But now in Christ Jesus, you who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
The little word “but” is so unassuming and unpretentious, and yet it makes all the difference in the world. It points to the fact that something monumental has happened, something so significant that what is true “now” is in stark contrast with the “at that time” of the previous verse.
The event that changed everything was Christ’s death on the cross. Thanks to his sacrifice, the Gentiles, who were far removed from any knowledge of God and had an uphill battle to find him, have been “made near.” Jesus enabled what God had planned from the very beginning: to reconcile to himself people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. Everyone now has equal access to God.
Paul goes even further by calling Jesus “our peace.” From the context, it’s clear that the pronoun “our” is referring to Jews and Gentiles. The Greek word “peace” comes from the verb “to join.” It means “that which has been joined together.” It paints the picture of a harmonious relationship and the sense of rest and contentment that results.
When God selected Israel to be the nation through whom the Savior would come, this task necessitated a separation from the rest of humanity in the form of the Mosaic Law. With the mission now accomplished, Jesus did away with the need for division. He broke down the “wall of partition,” the barrier that kept Jews and Gentiles apart. He united them as one entity in the church, removing any reason for hostility.
Unfortunately, this unity has not been part of our experience throughout history. Nonetheless, our human failure does not negate what Christ has done. All people, regardless of national origin or geographical location, have the same opportunity to become part of God’s family and reconcile with their Creator.