President Reagan stood at the Berlin Wall years ago and intoned a dramatic summons: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Few expected that what Winston Churchill called “the iron curtain” would come down so soon. It was such an imposing barrier for so many years. It would almost take a miracle.
But the Berlin Wall was nothing compared to the barrier of sin which separates us from God and from our heavenly homeland. By the blood of Jesus our Savior, the wall that cut us off from our Father came down. The veil in the temple was torn – the way into the presence of God no longer blocked. The blood of Jesus our Savior has made possible an intimacy with God that had never before existed.
Until Christ came and completed the work of our redemption, there was another very real wall or fence in place – a wall between Jew and Gentile.
God Himself had placed that barrier there. He told the people of Israel: “The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6).
God Himself had built a fence, a wall of rules and regulations, of ceremonies and sacrificial observances around Israel – so much so that Israel was truly an oddball among the nations, a fifth wheel in the ancient world view.
God wanted it that way – to prepare the world for a Savior, to preserve the promise of the coming Messiah. Israel was the incubator of the promised Christ. In all the smoking altars of Israel, in the bleating lambs and blood-smeared robes, in the slaughter of the Passover Lamb and in Yom Kippur – the great day of atonement – there were shadows of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – a world of both Jews and Gentiles.
But until the coming of Christ, there was an intended separation between Jew and Gentile. Yet, God had told His people that it would not always be this way: “Nations [KJV – ‘Gentiles’] will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn,” said Isaiah.
Through the going forth of the gospel, the walls between Jews and Gentiles came tumbling down as dramatically as the walls of old Jericho once came tumbling down before the trumpets and soldiers of Joshua.
In his letter to the Christians at Ephesus, Paul says that you and I are the personal beneficiaries of this great miracle. Long ago, someone brought the good news of Christ from Israel to Europe, and from Europe to the “new world.” Now we are “members of God’s household.” Jesus stands at every wall of sin which separates us from God and from each other, and by the authority of His own redeeming blood He says: “Tear down this wall!”