’m not saying we needn’t bother making laws. Laws may restrain hate (which is a good thing) but they cannot produce love (which is a better thing).
(For more, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwwEBKu7IWA)