Verse for today – “And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father (Eph. 2:17-18).”
Dear Reader, God is the greatest Being in the Universe. There is no one more vital to your happiness and success than He. Since God made you, He knows your deepest needs and greatest joys, and He knows what you need to live like a “finely oiled machine.” Your first and greatest need, according to the Bible, is to have peace with God! This is the meaning of salvation. As you place your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin, God forgives you, removes your debt, and transfers you from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His beloved Son. Your broken relationship with God is restored!
Today’s verses describe Jesus’ offer of this salvation—this peace with God—to all of humanity. Those who are far away in this verse are non-Jews. They were considered far away from God because they were not God’s chosen Old Testament people. Jesus offers them forgiveness and peace! The second group, those who were near in this verse, are the Jews. They were considered near to God because He chose them and gave them the Bible and many other blessings. However, they often did not respond to God or obey Him, and they too needed to be forgiven. Jesus offers them forgiveness and peace! Both groups have access to the Father through Christ’s offer and the Holy Spirit’s work.
When Jesus came and made these offers it was shocking. Many Jews did not understand His plans. Listen to Jesus’ own words as He describes His and the Father’s agenda:
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd (John 10:11-16).”
What music this is to our ears! One flock; one shepherd; one Savior who cares for us all. We are truly fortunate to now be the chosen people of God.