Hit the Wall

July 6, 2016 No Comments »
Hit the Wall

By David Faust

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 3.26.19 PMMy friend hit the wall the other day. He’s a gentle fellow with a kind heart, and he’s been a Christian for years. Nevertheless, others sometimes view him as a threat because of his skin color. In the hallway at church recently a woman noticeably clutched her purse more tightly when she saw him approaching. It didn’t make my friend angry—just sad. He’s used to hitting the wall.

During mission trips in other countries my wife and I hit the wall by experiencing what it feels like to have someone stare at you or point and call you “foreigner.” Closer to home, while visiting a friend’s inner-city church we emerged from our parked car to hear children shout, “Hey white people, what are you doing in this neighborhood?”

Recognizing the Wall

If you’ve ever hit the wall as you navigate through our current maze of cultural tensions, you’re in good company. Moses hit the wall when his own brother and sister criticized him for marrying a Cushite wife (Numbers 12:1). Jonah hit the wall when God instructed him to preach in Nineveh, the capital city of his nation’s archenemies (located in today’s Iraq). Peter hit the wall when God directed him to visit a centurion named Cornelius. Paul hit the wall when some Pharisees who had become Christians insisted that Gentiles had to keep the law of Moses in order to be saved (Acts 15:1-5).

The first-century wall dividing Jews from Gentiles seemed impenetrable. Peter drew fire from his Jewish-Christian friends not only because he preached the gospel to Cornelius, but because he “went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them” (Acts 11:1-3). In New Testament times it was unthinkable for Jews to socialize with Gentiles. Jewish men repeated a daily prayer thanking God that he hadn’t made them slaves, Gentiles, or women.

Smashing the Wall

How could such longstanding barriers ever be broken? How can deep-seated prejudices and mistrust ever give way to unity and love? There’s only one way.

Government leaders need our prayers as they wrestle with complicated immigration policies and contemplate how to secure the U.S. border. In the midst of the debates, however, Christians must keep our eyes on the Savior whose kingdom transcends national boundaries, whose gospel is meant for all ethnic groups, and whose love alone can turn foes into family. Our focus must be on making disciples “of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and building up the church where “we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

In this fallen world political power isn’t the main problem, nor is it the ultimate solution. Christ alone can connect the disconnected, restore the disenfranchised, and reconcile the alienated until they become “perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Corinthians 1:10). Christ alone can bring together worshippers “from every nation, tribe, people and language” (Revelation 7:9).

Christ “himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14). He came “to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace” (v. 15).

At the cross, Christ hit the wall. And he smashed it to smithereens.

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2012, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

Daily Readings

July 11

M.

Galatians 4:28–5:1

Free in Christ

July 12

T.

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

One in Christ

July 13

W.

Romans 11:30-36

Rich in Christ

July 14

T.

1 Corinthians 12:12-20

United in Christ

July 15

F.

Ephesians 2:15-22

Dwelling in Christ

July 16

S.

John 12:40-50

Believing in Christ

July 17

S.

Romans 3:21-31

Both Just and Justifier

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