The world has been rocked in recent weeks by terror, both domestic and international, resulting from agendas motivated by anger, fear, and hate. Racial, ethnic, national and political differences have motivated these incidents. Social media reflects and feeds the divisions, and many Christians have been caught up in the point and counterpoint. As the spirit of anti-christ seems to be stirring up more and more division, Jesus is calling His Body in the opposite direction.
As the divide ever widens between ethnic and national identities among those outside the Kingdom, Jesus is calling His Body to a Kingdom culture of deeper love and acceptance of one another than ever before. Our verse today looks forward to a time when the Body of Christ is so unified that God Himself dwells within the city they form. As verse 9 and 10 of our chapter today makes clear, the New Jerusalem is the redeemed Body of Christ in the time of the New Heaven and New Earth.
In verses 15-20, the New Jerusalem’s construction materials reflect the diversity of the people who are part of the city. There are twelve gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on them, and there are also twelve foundations with the twelve apostles’ names on them. Stones of various colours represent these foundations. This speaks to the diversity that God loves. He will have every tribe and tongue from the human race as part of the redeemed, who comprise the New Jerusalem.
Jesus destroyed the deepest rifts among the human race when He died upon the cross. The first and key division He healed was that between Jew and Gentile. This made a way for all people groups and nations to partake in salvation through faith. His death also destroyed separation and hostility between all races.
So how can we make this a reality in the Body of Christ today? We must first realise that our loyalty is not to our race or nationality, but to the Body of Christ. We are not to be caught up in these worldly divisions. Jesus Himself told us that those that believe in Him are our sisters and our brothers and our mothers. Secondly, we must ask Jesus to forgive us for any ethnic and racial prejudice in our past (or present) beliefs, attitudes and actions, and that of our generational line. We should ask Jesus to deliver us from anything of the enemy which has us bound into ungodly ways of seeing people of other ethnic and racial backgrounds. When we accept each other as God made us, we’re embracing each other’s true identities, and encouraging each other to shine brighter in the Kingdom.
Let’s also remember that, although things may seem bleak now, Jesus promises, through His unifying sacrifice on the cross, and the work of His unifying Spirit, He will make all things new. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away. Praise be to the Lamb!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for any racial, ethnic and national prejudice I or my generational line has demonstrated. Deliver me from anything of the enemy which keeps me locked into ungodly beliefs and attitudes about others. Give me Your love and acceptance for my sisters and brothers in Your Body, without regard to racial, ethnic or national background. Make us one as You and the Father are One. Amen.
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