In 1989, after nearly 20 years of separation, the people of East Berlin and West Berlin were united as one, once again. The city had been separated for nearly two decades, the East being controlled by The Soviet Union and the West being aligned with NATO. Constant struggle and tension occurred over those years, with many escaping from East Germany and seeking asylum in the West. The United States was very vocal in their disapproval of the wall that separated a once united people. One of the most popular sound bytes ever is of President Ronald Reagan proclaim “Mr. Gorbachev - tear down this wall.” in support of the eradication of the wall. And after years of constant tensions and threats of war, East Germany finally allowed its citizens to travel freely across the border. This was an amazing event, not only for the people of Germany, but for people all over the world. It was an end of an era, sure there was still communism and the USSR did not disband for another two years, but people could see that there was unity on the horizon.
See the Berlin wall was a physical barrier that separated people, many of us have never experienced something like that, but every day we experience walls that we have built up around us. Walls of racism, walls of social status hierarchy, walls of hates, walls of denominations, and walls of education. See it doesn’t take a sociologist to understand that everyone does this. No matter how tolerant or open you think you are, I guarantee that there is something in your life that you have built a wall around. A certain people group, a certain neighborhood, or a certain church. But if we are to be followers of Christ we must tear down these walls. That’s what Jesus did when He was on Earth, He tore down walls of social status, of race, of gender discrimination. Jesus came in like a wrecking ball.
In Luke 10, Jesus eradicated almost every wall that people in His culture had set up.(If you haven’t read Luke 10, I highly recommend it at this point.) Starting in verse 25, Jesus basically ruins every excuse for people who built walls to separate themselves from others. This passage of scripture opens with a man who was an expert in religious law, imagine the ego he had, asking Jesus a trick question. He asked “Teacher, how do I inherit eternal life?” Jesus answers his question with another question “What does the law of Moses say?” The Law of Moses can basically be summer up into two statements: Love the Lord with everything you are, and love your neighbor has yourself. The expert already knew this, so he questioned Jesus further. He asked “So who is my neighbor?” The man was basically trying to get Jesus to say that a certain people group were his neighbors, so that he could ignore loving everyone else. Jesus is too smart for that, He tells a story that eludes to the fact that whoever is in need of our love is our neighbor. It is not a certain person, or group, or in a certain area, but everyone.
This was mind blowing to the people of Jesus’ day. The fact that they had to help people of other races or religions was completely contradictory to what they had been doing their whole lives. And to take it a step further, Jesus went to a dinner party at two sisters’ house.This in and of its self does not seem that crazy or mind blowing. What is mind blowing is that He allows one of the sisters, Mary, to sit at His feet. To understand the significance you have to understand a little something about ancient Jewish culture. Jesus was considered to be a Rabbi, that is why the man earlier addressed him as “teacher,” and to “sit at someones feet” was an expression used to mean that you were learning from that person. But heres the problem, women weren’t allowed to learn the rabbinical teachings, it was reserved for men.
Jesus on the other hand didn’t care about these barriers and restrictions that people had put into place. He came that all might be saved. He came to tear down the walls that we have built up! Walls that separate us from truly living the way that He intended. That stop us from loving those that He loved. He came to give life and life more abundantly not to just one people group or once economic group, but to all. So as you live your life, remember that Jesus came to tear down walls, not build them up. I know it is often hard to keep yourself from shutting others out, from closing the door on them but that is why we we need to be like Jesus. When we begin to fracture off and separate, less and less is accomplished. But when we come together and truly love like Jesus loved, that is when the world will see change.