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  1. Day 1 - On the Difference Between Living for Jesus and Living from Jesus
  2. Day 2 - Why the Bible Was Not Written for the World
  3. Day 3 - Why Do We Think Spiritual Blessings Are Immaterial?
  4. Day 4 - Are You Adopted?
  5. Day 5 - Why God’s Plan Is Not for My Life
  6. Day 6 - Only Two Kinds of People
  7. Day 7 - Would the Real Seekers Please Stand Up?
  8. Day 8 - Meet the Fellowship of the Holy Discontents
  9. Day 9 - Why We Must Understand the Real Problem
  10. Day 10 - On Starting Downton Abbey at Season Six
  11. Day 11 - On Starting a Jigsaw Puzzle at the Center
  12. Day 12 - On Picking up Our Pieces and Making Our Own Puzzle
  13. Day 13 - Those Walls of Hostility
  14. Day 14 - On Building Fireplaces
  15. Day 15 - From Amazing Grace to Astonishing Grace
  16. Day 16 - On the Difference between Information and Revelation
  17. Day 17 - Are You Aware of Your Inner Being?
  18. Day 18 - Why Love Must Become More Than We Thought It Was
  19. Day 19 - Are You Filled with the Fullness of God?
  20. Day 20 - Why Discipleship to Jesus outside of Relationships with Others Is Not Discipleship to Jesus
  21. Day 21 - One Body, Twenty-Something-Thousand Denominations?
  22. Day 22 - Why Down Is the New Up
  23. Day 23 - Calling All Apostles, Prophets, and Evangelists
  24. Day 24 - The Challenge of Growing up as a Grown-Up
  25. Day 25 - The Two Groups Down at the Church
  26. Day 26 - How Behavior Management Stunts Your Growth
  27. Day 27 - Would the Real Me Please Come Forth?
  28. Day 28 - The Junior-High Beast Within
  29. Day 29 - On Shifting the Center of Gravity in Your Life
  30. Day 30 - So What Are You (Really) Angry About?
  31. Day 31 - Until the Pattern Is a Person, It Remains a Puzzle
  32. Day 32 - The Real Problem with Acceptable Pornography
  33. Day 33 - On the Personal Devastation and Communal Decimation of Sexual Sin
  34. Day 34 - The Least Asked Most Important Question of Our Time
  35. Day 35 - Addicted to the Holy Spirit
  36. Day 36 - Why Love Is Blind and Marriage Is an Eye-Opener (Part 1 of 3)
  37. Day 37 - Why Love Is Blind and Marriage Is an Eye-Opener (Part 2 of 3)
  38. Day 38 - Why Love Is Blind and Marriage Is an Eye-Opener (Part 3 of 3)
  39. Day 39 - The Secret to Extraordinary Parenting
  40. Day 40 - On Telling the Impossible Story to Impossible Situations
  41. Day 41 - The Surprising Way of Becoming Strong in the Lord
  42. Day 42 - And though This World with Devils Filled . . .
  43. Day 43 - One Little Word Shall Fell Him
  44. Day 44 - Thanks, Tychicus
  45. Day 45 - The Grace and Peace of Puzzle Work
Lesson 13 of 45
In Progress

Day 13 – Those Walls of Hostility

Ephesians 2:14–16

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

Consider This

In his own body on the cross.

Those words’they say more than words can even say.

He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.

If he did this between entire groups of people (i.e., Jews and Gentiles), how much more can he do it between individual persons (e.g., brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, Hatfields and McCoys)?

Anyone who has been around for any length of time ­understands—either from personal experience or the evening news’the meaning of the phrase “the wall of hostility.” There are those Frostian “good fences make good neighbors,” and then there are the “walls of hostility.”

We see them everywhere these days. Walls of hostility rage between men and women, between nation and nation, even between kids in school.

It’s not new. The walls of hostility rose up as we turned the page onto Genesis 3 with the hiding, blaming, and shaming. In no time the hostility wall rose up between brothers as Cain murdered Abel. It’s the same song with endless verses. There’s nothing original about sin and death.

Here’s something truly original: Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

There will be no peace apart from Christ. We may declare a truce, agree to a cease-fire, sign an armistice, and even manage an amicable divorce, but there will be no real peace.

For Christ himself has brought peace to us.

We will not find peace built on the principle of Christ. We will not find our way to peace based on some kind of conceptual, forensic, or ethical understanding of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The secret to peace is found here: In his own body on the cross.

Two divided groups, bodies, or persons become one not by coming together but by beholding his own body on the cross. We must see in the deepest way of seeing the unutterable cost of these walls of hostility.

When my oldest son was young (maybe five), he picked up a small crucifix from my desk. He asked me, “What do you use this for?” Before I could get out a wrong answer, he revised the question, asking, “Or is this for looking at?”

BOOM! I was undone. As I beheld the tiny crucifix in his small hand, I answered, “Yes, David, this is for looking at!”

Recall the lyrics to the famous hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts:

When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of glory died; my richest gain I count as loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

See from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and blood flow mingled down. Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?

O the wonderful cross, bids me come and die and find that I may truly live.

When is the last time you spent time simply looking at a crucifix or an image of Jesus crucified? It’s not about thinking any particular thoughts or conjuring up an emotional expression. The simple act of looking upon Jesus lifted up on the cross for extended periods of time is a profoundly formational act of devotion.

The Prayer

Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, the one who became broken so we could be made whole. He is our peace. Save me from the ideal of peace, and show me the way of peace as a person, in his own body on the cross. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

The Questions

How do you relate to today’s text and reflection?

How do you see the difference between peace as an ideal or principle, and peace a person?

How might you behold his body on the cross in the midst of the walls of hostility in your own life right now?