Proper 11 (B), July 20, 2003
As a teenager I weighed approximately 300 pounds. During gym
classes we would build a human pyramid of boys. Our goal was to get
as many bodies on the pyramid as possible. I was usually in the
center of the crowd on the bottom row. The higher the pyramid went
the more difficult it was to remain stable. After a while my knees
began to shake and my back began to hurt and the same thing was
happening with all the other fellows on the bottom row. One by one we
began to collapse from the weight and our human pyramid tumbled!
Human foundations in life tend to falter and fail, but God’s foundations for life will not collapse.
I. God’s Foundational Material includes the Blood of Jesus (v.13)
Paul uses the imagery of the walls of the temple in Jerusalem to
dramatically demonstrate the concept that He chose only special
people to love the most. The walls inside the temple blocked off
sections or “courts” where these “special” people could enter. The
Holy of Holies was the innermost court section where only the High
Priest could go once a year for sacrificial offerings. However,
before he could get to this holy place he had to travel through the
various courts starting with the court of the Gentiles making it
obvious that they were least in God’s heart. Then came the court of
women and once past there he entered the court of the Israelites (for
Israeli men only), then the court of the priests and finally the holy
Jesus’ death on the cross and the shedding of his blood crumbles
the barriers keeping humanity from God. No longer are humans kept far
away from God, but have immediate access to Him. No longer are there
“special” people. The truth is there never were “special” people.
That was a prejudicial concept put forth by people wanting to be
special. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send the Son into the world
to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through Him.”
II. God’s Foundational Material includes the Peace of Jesus (vv.14-15)
There is a strong possibility that Paul is referring back to a
passage in Isaiah’s prophecy that states, “Peace, peace, to the far
and to the near, says the Lord” (57:19). Maxie Dunnam writes, “In its
original context this word of Isaiah expresses God’s offer of peace
to all Jews, whether in dispersion or in Palestine near Jerusalem.
The words ‘near’ and ‘far,’ however, came to refer to Jews who were
near to God and Gentiles who were far from Him.”1
Today, Jesus offers peace to anyone who will seek Him. An
anonymous author wrote, “In some old castles are found deep wells
meant to supply the garrison in time of siege. An aqueduct bringing
water from without would be at the enemy’s mercy; but over the well
inside the foe has no power. The peace the world seeks depends on one’s
surroundings; in time of trouble its sources are cut off, like a
spring outside the castle walls. But the peace Christ gives is that
of the spring within, most precious in hours of need.”2
How do you find that peace? Admit that you need God in your life.
Believe that he will come into your heart through faith. Confess your
sin that has separated you from God. Peace comes through the
knowledge that we can be connected to a loving God through Jesus.
III. God’s Foundational Material Includes Friendship with Jesus and Others (v.17-19)
According to William Barclay in his commentary on Galatians and
Ephesians, Paul uses the Greek word apokatallassein which means that
two estranged friends have been brought together. He writes, “The
work of Jesus is to show all men that God is their friend, and
because God is their friend, that they must be friends with each other.
Reconciliation with God involves and necessitates reconciliation with
How do you view God? Is He a friend or a foe? The Bible tells us
that Jesus came all the way from heaven to be our friend. Today He
reaches down to bring us to His side. Go ahead and take His hand! He
wants to be your friend, today!
1 Lloyd Ogilvie, Gen. Editor, The Communicator’s Commentary
Galatians-Philemon by Maxie Dunnam (Waco: Word Books, 1982), 174.
2 G.B.F. Hallock, Five Thousand Best Modern Illustrations (New York: Richard R. Smith, Inc., 1931), 558.
Sermon brief provided by: Derl Keefer, Kansas