Breaking Down the Walls

RIAN_archive_475738_Berlin_WallIn August 1961 construction East Germany began construction on the Berlin Wall  in order to completely cut itself off from West Germany.   East Germany was firmly entrenched in becoming a socialist/fascist state, and threatened by the freedom offered on the other side. The barrier they built included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, and it included anti-vehicle trenches and defenses meant to keep people from defecting from the communist side to the democratic side.  In the post-World War II period from 1961 to 1990, over 5,000 people attempted to escape over it, and 600 people died.  It became known as The Iron Curtain.

Despite its demise, our current culture has a system of “Iron Walls”, even though many of them are not visible to the eye.  There are cultural, religious and political walls that divide us, and there are relational walls of misunderstanding, wrongdoing, and prejudice that separate us every day.  Some of those philosophical and relational differences are very definite statements of separation.

A System of Walls
In Jesus day, there were walls too.  The Temple in Jerusalem was set up in a system of courtyards; there was the Jewish court, in which only men and boys would be allowed to enter, the Women’s Court, the Priest’s Court and the Gentile’s court.  All of these categories of people were separated and had limited access to the Holy Place, where God dwelt.  Only once a year, the Holy Place could be entered by the high priest when he offered a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people.  All this was a model of how our sins have separated us from God. (Isaiah 59:1)

Believe it or not, and despite the system of walls, God had a plan.  Because He loved us and wanted a relationship with us, those sins that separated us had to be dealt with. So He sent Jesus to become the way to obtain forgiveness and reconciliation.  Jesus came, lived with us and showed us God’s good will.  Then He made Himself the sacrifice in order to provide our entry point into a relationship with God. The Bible tells us “the curtain of the temple was torn in two” (Matthew 27:51, Hebrews 10:19), and as a result, all of the distinctions that separated us were obliterated:

“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” Ephesians 2:14 New Living Translation

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:27-28 NIV

Now that we are reconciled to God, we can be reconciled to one another.  Through Jesus death and resurrection, He’s made that way for us. He gives us insight and direction on how to do this as we continue to follow Him and read His words.  “We love, because He first loved us”. (I John 4:19)

In 1989 a series of political movements began the process of eroding the power of The Iron Curtain. A few years earlier, President Ronald Regan declared “Tear down this wall!” as he stood at the Brandenburg Gate and soon East Germany announced it would allow citizens to visit the other side. Its power now gone, people began to chip away at it, taking pieces as souvenirs.  It finally was bulldozed with great force, and paved the way for Germany to unify officially in 1990.

Jesus broke down the wall of hostility with great force once and for all.  Our own Iron Curtains of sin, misunderstanding and differences can be replaced with love, reconciliation and unity through Him.

“He is our peace, who has broken down every wall.” -R

Originally written for “my peeps” at Newport Mesa Church Women’s Ministry
GIFT Series 2013

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