Sunday, December 2, 2012
On 12-9-12, Ephesians 2:11-22 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson, herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as One in Jesus Christ.
One in Jesus Christ
International Sunday School Lesson
December 9, 2012
I know from my own personal experience that we have a tendency to think too highly of ourselves. We will read scriptures including today’s and think how they involve or include us. We can and should understand how we are included or involved but it is more important to see how and why God did it. In today’s scripture He did it through Jesus.
Before Jesus died, was buried and resurrected, God was the God of Abraham and Isaac, the God of Israel. Before Jesus, only the chosen people knew God. The men of Israel from Abraham onward were marked with circumcision to signify this fact.
The law and its commandments likewise had nothing to do with anyone other than Israel. This too was a mark to signify that these were God’s people. If you weren’t from Israel you weren’t circumcised and you didn’t follow the law. The temple was the penultimate representation of these facts.
I think for us today this scripture is rather straight forward but for the gentiles of Ephesus and elsewhere who were new Christians in that day it was needed. They were new on the scene, so to speak, in worshiping God. The Jews however had been worshipping him already for thousands of years. They had to feel a bit like outsiders, a bit like stepchildren. Remember back then that the church was begun and populated first by Jews and their chief spokesman in Paul was a Jew.
Jewish people who worshiped God would have limited contact with Gentiles and Gentiles would have limited access to them. The best visual example if you could still visit it would have been the final temple that was built in Jerusalem. You as a Gentile could enter the outer court but going further would be sacrilege and you would be summarily killed. Talk about hostile!
The Jews could go in but you were not welcome and once inside the final most inner part was reserved for their priest.
But Jesus because of God’s plan to bring us all together through His plan of grace brought unity and order and peace. Because of His blood, His perfect sacrifice there is no more need for them to have the law, it was fulfilled. There is no more need for a temple. There is no more need for a priest to continue to make sacrifices after the perfect sacrifice that was enough for all.
Because of Jesus blood all who accept Him are one and whether Jew or Gentile we have access to the Father. Talk about peace!
1. Read Hebrews 9:11-28 to look at why Jesus blood.
2. Read Ephesians 2:1-10 to see that though they worshipped God, the Jews just like the Gentiles were the objects of God’s wrath and how faith in Jesus unites us both.
3. Discuss the need to share the gospel with those who until they accept Jesus are still “without hope” and “far away”.
4. Some still seek to follow parts of the law but this scripture clearly shows that “the law with its commandments and regulations” has been abolished. Discuss.
5. It is important to keep in mind order when reading this word peace from today’s scripture. God is a God of order.
6. Discuss the idea of a figurative but yet in a sense literal temple to the Lord that is in sight.
7. Discuss the importance of the last verse.
Upcoming Adult Sunday School Class Commentaries
12-16-12: Part of One Body in Christ aka Unity in the Body of Christ Ephesians 4:1-16
12-23-12: Alive in the Light of Christ aka Live in the Light John 1:1-5, 14; Ephesians 5:1, 2, 6-14
12-30-12: Christ’s Love for the Church Ephesians 5:18-6:4 or Ephesians 5:21-6:4
1-6-13: Proclaiming Christ Philippians 1:12-26 or 1:15-26
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved