December 22: Deliverer, The Christ of Christmas

Read Romans 11:1-36

“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.”

Jesus was Jewish, in every sense of the word. If you take a look at the genealogies of his mother and earthly father, you will discover that they traced their lineage back to “the Jewish fathers:” Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (See Matt. 1 and Lk. 3.) His place of birth was very Jewish, a small town in a portion of the Promised Land that had been given to the tribe of Judah (Mic. 5:2). As a child, He did everything that was expected of Jewish boys (Lk. 2.) Ninety-nine percent of His ministry was to and among Jewish people. (See Mt. 15.) Jesus was Jewish.

The early church was also Jewish. Born in Jerusalem, the church of 3,000 on the day of Pentecost was comprised of Jews. (See Acts 2.) Peter could scarcely wrap his mind around the idea of anyone but Jews being part of the church. (See Acts 10.) Paul’s ministry focused on “the Jew first” (Romans 1). The nation of Israel, you see, provided the roots for the church.

In spite of those positive factors, we discover that many Jews . . . even a majority of them . . . rejected Christ. John tells us, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (Jn. 1:11). The apostle Paul addresses that issue in Romans 9-11. Although he had an incredible passion for the covenant people of God, Paul responds here to the observation that not many of them turn to Christ. Had God rejected His people? By no means! He is faithful to His promise to the nation of Israel! But during this time when the descendants of Israel by and large reject Him, Gentiles are more responsive. We have been grafted into a tree that has Jewish roots.

Don’t be arrogant about your position in Christ. It is only His grace. Don’t be critical about His people who currently reject Him. The day will come when they will recognize their Deliverer. Zechariah says “they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him” (Zech. 12:10).

Be grateful today for the Jewish roots of your faith . . . and anticipate the Deliverer of the Jews!

sbk

 

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