By Jeannie Cunnion
This portion of Scripture could be entitled “B.C. and A.D.”
Paul recognizes that the Jews (the chosen people) held great distain and contempt for the Gentiles whom they called the ‘goyim’–the uncircumcised.
It is in light of this contempt that Paul attempts to bring a new understanding and acceptance of this alien people into unity with the Jews through the Messiah, Christ, the Anointed One. The Jews of Jesus day were led to believe through the teaching of the Pharisees that they, and they only, were the covenant people who had special privileges with God whereas all other nations and peoples were out of reach for God’s mercy and blessings.
Tragically, they did not understand that their privileges were conditioned by their responsibility to be the covenant people. That is why the Bible calls them hagios —a holy people.
When Jesus came, writes Paul, something monumental, cataclysmic, took place. This Messiah had become not only the Jew’s “Messiah”, but also the Gentiles’ “Savior” as well!
To understand the radical shift in the Jewish theology of being ‘chosen’ exclusively, this Messiah’s mission to save, redeem and forgive people of every nation and tongue became the great ‘middle wall’ that was destroyed. Think about this for a moment! All of a sudden Paul is telling the Jews that the division/ the barrier/the wall/ has been permanently disintegrated by the Messiah’s death and resurrection —— a new covenant has been made through his death on the Cross for Jews and Gentiles.
At three o’clock on a Friday afternoon in 33 AD, the moment Jesus uttered the cry, “It is finished,” the temple curtain was torn in two and from that moment on the Holy Place would be available for everyone who put their trust and faith in this Messiah.
Paul writes at that moment everyone who had been ‘far from God was now brought near’ to the Father Himself. The implications are twofold: one, there would never again be a barrier between God and His people (Jew and Greek for they are now one in Christ) and two: there was now the possibility of two warring parties (chosen and uncircumcised) to be made one in Jesus.
This oneness is only through His death and resurrection.
What a wonderful word reconciliation is! It means that two estranged and hostile parties are brought into oneness and friendship.
That is what Paul is saying for you and for me. We have immediate access to the Trinity; we have complete forgiveness of our sins; and we have a Friend who welcomes us into His presence. We have union with Christ and with one another.
Jeannie Cunnion is passionate about rising up a generation of children who know they are extravagantly and unconditionally loved by Jesus Christ. Her professional career combines counseling, writing, and speaking about parenting skills and adoption issues for both Bethany Christian Services and the National Council for Adoption. She was raised as a “Preacher’s Kid” and she currently serves as the Council Co‐Chair at Trinity Church in Greenwich, CT. Jeannie’s greatest joy is being a wife to Mike and a mom to her three active boys. You can find Jeannie on Twitter at @JeannieCunnion or on her website at www.wholeheartedchild.com.
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