17”And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:17–18 (ESV)
The doctrine of Jews and Gentiles being one in the person and work of Jesus Christ, by God’s grace alone, through God given faith alone, is not found exclusively in the New Testament. It is also prophesied in the Old Testament.
The Prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 57:19, said, “Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them.” The far refers to the Gentiles, while the near is a reference to the Jews. The LORD, Yahweh, will not only bring peace and tranquility to both people groups along with spiritual healing. Unlike false prophets who proclaim and predict peace, the LORD indeed brings peace to, and for, His people (Romans 5:1).
The Apostle Paul proclaims in today’s text that Jesus Christ fulfilled the Prophet Isaiah’s oracle from God. He preached peace to both Jew and Gentile through the apostles, evangelists, and pastor/teachers. It is only through Jesus Christ that both people groups have access, by the Holy Spirit, to God the Father.
Dr. R.C. Sproul writes, “Christ proclaimed His peacemaking achievement in the cross, though He did not travel to Asia in the flesh either before or after His resurrection. Instead, He traveled through heralds such as Paul, whose feet carried the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15; Isaiah 52:7).”
Jesus, in Matthew 28:19-20, said to His disciples, “19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus also said to His disciples, in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Truly, God still uses His disciples to further the unity between Jews and Gentiles. We are His tools to bring about the fulfillment of true Israel through the communication of the Gospel.
Soli deo Gloria!