Hi gang! We’re diving to difficult depths today so I want to begin with a disclaimer. First, if you don’t know me, and don’t follow along regularly, you need to know that I absolutely love Israel and the Jewish people. By no means are they perfect, but they are God’s vehicle of world redemption and I am so very thankful for that. Furthermore, the roots of Christian faith are in Judaism. I would deny my own faith if I didn’t love and care for those Jewish roots.
So, do me a favor. Stick with me long enough to allow me to paint the entire picture. Some of what I’ll share is controversial. You may disagree if you wish, but consider for yourself the depths of God’s love for every one of us!
We owe an unimaginable debt of gratitude to the Jews. (See Repaying the Debt of Gratitude) Through the Jews, God gave us (among other things):
- The Messiah
- The Word of God
- Eternal Salvation
- The Death of Jesus
Wait a minute! Yes, I understand the Messiah, the Word of God, and salvation as gifts given through the Jews. But Jesus’ death? Consider this question: who killed Jesus? Yes, the popular answers are: “The Roman soldiers killed Jesus,” or “I killed Jesus because my sin put Him there.” You get credit for those answers because they have merit. However, who does the Bible say killed Jesus?
- “…this Man [Jesus]…you [Jews] nailed to a cross…and put Him to death.” (Acts 2:23)
- “…this Jesus whom you [house of Israel] crucified.” (Acts 2:36)
- “…you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and…put to death the Prince of life, the onewhom God raised from the dead…” (Acts 3:14-15)
- “…Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you [Israel] crucified…” (Acts 4:10)
- “…Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.” (Acts 5:30)
- “…the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become…” (Acts 7:52)
- “They [sons of Israel] also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.” (Acts 10:39)
The Apostle Peter, an eyewitness to it all…and a Jew himself…states over and over again in his sermons in Acts that the Jews killed Jesus. But before you pick up rocks with which to stone me, please read a portion of Peter’s sermon on the porches of Solomon’s Portico:
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all. “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.”
Notice the very first phrase: “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…” Peter was tying Jesus’ crucifixion back to the Abrahamic Covenant!
- The God of Abraham is the God of Covenant
- The God of Isaac is the God of sacrifice and atonement
- The God of Jacob is the God of transformation
We’re leading to transformation here, but we also have covenant and atonement! Go quickly to the final sentence of that passage: “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.” They did not know what they were doing…and neither did the rulers. Jesus, from the cross, stated:
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
Oh, but now it gets really good!
“Brothers—you sons of Abraham, and also you God-fearing Gentiles—this message of salvation has been sent to us! The people in Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize Jesus as the one the prophets had spoken about. Instead, they condemned him, and in doing this they fulfilled the prophets’ words that are read every Sabbath. They found no legal reason to execute him, but they asked Pilate to have him killed anyway. “When they had done all that the prophecies said about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead!
~Acts 13:26-30 (NLT)
Jesus died as an atonement for our sins, but God raised him from the dead…that’s transformation! However, the Jews did not recognize their Messiah. But, despite that fact, they fulfilled the very thing God wanted from them, the death of Jesus, in order that He might give the Resurrection! Atonement and transformation! And look who the gift went to: “…you sons of Abraham, and also you God-fearing Gentiles…!” The God of the covenant, the God of sacrifice and atonement, and the God of transformation used His people to accomplish His purpose: redemption of the entire world. Jews and Gentiles!
Indeed, through Abraham and his descendants, all the families of the earth will be blessed! (Genesis 12:3)
Who would think of that!?! Divine wisdom…amazing grace! There is no other way of salvation…what an incredible God!
Now, put down those stones!
PS: If you have missed previous portions of our study together, why not take time to reflect on them:
- Israel: God’s Vehicle to Redeem the World
- Israel: God’s Vehicle of Eternal Salvation
- We are Blessed because of God’s Birthing Call upon Israel
- A Second Call of God upon Israel: A Suffering Call
- A Third Call of God upon Israel: A Priestly Call