Yesterday, the eyes of the world focused on Berlin as Germany celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. As one writer described the event,
“Thousands of cheering Germans re-enacted the electrifying moment the Berlin Wall came crashing down — toppling 1,000 graffiti-adorned 8-foot-tall dominoes that tumbled along the route of the now vanished Cold War icon, celebrating 20 years of freedom from separation and fear.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel — the first east German to hold the job — called the fall of the wall an “epic” moment in history. “For me, it was one of the happiest moments of my life,” Merkel said.
Within hours of a confused announcement on Nov. 9, 1989, that East Germany was lifting travel restrictions, hundreds of people streamed into the enclave that was West Berlin, marking a pivotal moment in the collapse of communism in Europe.
20 years ago, the Berlin Wall fell and freedom and unity were now possible.
Almost 2,000 years ago, an even more significant barrier was torn down. It was the wall that divided God and men and women. Through his death on the cross, Jesus Christ removed the barrier that existed because of sin. By dying for our sins, Jesus made it possible for us to experience peace with God. Sin could be forgiven. Those who were once God’s enemies could be reconciled.
As the apostle Paul explains in his letter to the church in Ephesus,
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility (Ephesians 2:14-16).
When the Berlin wall was torn down, East Berliners and West Berliners could be united as “Berliners.” When the wall of sin was torn down, men and women could become members of the family of God.