Christianity 201

June 15, 2012

The Ground is Level at the Foot of the Cross

David Kenney posted this a couple of days ago under the title Leveling the Field.  (click the title to read at source)

In 1871 archeologists found ancient warning signs written in Greek that would have been posted in the Hebrew temple. They said:  “No Gentile may enter beyond the dividing wall into the court around the Holy Place; whoever is caught will be to blame for his subsequent death.”

How is that for a church sign? These signs would have been posted in Solomon’s Porch (the Greek courtyard) where Greek speaking people would be allowed to worship.

In John 10 the bible shows Jesus teaching in Solomon’s Porch and then later in Acts 5 the bible says, Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico.

This court of the unwanted, the cast offs, the disallowed became one of the humble beginnings of the Christian church.

And as the prince of shalom, Christ breaks down the “walls of hostility.” Because you can’t have peace when people pick sides. Once there are two teams, two camps, two views, two parties, then you can’t have peace. Once people begin lining up behind their candidate, or their captain peace is already out of the question.

As Christians, we worship the prince of peace.  And so I think whenever we as Christ followers see a line drawn in the sand we need to be very careful before we jump on one side or the other. Our Savior didn’t come to split the world into teams, he came to bring peace. The bible says he is the “prince” of peace.

So one way Christ brings peace is to knock down divisions and walls, and verse 15 has another way:

Ephesians 2v15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,

Paul says there won’t be “us” and “them” anymore. In trying to bring peace, Christ will unite all people together in order to establish a new thing. Something that has never been before.

Man is the word anthropos in the Greek and it just means a “human being.”

So Paul says, “when the walls come down there will be a new humanity;” a humanity that lives together, in peace without walls and without division.

So perhaps in our lives when we come across choices and things that seek to pull us this way or that, a few questions we could ask would be:

 1. Does it bring peace? Or does it divide? My Savior is the prince of peace and so as his disciple I should align myself with movements and ideas that bring peace. Any movement that seeks to divide people, to split them, to create sides and to alienate others or to exclude others… any idea or religious practice that seeks to pit family against family or friend against friend – those should be things I avoid. I do not want to perpetuate a life or a church that creates an “us” vs. “them” mentality.

… another question would be…

2. Does this look like a new humanity or the old one? The bible says that Jesus came to “make all things new.” So as a church, as a disciple, my goal should be to find ways to align myself with a new humanity. If it’s humming with the Jesus movement than it should speak life, and have a new word to say. It should lift up, elevate, motivate and it should bring peace. A new humanity is inclusive, and it’s welcoming and it’s family.

He might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,  v16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

 God’s purpose is to bring us all together.

To make one race out of two – gentiles and Jews and make them both into his people. And Paul says that the cross kills the hostility and it tears down the walls.

The cross of Christ literally levels the playing field.