Ephesians 2:14-16 (NKJV)
14For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
15having 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,
16and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
Christ is our Peace, He is our Shalom. In the Hebrew language, “Shalom” has a very rich meaning. It means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony and the absence of hostility.
Christ is our Shalom; He broke down the wall of separation. Matthew 27: 50 -51 (NIV) records: “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split”. This “curtain” mentioned is the one that separates the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. The Holy of Holies is the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence. Only the priest is allowed to enter the Holy of Holies once every year on the Day of Atonement. This is because God cannot withstand any tinge of ungodliness or sin. Therefore in the Old Testament only the priest, a chosen person, can enter into the presence of God on behalf of the people. However because God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son Jesus to be the High Priest and the Greatest Atonement for our sin. Therefore when Jesus died for us on the Cross, this curtain had been torn into two halves. Because of Jesus, our Shalom, we can have reconciliation with God.
Christ our Shalom not only reconciled us with God, in Ephesians 2:15, Apostle Paul teaches us that Jesus also “creates in Himself one new man from the two…” The “two” here refers to two groups of people, the Jews and the Gentiles. Anyone that is not Jew would be considered as Gentile. Gentiles are regarded as people who are outside of the covenant and promises of God. They are considered as people of lower prestige, unclean, unwelcomed by the Jews and definitely not recognized. But God has a different, greater and higher plan. He loves all mankind. He sent Jesus to bring two hostile people groups to become one in Him. Hence in Christ, all of us are new creation, co-heirs with Christ and new men. No longer are there any disparities, but all are considered “members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). Since Jesus has already broken down the hostility between mankind, we are also called to make peace with one another.
As I ponder upon these verses, the image of the Cross comes to my mind. The Cross is formed by two straight lines – one vertical and one horizontal. The vertical line reminds me of the removal of hostility between mankind and God. We can now have an intimate and personal relationship with God. Enjoying and being soaked in the presence of God are now made possible. Jesus gave us the Great Commandment in Matthew 22:37, “… Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you mind.” This forms a love relationship in the vertical direction. The horizontal line reminds me of the removal of hostility between mankind. Matthew 22:38 tells us, “…Love your neighbour as yourself”. Thank God for this beautiful reminder through His Cross.
Let us pray.
“Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your great love for us. Thank You for sending us Jesus, our Peace, our Shalom Who brought about reconciliation in two directions. I commit myself to love You and to love others with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. In each of my actions, let it be an outflow of my expression of love towards You and others. Thank You, Father. I pray all these in Jesus’ most Mighty Name. AMEN!”