The Korean number among us is growing, and it will continue as we are fervently reaching out to the growing Korean community around us. As we grow more diverse, I want to consider what our church looks like in comparison to what the church was supposed to look like. The book of Ephesians gives us an idea of what the church should look like based on what Jesus accomplished through the crucifixion. It says He broke down the dividing wall of hostility and created one body, His church (Eph. 2:14-15). Let’s consider some of the walls that Jesus destroyed.
The Wall Of Traditions: Jesus destroyed the wall of traditions. In Jesus’ day, Samaritans worshipped on the mountain in Samaria while Jews worshipped in Jerusalem (John 4:20). They were hostile to each other, persisting in their own religious traditions. However, Jesus taught that this was not what God desired. Jesus proclaimed what God desires is worship in spirit and truth regardless of the place or the people (4:23-24). He destroyed the wall of hostility between Samaritans and Jews by teaching them about the right way to worship, and because of His crucifixion, all people can worship God in spirit and in truth.
The Wall Of Exclusion: Jesus also destroyed the wall of exclusion. One day a Roman centurion came to Jesus and asked Him to help his servant who was paralyzed (Matt. 8). As Jesus was going with him, he said Jesus could just say the word and his servant would be healed. Jesus was astonished at the faith of the centurion because he was a Gentile. And He declared that there would be many Gentiles who would be saved by faith while many Jews wouldn’t (8:11-12). The Jews, thinking they were in the faith because of their ethnicity, excluded the Gentiles. But Jesus destroyed the wall of exclusion so that all could enter the church. Through His death on the cross, Jesus became the source of salvation and made salvation available to all who would believe.
The Wall Of Privilege: The last wall Jesus destroyed was the wall of privilege. This is clear according to the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10). In the parable, there appears a Levite, a member of the privileged tribe, and a priest, which was a highly privileged position. However, they were denounced by Jesus. Ironically, the one whom Jesus honored was the Samaritan, someone with no privilege, because of his loving spirit. Jesus honored the Samaritan to the degree that He commanded His disciples to do as he had done (10:37). Jesus destroyed the wall of privilege by elevating the spirit of love. Later, He died sacrificially out of this same spirit of love and prioritized love above privilege.
These are just a few examples of the walls that Jesus destroyed by His crucifixion. He destroyed the wall of tradition, the wall of exclusion, and the wall of privilege. Therefore, the church of Christ shouldn’t have such walls, and, at the Buford church of Christ, we don’t. We are united through salvation, love, and worship, and anyone from any background and ethnicity can comfortably be united with us in salvation, love, and worship. We are proud of the way we look because we look like the Lord’s church, and it gives us the confidence to invite people around us, both Americans and Koreans.