While visiting the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall in Northern England, I reflected on the fact that this may be the most remembered achievement of the Roman emperor who came to power in ad 117. As many as 18,000 Roman soldiers manned this 80-mile-long barrier, built to keep the northern barbarians from invading the south.
Hadrian is remembered for building a physical wall to keep people out. In contrast, Jesus Christ is remembered for tearing down a spiritual wall to let people in.
When the early church experienced tension between believers of Jewish and non-Jewish birth, Paul told them that, through Christ, they stood equally in the family of God. “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation . . . so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace . . . . For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:14-15,18).
One of the most beautiful aspects of the Christian faith is the unity among those who follow Jesus. Through His death on the cross, Christ has removed the barriers that so often separate people and has drawn us together in true friendship and love.