Today's Reading: Ephesians 2:13-22
“Now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)
What does it mean that you were far off, but have been brought near?
It means that you were conceived and born like everybody else – a sinner deserving God’s judgment.
That’s not a popular thing to say. Grab a newborn baby out of Mommy’s arm and whisper – loud enough for Mom to hear – “What a precious little heathen!”You might not baby-sit too often, but you will have spoken what is true.
St. Paul says that we were dead in our transgressions and our sins. That’s what the Gentiles were. That’s what we all are. The king of the Jews, named David, confessed that in Psalm 51:5.
But the KING of the Jews, Christ Jesus, has come for an even more astonishing indictment – and His Father is not offended by it at all. It is His Father’s will, after all, that Christ, the TRULY Innocent Son of David should die in the place of Jews and Gentiles. The Son of God and Mary became a curse in place of every sinner.
He became the Stranger, the Alien, the One killed by our hostility. And that did not offend His Father. It was His will to bruise Him; to make His Son the Sinner in our place, that we might be the righteousness of God.
In Christ, the world is reconciled now to God the Father. You who were far off, who should have been abandoned, are not.
You are brought near, dear Christian – whisked up, bundled up tight, baptized and bathed in the Blood of Christ. He is your peace – between you and the God Who now looks over you and says, “My, what a blessed little Jesus look-alike you are!”And what of everybody else – those pesky people who keep proving they’re as sinful, strange and alien as you?
Dear Christian, you are near to God in Jesus. The dividing wall of hostility is torn down in Him. He is your peace with God, who looks at you so happily as your Dear Father, and He is now your peace between the sinner that you see each morning in the mirror and everybody else. Amen
Though with a scornful wonder The world sees her oppressed, By schisms rent asunder, By heresies distressed, Yet saints their watch are keeping; Their cry goes up, “How long?” And soon the night of weeping Shall be the morn of song. (LSB 644:3)