Wednesday’s Word: Christian Community in the Shadow of the Cross

Read Ephesians 2:11-22Open Link in New Window

“The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and His work become the one and only thing that is vital between us.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Everyone wants to belongCheers pictured a place “where everyone knows your name.”  We all long for that place, which should be found in the community of the church.  Christian community begins at the cross.  As Paul began Ephesians 2Open Link in New Window recounting the transformational power of the gospel in us, he goes on to recount the transformation that the gospel is to bring between us.

The passage begins with contrasts showing the position of the outsiders.  The Gentiles were “the uncircumcision” (v. 11), “separated from Christ” (v. 12), “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel” (v. 12), “strangers to the covenants of promise” (v. 12), and “having no hope without God in the world” (v. 12).  The Gentiles were without the blessing, community, and presence of God.  They were lost and broken beyond their ability to repair.  If the outsiders were to become insiders, they needed an insider to stand in their place and to be their advocate.

Jesus came to be their advocate.  The One, who was born into the system, yet who came to restore those both within and without of the system.  At the cross, Jesus destroyed the system that created outsiders and insiders in God’s kingdom.  He made peace between the Jews and Gentiles in order to bring all of His children, who were moved to respond to His gospel, into community as one.

Because of the gospel, the outsiders are now “fellow citizens” (v. 19), “saints” (v. 19), and children of God (v. 19).  At the cross, God’s people became one.  As His people displays the oneness that He intended for them, they show the watching world a true picture of God’s kingdom.

God wants to dwell in His people united together to be on His mission in His world.  Outsiders and insiders merge into family through the cross.  Let us seek to be people who embrace our brothers and sisters as Jesus has embraced us.  We all belong – not because we are good enough, religious enough, or fit into the right mold.  We belong because Jesus has bought us with His blood, and we are His beloved child.

Daily Prayer

Lord Jesus, Help me to accept those fellow believers who are different from me and to love them as You do.  Let the cross define the way I view Christian community.  Help me to embrace unity with others so that Your church can be one.  Amen.

Thought for the Day

Strangers become brothers at the cross of Jesus Christ.

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