And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
(Ephesians 2:17-18 ESV)
Over the past few days we’ve learned that Jesus is peace [Ephesians 2:14] and that He makes peace between Jew and Gentile possible [Ephesians 2:15]. Jesus also removed the hostility between God and man [Ephesians 2:16]. Jesus was all about peace.
While here on earth Jesus’ primary ministry was to the Jews [Matthew 10:5-6, 15:24] though he did, on occasion minister to Gentiles [Matthew 15:25-28; John 4:1-42]. And subsequently through His apostles (the original 12, plus Matthias and Paul) Jesus has preached peace to the entire world.
The Greek word for “preached” here is ευαγγελιζο (pronounced: yoo-ang-ghel-id’-zo). This word gives us our English word “evangelize” and means “to announce good news”. Jesus’ entire life had one goal: to announce to the world that peace was not only possible between God and man, but was (and still is) available.
It is sin that separates man from God. God is much more holy than we can even begin to comprehend. He is so holy that He cannot even be in the presence of sin. This includes all the sins that human beings euphemistically justify as not being sin, like a little white lie. Anyone who is separated from God is one of God’s enemies and is, in fact, in the servitude of Satan [Ephesians 2:1-2; Romans 5:10].
The only way peace between God and man can happen is for man’s sin to be removed. And that is exactly what Jesus accomplished. Not with His life. But with His death.
While on the cross Jesus became sin [2 Corinthians 5:21]. All the punishment due sinful man was placed upon Jesus on the cross in order to remove the barrier that had existed between God and man since Genesis 3. Once that barrier was removed, peace with God was now available to every human being.
Its important to note that Jesus was the only one capable of removing the barrier between God and man. It is only “through Him” that anyone can have “access” to God. No one can have a relationship with God through any other means [John 14:6]. Anyone who tries to get right with God through penance, or good deeds, or chanting, or pilgrimages is trying to earn eternal life through their own efforts. None of this will work.
Notice in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that it was God who made Jesus become sin. God had a plan from the time Adam & Eve rebelled to conquer sin through His son [Genesis 3:15]. He did this for the purpose of reconciling (i.e. making peace between) Himself and His recalcitrant creation.
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