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Brought Near



But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,


Ephesians 2:13,14[1]


At the start of every Star Wars film[2], there is that now famous opening line.


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….


It can be a lot of fun to look back. To think back where you’ve come from. To remember what things were like and how they’ve changes. But looking back can also be really difficult and emotional.


My parents were born into families that had just immigrated to America with just about the shirts on their backs. They grew up during the Great Depression and their childhood was scarred by lack of money, food, clothing. To say the least, this left deep wounds on my parents.


I was sitting inside our screened-in pool with my dad, enjoying the warm Florida sunshine. As he sipped on his cold beer, he started talking about his childhood, and how the idea of an individual house having a pool was something he never would have thought possible.


I will never forget that conversation.


Yes, a house with a pool was an idea that was far and away outside my dad’s experience or imagination. But something even more outrageous is the idea that people who were far away from God have been brought near.


The problem started by us being “far away.” It wasn’t that God somehow moved, got transferred and relocated to another state. No, we were the ones that moved. We were the ones who created this whole “far away” mess.


It wasn’t by accident that we went “far away.” We weren’t scammed or hacked. Our mapping software didn’t give us incorrect directions and we missed that left turn at Albuquerque. We made decision after decision to not just turn away from God one time, but to keep on racing away from him. Our “far away” was not only a one-time choice, but our repetitive choosing.


This “far away” problem could only be fixed by being “brought near.” Moving the “far away” only a little bit wouldn’t really help. We’d just keep living, making more and more “far away” kind of choices.


No, we needed to be transformed from “far away” to “brought near.” We need more than just a new haircut or a few pieces of sod to fill in the gaps. We needed to be “brought near.”


This “brought near” wasn’t something that might happen in the future. This “brought near” wasn’t a hope so. This “brought near” wasn’t dependent on good luck, good karma, or doing a bunch of things on some checklist. So, how was this “brought near” accomplished?


Our “far away” problem was so huge that only God could solve it. It was God who stepped in and paid the price. It took God to not just do something about our “far away” problem, but to fix it once and for all. His radical solution wasn’t to put a burden on us, but to take the burden total on himself.


And what was the cost? It was the blood of Christ. Jesus himself is the peace between us and God.


Where were we when this was all taking place? Were we on the sidelines, cheering him on? Rooting for him to take away our “far away” and replace it with an eternal “brought near?”


In a word, No. We were a long, long, ways off. We were his enemies. We were fighting against him. We were on the side of the enemy.


God didn’t wait for us to come to our senses. He didn’t require us to meet him half-way. He didn’t make us spill any of our own blood, to contribute to what Jesus did.


No. He did it all. He paid it all. He did all the reaching. All the suffering. All the dying. All the paying. All the peacemaking. And why?


Because he loves us. He wants nothing but the best for us, and that required him to come down and die for us. The high price was for Jesus to be crucified. To die the death we deserved but could never pay. He gave up his life. He gave up his blood.


He did all this so we could move from “far away” to “brought near.” Isn’t that a place you’d like to be? To be “brought near” to the God who loves you. To be made his child for both today and all eternity. Sounds exactly what we want. What we need. Filling that deep, deep hole in our soul.


Noodling Questions


  • Describe how near God has brought you in Jesus.

  • What moves your feelings about how near God has brought you?

  • What do you do when you feelings about being brought near change?

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Bible references are from the New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. [2] https://youtu.be/iXDnFYu91vY?t=20

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