“For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14)
At the core of the temple complex was the Holy of Holies, the sacred place where Jews believed God dwelled. Only the high priest could enter and only once a year on the Day of Atonement. Just adjacent to that was the Holy Place, a room set off from the Holy of Holies by a heavy curtain. This is the curtain that tore from top to bottom when Jesus died on the cross. Beyond and around these rooms was the Court of the Men where Jewish men were allowed, and beyond that was the Court of the Women. Then, beyond all of this was the Court of the Gentiles, where Jesus overturned the money tables. Between the Court of the Women and the Court of the Gentiles, there was a physical wall. Attached to this wall were warning signs both in Latin and Greek, uncovered by archeologists, which warned foreigners not to go beyond that point, and that if they were caught beyond that point, they would have only themselves to blame for their death.
This was the “dividing wall of hostility” that Paul was talking about. But it was more than just a physical wall. The wall represented the hostility that existed toward Gentiles that was spiritual, social, and relational.
Jesus tore down this wall. He removed all of the barriers that prevented anyone from having access to the Father. He replaced all this hostility with peace, and this peace was derived from the shedding of His blood. The giving of His life brought peace with God and peace among the true people of God, those who approach Him in faith and trust.
Since Christ has torn down a wall of hostility, let us make sure that we do not erect any new ones. Let us be committed to pursuing the shalom of God and living our lives by it.
Lord, Help us to walk with one another in the peace that passes understanding. Amen.