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Unity and Reconciliation in Christ
Ephesians 2:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
14 For he himself is our peace, who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of the barrier, the enmity, in his flesh,
This verse refers to Jesus as the source of peace and unity between Jews and Gentiles. The phrase “the two groups” refers to Jews and Gentiles, who were previously divided and hostile towards each other.
The phrase “the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” is likely a reference to the dividing wall in the temple in Jerusalem, which separated the court of the Gentiles from the rest of the temple. This wall symbolized the separation and hostility between Jews and Gentiles and the fact that Gentiles were considered to be outsiders of God’s covenant and unworthy of worship in the temple.
This verse is saying that Jesus has destroyed this barrier and reconciled Jews and Gentiles through His death and resurrection. It is through His sacrifice that Jews and Gentiles are able to be brought together as one people, reconciled to God, and given new life in Him.
Overall, this verse is a powerful reminder of the reconciling work of Jesus and the fact that it is through His death and resurrection that we are able to be brought together as one people and reconciled to God. It is a reminder of the grace and love of God towards believers from all backgrounds and the fact that through faith in Jesus, we can experience this reconciliation and unity.
For he himself is our peace – Christ is the source of peace and reconciliation between God and humanity.
Who has made us one – Through Christ, the barrier that separated Jews and Gentiles has been removed, bringing them together as one people in the body of Christ.
And broke down the dividing wall of the barrier, the enmity, in his flesh – The barrier of hostility between Jews and Gentiles was symbolized by the dividing wall in the temple, which Christ broke down through his death on the cross.
Historical and Cultural Context
Ephesians 2:14 is a powerful statement about the reconciliation and unity that Christ brings to humanity. In the historical and cultural context of the early Christian church, this verse holds particular significance.
At the time of Paul’s writing, there was a significant divide between Jews and Gentiles within the church. The Jews, who had been God’s chosen people for centuries, often looked down on the Gentiles as inferior. This led to tension and division within the early Christian community.
Paul addresses this issue head-on in Ephesians 2:14 by emphasizing the unity and reconciliation that Christ brings. He states that through Christ, both Jews and Gentiles are made one and that the dividing wall of hostility has been broken down.
This verse also references the dividing wall in the temple, which separated the court of the Gentiles from the court of the Jews. This wall was a physical representation of the dividing line between Jews and Gentiles, and its destruction through Christ’s death on the cross symbolizes the breaking down of this barrier in the spiritual realm as well.
In summary, Ephesians 2:14 holds great significance for the historical and cultural context of the early Christian church, where it emphasized the importance of unity and reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles through the person and work of Jesus Christ.