What Did Jesus Accomplish?
Through Abraham, Moses, and the prophets God revealed Himself to Israel and through the covenants He made with Israel salvation and redemption were made possible. God worked through Israel in a special and particular way, in order that all nations might receive salvation. Since the Gentiles (everyone who isn’t Jewish) were outside of the covenant they were “without God and without hope in the world” (v.12).
But Paul is boldly declaring that those who were far away have been brought near, those who were not children of the covenant have been made children of God, those who were without God and without hope are now able to claim that Jesus is their peace. Because God has reconciled both Jews and Gentiles to Himself, we ought to be reconciled to one another. Paul tears down any excuse for racism or prejudice through the cross.
Paul infuses the Church with hope, faith, and love by reminding the Ephesians what Christ did:
- He took those who were far away and brought them near through His blood (v.13)
- He became our peace (v.14)
- He united us and destroyed the barrier and dividing wall of hostility (v.14)
- He reconciled both Jews and Gentiles to God through the cross, and put an end to our hostility (v.16)
- He preached peace to those who were far away and to those who were near (v.17)
- He gave us equal access to the Father (v.18)
- He is building us into a “dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (v.22 – aka: the Church)
Because of this, we ought to daily cling to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, remembering from where we came. We were without God and without hope, but Jesus Christ has become our peace. May we also proclaim peace to those who are far away and to those who are near. We cannot preach the peace of the Gospel to those who are far away if we all stay where we are! Some of us must go as missionaries, all of us must send missionaries. We must prayerfully pursue opportunities to proclaim peace to those who are near us throughout each day.
Questions to consider:
- Is there racism or prejudice in you? Do you believe that people need to be like you if they’re going to become more like Christ?
- Do confess that apart from Jesus Christ you are “without God and without hope?” (maybe God desires to remind you of this truth through your continued struggle against sin – to show you who you would be without Him!)
- Would you be willing to go far away to proclaim the peace of Christ if He clearly told you to go? Are you willing to do all you can to support those who have received that calling?
- Are you being faithful to proclaim peace to those who are near? Are you praying for opportunities to share the Gospel with your family/friends/co-workers/neighbors/etc.?