Welcome back, friends! Pull up a chair and settle in at the virtual study table. This is Day 2 of a 3-day series in which we are considering how we as Christians should rightly relate to our Jewish roots. If you missed yesterday’s discussion, take a glance at it. (It is a short 60-second read, so go ahead. We’ll wait for you!)
Now that we’re all on the same page, take a look at Genesis 12:3:
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.
Did you catch that last phrase? “And in you [Israel] all the families of the earth will be blessed.” You see, God’s desire, as He called Abraham, was to create a vehicle of world redemption. God’s mandate for the Jewish people is to be a blessing to the entire world! We could spend considerable time discussing ways in which Israel has blessed the world, but there would be little argument that perhaps the greatest blessing was providing the world with the Messiah! Think of it: we would all be destined for hell if not for Jesus the Messiah. Indeed, the Jewish people are God’s vehicle of world redemption!
However, there is another mandate in Scripture that is equally important, and it is found in Romans 11. The entire chapter is rich in wisdom and instruction for us Gentiles, but pay particular attention to verses 11-15:
I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
Paul’s deepest desire was to see his fellow countrymen come to faith in Jesus the Messiah. Thus, he instructs us Gentiles (and believing Jews) to move his fellow Jews to jealousy. Cause them to want what we have…their Messiah!
If Jews and Christians are to rightly relate, it is important that Christians acknowledge the Jewishness of Jesus, that the Jews understand they have been created to bless the world, and we all must embrace the fact that, as the Jews have blessed us with the Redeemer, we must urge them to accept their Redeemer as well. Like so many things in science, Jews and Christians must engage in a symbiotic (we need them, they need us) relationship! In fact, the Bible teaches that, ultimately, after all Israel is saved (Romans 11:26), there will be no distinction between Christians and Jews. (Romans 10:12) We will simply all worship Jesus as Savior and Redeemer!
Please pray that Jews and Christians alike will continually grow in understanding that relationship. God has designed us to need one another, and it is the responsibility of each of us to study and to know how we are to rightly relate! Let’s press on in that pursuit!
Tomorrow we’re going to get really practical as we close this series with a bang! So I hope to see you back at the virtual study table!