Monday, March 30, 2015

Jesus Christ, Barrier Buster

Every time Jesus discovered a barrier, he removed it.

The money tables in the Temple were barriers making it more difficult for people to worship God. Jesus overturned them.

The law prevented the blind and the lame from being in the Temple at all. Jesus not only invited them in, he healed them.

A social stigma devalued children in the ancient near eastern culture. It is the children who, with palm branches in hand, proclaim him the “Son of David.”

In fact, breaking down barriers was a central part of Jesus’s entire ministry, and a core value of the Gospel message itself. It is expressed in many ways, perhaps none more eloquent than Paul’s affirmation: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

Easter removes the ultimate barrier - death itself.  The power of the resurrection tears the curtain of the Temple in two, removes once and for all the barrier of death, and reveals the promise of life abundant and everlasting.

Death has a power that is based in fear, uncertainty, anxiety. Death confronts us with our limitations, our finitude, our sin. These are barriers to living life as fully as God desires us to. In his resurrection, Jesus removes that final barrier, and thereby empowers us to live fully, so that all creation might flourish as God intends.

Are there barriers that need removing in the world today? What “tables” are keeping people from worship? What “law” is keeping people away from the church? What “social stigmas” are preventing outcast groups from proclaiming Christ? Where is today’s “temple curtain?”

The power of the resurrection is a force to be reckoned with. Wielding it, Christ continues to break down the barriers that confront the world. May we as the church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, continue Christ’s resurrection mission in all we say, in all we do, and in everything that we are.


Caryl Bryan said...

And, dare I say it?, in how we vote!

Jo Beth Karr said...

That is EXACTLY what I was thinking. Huge barrier indeed.

Cynthia Astle said...

Excellent post, Andy. Picking up for UM Insight.