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 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. When we repent of sin and put our faith in Jesus, we should see more peace and unity in our relationships. May the Spirit of the Lord make us one through a shared faith in the Prince of Peace.
The Text (Ephesians 2:14-22)
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his 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 “dividing wall of hostility” 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.
- The image of Christians as God’s living, growing house is also found in 1 Peter (check out the post “We Are God’s House” for an explanation). 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.