First a word from our Sponsor. From Genesis 12:
1Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
This is the biblical context for those of us who love Israel: it is something that our Creator wants us to do, to bless the seed of Abraham. Which is to say, the Jews.
Christianity Today has an editorial, “What it means to love Israel,” that should be read, and taken to heart, by every Christian, regardless of confession. It also wouldn’t hurt if Jews read it as well, because it captures what it means to be Christian and love Israel, and should give some comfort to those Jews who mistrust any Christian.
I speak with some credentials here, as I was born Jewish and had to dodge rocks tossed by “good” Catholics, especially around Holy Week. So, regardless of my acceptance of Jesus Christ as my savior, I know that many of my fellow Jews have severe trust issues with Christians.
It does little good to tell Jews that almost two thousand years of persecution was not at the hands of true Christians. If you’re on the wrong end of the spear, this is a distinction without a difference when it is a self-proclaimed Christian on the other end.
I’ve come to realize that, at least today, serious Christians love Israel, and know that the Jews have always had a special place in God’s salvation history. A place which was not denied them with the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus. In different words, God keeps His promises.
The editorial at CT provides some background and some very good advice on this score:
…we cannot read the New Testament without seeing that the Jews continue to have a place in God’s economy. Gentile Christians do not replace the Jews, but are joint heirs and wild branches grafted onto the Jewish olive tree. God’s ultimate purpose in saving Gentile Christians is to save the Jews (Rom. 11).
As to why worry about Jews or Israel, CT reminds us of the “fundamentally Jewish character of God’s revelation in Jesus.”
Jesus the man was a Jew. Jesus the son of God was the author of the promises made to the Jews. That the ruling classes of the Jews of first century Palestine rejected Jesus is merely par for the course. As our Lord has told us, his kingdom is not of this world, and, when he returns, he will judge all of us — Jew and Gentile alike.
In the meantime, again quoting from CT “without an awareness of Christianity’s Jewish roots, believers will misunderstand its fundamental themes of creation, redemption, sacrifice, and restoration.” Which is something that makes eminent good sense.