But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups one…. (Eph. 2:13-14)
The man was dragging his wife to church. It was clear she didn’t want to be there. I didn’t know what had happened at their previous churches, but he was pleading with her to try one more community and she was unhappy.
They had been attending our services for about a month. He was doing his best to get the rhythm of how we worshipped and she was doing her best to remain disengaged and disgruntled.
Her attitude and demeanor completely changed because of one line from a sermon. The line was this: “In Christ Jesus, there are no others.” As soon as I said these words, her head snapped up. She looked surprised, then radiant. It was clear that her anger had been transformed into joy.
A few weeks later she came to tell me her story. She and her family had been hearing messages that had caused her to believe that certain members of her family might not be welcome. Her thinking was clear: “If you don’t welcome all the members of my family, you aren’t welcoming me.” She felt in her heart that there were no others. She wanted to believe that Jesus felt the same way.
Not long after our first meeting, she came back for another visit. She wanted to be involved. She eventually found her ministry on our evangelism committee. She became committed to welcoming others with the message that had touched and healed her own heart.
In Christ Jesus there are no others. I encourage us to remember this message and to model it by how we treat all of God’s children. As today’s scripture says, we all have been “brought near by the blood of Jesus.”
Because Jesus is our peace, there are no outsiders, no outcasts, no others. Because Jesus is The Bridge that connects us all, we are called to be friends and neighbors and siblings and fellow servants to each other.
One message changed her life. When we truly live into this message—in Christ Jesus there was no others—everything can change in ours.
- Have you ever been treated like you didn’t belong in any community of faith? If so, what did that feel like?
- Have you ever treated someone else like an outsider? If so, how did you justify excluding anyone in the name of Jesus, who welcomed and loved everyone?
- If you truly believe today’s scripture, that Christ Jesus has made all groups one, is there some person or group that you need to accept, reach out to, embrace? If so, when are you going to model what you believe?