In the last message, I mentioned that inside the temple, was a 3′ or 4′ wall separating the Jews from the Gentiles. And that is not so unique; there are walls like that among us. We have walls in our homes that separate us. There are hostility and hatred and defiance and suspicion and distrust between husbands and wives, between parents and children, and between neighbors and friends. These walls of hostility arise. They are what most of us face. We feel the hatred, the anger, the deep-seated resentment, bitterness, the feeling you are walking on eggshells, and we say, “It’s no use; there’s nothing we can do.” But Paul says that Jesus Christ knows how to remove these walls. How? Well, “by putting an end to the commandments and demands found in Moses’ Teachings.” That is the way! It is the Law which makes the hostility, and if you remove the Law, you will end the hatred.
Once again, we are dealing here with a very profound psychological insight. The strength of any hostility is demand. This is what Paul is saying. What creates hostility? Why, a self-righteous demand on someone, a demand without any admission of guilt on the part of the one demanding, a one-sided justice, a holier-than-thou insistence. This is what creates hostility.
The Jews despised the Gentiles because they considered themselves better than Gentiles. “We have the Law of Moses,” they said. “The Law is right and true; it reflects the character of God. You Gentiles don’t have the Law.” And in their blindness and self-righteous hypocrisy, they thought they were keeping this Law because they didn’t do some of the outward, external acts the Law prohibited. So they hated and despised the Gentiles because they thought they were superior. The Gentiles, on the other hand, hated the Jews, because they knew they lived in self-righteous hypocrisy. So there was intense hostility between them.
Jesus’ solution was to take away the Law. Remove that from the picture — help them see that the Law judges both alike — and you will end the hostility. Put them on the same level — so they both need grace, both need forgiveness — and you remove hostility! Amazing!
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