As we celebrate Easter and Christ’s empty tomb, we recognize that Calvary changes everything! Through Christ’s victory over death we not only receive forgiveness for sin, but if that were not enough, integral to the good news of the cross we also receive peace with God and also with one another.
Those who are far away are brought closer to God, and at the same time we are also brought closer to one another! Once we were estranged, not only from God, but also from each other, (Jews and Greeks, slaves and free, women and men). But through Christ we receive unity, mutuality, and reconciliation. In fact, Paul tells us in Ephesians 2 that as part of our spiritual rebirth, we are inducted into that new race, that new body of believers with Christ as our head.
His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity… He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit (Ephesians 2:15-22, TNIV).
By abolishing the law and its regulations, God through Christ has created a new person, a new anthropos (Ephesians 2:15), where reconciliation is the hallmark of our new life in Jesus. Our reconciliation and newness of life gives us the power to humbly work beside one another as “fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
As head of the church, Christ brings a peace and reconciliation which, scripture tells us, is built upon the prophets and apostles. How interesting that Paul selects groups (prophets and apostles) which included women within their ranks; from Huldah, Deborah, Miriam, Anna, Philip’s prophesying daughters (Acts 21:9), the prophesying women in Corinth (1 Corinthians 11:5), and those who prophesied at Pentecost, to the female apostle Junia. Women and men are both living stones, equally joined to Christ their head, and together with all ethnicities we become that holy temple, a dwelling “in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22). And the Spirit makes us new each day so that we may bring the fragrance of God to others who, like us, are being called to join God’s household.
Friends, throughout history, the gospel of Christ has always been associated with reconciliation. This Easter, let us walk fully in the newness of life that shows the world Christ is risen indeed! Will you join us?
Mimi Haddad is President of Christians for Biblical Equality (www.cbeinternational.org)