Pastor's Blog

Pastor's Note - October 12

Like you, I have followed some of the news, and have been horrified by the brutal images and videos coming out of Israel. Days ago, the terrorist group Hamas organized a surprise attack on Israel, intentionally killing, raping, and desecrating men, women, children, and infants. War is brutal as it is, and something that should grieve the hearts of all people. But the attack on non-combatants, who have no place or bearing in any conflict, is horrific. Such evil should be condemned universally. Sadly, it has not been, which is a troubling sign for our age, and some have even supported the violence (BLM and some ivy league student groups are revealing their own wickedness in their support for such evil). There will be no shortage of conversation and analysis in the midst of this initial brutality, Israel’s response, and the ongoing conflict. With that, we should readily admit there is a lot we won’t know, a lot of context we don’t have, and a lot we may disagree on. That is especially the case as the role of the ethnic/national Israel, particularly in its relationship to the church, is much debated amongst Bible-believing, Spirit-filled, Jesus-loving Christians. All that said, here are a few things I would readily affirm. First, we are Abraham’s children not by blood or ethnicity, but by faith. There are both Palestinians and Jews who are brothers and sisters in Christ, by virtue of faith. I would trust that all true Christians, Israeli and Palestinian, are grieved by this conflict. Second, this should cause us to long for the God’s kingdom to come in its fullness, which is far better than any kingdom of this earth. Third, we place our hope in the fact that God’s judgment will be perfect in the end. His vengeance on evil is greater than anything we could distribute. Lastly, Jesus was crucified in large part because He did not bring the kind of kingdom and conquering and retribution upon Israel’s enemies that people craved. The cross subverted all sorts of expectations. What are all the implications of the cross of Christ in this current conflict? I’m not sure – I’ll let you consider the question. But I do think it’s worth considering that our Lord was crucified by those who wanted political victory and power, and didn’t think they could find it in Jesus. Instead, Jesus was a man who laid down His life for His enemies. As our blood may boil and hearts may break, and as some may desire that ethnic Israelites show their supremacy and assert their kingdom, it may be worth remembering how and why our Lord and Savior was crucified. He died and was raised to be the King of a different kind of kingdom. And His crucifixion was an offense and a stumbling block. At the very least, I think it means our own response and prayers should be abnormal in a fallen and wicked world, and shaped by the cross of Christ. Certainly there’s more to say than this – and by those who are more knowledgeable than I am. What would you add to the discussion? More importantly, how should we pray?

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