Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Level Ground

Simply beautiful:
2:14 "For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."
This is marriage language - the two became one. What two? Well following context it is impossible to miss. Yesterday we read about the Jews and the Gentiles, the Circumcision and the Uncircumcision. How did Jesus do that?! We're talking about oil and water. How do you bring two groups of people together who for centuries have seen themselves as separate and incompatible? The Jews had laws to keep things that way... how indeed...?
You have to reframe the picture by telling the truth and by leading by example. Jesus began right away. In His first sermon in the synagogue on Sabbath morning speaking to a Jewish congregation Jesus told a story about Elijah. A true story. When Elijah was hiding from Ahab and Jezebel during the drought he ended up in the home of a widow from Zarephath. Jesus said God sent him there because there was no one in Israel to send him to. The congregation was angry, enraged actually. It would be like telling an American evangelical that Jesus came to America and the only home that would take Him in was Muslim.

 From there Jesus started doing the unthinkable. He started crossing borders. He began healing and helping foreigners. First it was the hated half breeds from Samaria. Then He got really crazy and went to Decapolis and Tyre and Sidon. His own disciples couldn't believe the things He did. Then as he hung dying at the hands of Jews and Gentiles alike He prayed "Forgive them Father, they don't know what they are doing."
He did not address two distinct groups. The distinction that existed was manmade, nothing else. Jesus tore down the walls. He made it clear the Jews may have had a special role to play but they were not more special because of it. He said radical things like "To whom much is given, from him much is required" and "The first will be last and the last first".
Why in the old testament is there only one miraculous healing of leprosy and it was for the captain of the Syrian army? Why was Jonah sent to Gentile Nineveh with a message from the God of Abraham? Why was Rahab the prostitute rescued from Jericho and Ruth from Moab?
Why? Because in Christ we are one. He is the Word that spoke everything into existence and there is only one race, the human race. By fulfilling every requirement of the law Himself, every Jew and every Gentile is perfect in Him.
The truth is simple, beautiful, and profound - the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Never permit the thought that there is anything about you that makes you less or more valuable than anyone else.

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