Well does Jesus Christ deserve the title “”Prince of Peace,” for He brings peace to all who trust in Him. Christ gives His followers peace with God, taking away the penalty and burden of the sin that once separated us from our Creator. He gives us peace within ourselves, offering us rest for our souls from the cares and worries of life and strength to endure its trials. And Jesus gives us peace with each other, tearing down the walls that once kept us apart in self-centered isolation and rivalry. In today’s passage, Paul says that the power of the cross put to death the hatred and conflict that had kept the Jews, “those who were near” to God, bitterly divided from the Gentiles, those who did not have the blessings of the covenants of promise and were “afar off” from God (Ephesians 2:17). The two groups have now become one new, unified body as God’s church. Jesus Christ Himself is the cornerstone of this new, living house of believers, having come to fulfill all the promises laid down by the prophets and now explained by the apostles (vv. 20-22). Believing Jews and Gentiles have together become the Lord’s temple on earth, filled by the peacemaking, bonding work of His Holy Spirit.
This same work of reconciliation and unification continues today among all of us who are sincere believers in Jesus Christ. Whatever conflicts we are having with other Christians, the blood of Christ can bring us healing and peace. If you find yourself fighting with other believers, resolution is possible if both sides will take their eyes off themselves and put their eyes on Jesus. As a middle school, we have seen many students come to Jesus Christ for salvation and rededication in the past nine months. That means that we should be seeing more peace and unity in our hallways, classrooms, and everywhere else. May the Spirit of the Lord continue to make us one through our faith in the Prince of Peace!
The Text (Ephesians 2:14-22)
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.
Questions to Think About
- Have you ever had peace with God? Are you experiencing His peace in your life right now? Why or why not?
- Do you have any conflicts with other believers right now? Through your shared faith in Christ and the bond of the Holy Spirit, you should be able to make peace with each other. However, if one or more of you is immature or backslidden in your faith, or if the issue is very serious, then you may need mediation help from a more experienced believer like a parent, youth pastor, Bible study leader, or teacher. Ask the Lord to help you find peace in all your relationships through the power of the cross.
- Have you seen more peace and unity in your grade now than there was a year ago? Explain.
- The “middle wall of separation” in verse 14 was a literal physical barrier that kept Gentiles out of God’s temple. These Gentiles did not practice all of the religious and ceremonial laws of the Jews (verse 15), so they were seen as being outside of the promises of God’s love and salvation. But through Jesus Christ, that wall has been torn down and those Old Testament laws (not the moral commands like the Ten Commandments, but the stuff related to the temple and priests and such) have been abolished forever. What counts now is faith in Christ working through love. Peace is now available to people from every tribe and tongue and nation who are willing to repent of their sins and selfishness and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation.
- We saw the image of Christians as God’s living, growing house during our study of 1 Peter (check out the post “We Are God’s House” for a review). This metaphor is used a lot in the New Testament to remind us that the church is not a collection of buildings. No, God’s people are His church, and He lives in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We joined that building of faith when we got saved, and we continue to grow together as the Lord works in our lives to make us more like the cornerstone, Jesus Christ.