A short reading and prayer for today
My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. Romans 9:2-3 NLT
These are amazing words. The apostle Paul was proud of his Jewish heritage, and was absolutely passionate that his Jewish brothers and sisters should share in the wonder of knowing Christ as their personal Saviour. But look at the language he used. He was willing to be cursed forever if it meant that the Jewish people could find salvation. This is incredibly strong language and shows very clearly that it meant everything to him. He knew that the Jewish people were in an incredibly privileged position. They had been chosen to be God’s adopted children. God had revealed his glory to them, made covenants with them and given them the law. They had Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as their ancestors and Christ himself was a Jew. They had every advantage and Paul couldn’t cope with the pain of seeing them reject Jesus.
I want to turn Paul’s words into a question to you and me. How desperate are we that our friends and family should find new life in Christ? It looks to me, much of the time, as if we have come to accept things the way they are. Of course, we would be delighted if other people came to believe in Jesus. We would be happy to encourage them to do so. But I rarely meet Paul’s level of passion that other people should become Christians. For Paul, the salvation of his Jewish brothers and sisters meant everything.
I believe that we need to pray that our churches should become far more passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus. Christians are a small minority in our society and that will never change unless we acquire some of Paul’s passionate longing for other people to follow Christ.
What do you learn from Paul’s burning desire to see his Jewish brothers and sisters follow Christ?
Loving Father, thank you that you have given me new life in Christ. May the wonder of knowing you give me a constantly deepening desire to see other people become Christians as well. Amen
Photo – Silver Birch