Jews are in the news. President Trump has caused another spasm of international commotion by announcing his intent to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Most Arab leaders are outraged, seeing that move as another diminution of Palestinian Arabs’ path toward being recognized as an independent country. Other observers are intrigued. The “two-state” solution clearly hasn’t been making any progress whatsoever for the last several decades. Whatever happens, the drama over Jerusalem will never cease. I recently read Simon Sebag Montefiore’s marvelous history of the city—it has been coveted and fought over for millennia. It is the focal point of three great world religions, and the tensions over its identity will never cease.
It is Hanukkah all this week. Jews all over the world will be lighting their menorahs, spinning their dreidels, and eating lots of latkes, all to commemorate Judas Maccabeus’ liberation of the Jerusalem temple from Syrian defilement. Last week Iraq’s candidate in the Miss Universe Pageant, Sarah Idan, had to flee the country because of death threats. Her offense? She had dared to pose for social media selfies with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman.
Also this week a phone call requesting prayer came in to Time of Grace. Nothing unusual in that—we are blessed to provide prayer support for many thousands of callers each year. But this particular caller was suffering from terminal cancer and wanted Time of Grace to know how deeply touched she had been by last week’s message. And—she said she was an Orthodox Jew.
Now it was my turn to be deeply touched. How wonderful the miracle of electronic mass media that can fling the love and promises of our Savior Jesus so far and wide! How powerful the working of the Spirit through the Word! And how perfect that someone of Jewish ancestry should receive spiritual comfort from another Jew, Jesus Christ. What an immense debt of gratitude all Gentiles owe the children of Abraham for being God’s vehicle for this priceless gift. Jesus Christ is a Jew, born to a Jewish mother; furthermore, he is the legal stepson of Joseph, a son of the royal lineage of the great King David and all the kings of Judah.
St. Paul, a Hebrew of Hebrews, had huge respect for his Jewish heritage and an intense ache for his countrymen to come to faith in the Jewish Messiah. “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is
Our Savior was born a Jew, to a Jewish woman, in a Jewish town, cared for by a Jewish stepfather, adored by Jewish shepherds. But all the world is blessed by his presence and work on our behalf. Let all the world adore him.
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of several books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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