By Brooke Holt
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Is there anyone in your life you find difficult to love? Is there someone you simply cannot forgive or ask God to bless? If so, you can understand the nation of Israel’s view of the Gentiles. The Jews and Gentiles had conflicts that lasted for thousands of years. Mind you, animosity was on both sides. Just imagine how these Jewish people felt when they heard that Jesus came to save the Jews and the Gentiles. It seemed preposterous!
For so many years, the Jewish people enjoyed being God’s chosen people. As God’s people, they were set apart from the other nations – set apart for favor, love, and the blessings of the Lord. Where the nation of Israel took on a posture of pride and judgement through this special call of the Lord, they missed the plan God had for them. As his chosen people, set apart from the nations, God intended the people of Israel to live differently. He wanted them to shine with his holy light so all could see his glory and come to believe in him.
In the person of Jesus, these Gentiles would see the glory of God and be drawn to it. Unlike the Jews, Jesus was not afraid to go into Gentile territory, to heal their sick, and to speak words of life and hope. Jesus invited all to see, hear, and receive the good news that he was bringing. That God loved the whole world and was inviting them into relationship with him was a shocking revelation to the Jewish people.
Jesus came as the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for the world and the invitation to live in relationship with him. This invitation is for all! The call on the Jews is now the call upon you. You are set apart in Christ and commissioned to shine his glory into this world, even to those you struggle to love.
Ask the Lord to search your heart today, to cleanse you of unforgiveness, bitterness, or hard-heartedness. Then open yourself to see people the way the Lord does – broken and desperately in need of a Savior. Be the light shining in their darkness and share the way to that Savior. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Resurrected Life: Making All Things New - The Bible promises that those who are in Christ are "new creatures." But how does that transformation take place? This unique Easter-season small group Bible study provides a space in which we can discover what it truly means to live a new life. As we listen, we'll learn how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything - for us. Begin the journey to new life today!
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