Arrested For Hope
While we Americans worry about the sparring between North Korea and the U.S., tracing the trajectory of missiles flying across the Pacific and hitting San Francisco in half an hour, Israelis worry about Iranian missiles that could hit Tel Aviv in less than seven minutes.
After the Holocaust, a land of their own back in the territory of King David became the hope—a hope that drove millions of Jews back to the Holy Land. Today the need to protect this homeland drives Israel’s foreign policy, just as the need to protect our homeland drives Washington. But what about those who die daily in both Israel and the U.S.? What about the curse of death that threatens us all whether from hurricanes or missiles?
When Paul stood before the Jerusalem Sanhedrin, he focused the charge against him. There were no grounds for claiming he had generated a riot in the Temple or was breaking the Jewish traditions of his fathers. He was on trial for one thing—his hope in the resurrection (Acts 23:6). He repeats this hope before the Roman governor Felix (Acts 24:15, 21) and before Festus and King Agrippa. He keeps on asserting the resurrection, specifically that Jesus is the first to rise again in a glorified body and therefore able to deliver on His promise to all who will trust Him (Acts 26:23).
Two thousand years later this remains the major issue we need to be raising as we interact with others. If I genuinely believe that Jesus is the one man in history who conquered death and is the Messiah, then I must keep on sharing this wonderful fact with others. And the Apostle Paul continues to show me how to keep reaching others, including a Jewish audience.
“Now after three days he called together the prominent Jews in Rome. When they had gathered, he said to them, ‘Men, brethren, though I have done nothing against the people or the customs of our fathers, I was handed over into the hands of the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem. After examining me, they wanted to release me because they found nothing deserving death in the charges against me. But the Jews contradicted this assessment, and their opposition compelled me to appeal to Caesar—though I have no wish to bring any charges against my people. This is why I asked to see you and to speak with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I wear these chains.’
Then they said to him, ‘We have not received a letter about you from Judea, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you. But we would like to hear directly from you. We want to know what your views are on these matters for people everywhere are talking against this sect.” Acts 28:17-22
Even though Paul was a prisoner, confined to his own private quarters, he kept right on inviting folks to his residence and sharing from the Jewish Scriptures that the ultimate hope of Israel is not safety in their homeland for a lifetime, but victory over death and life that will last forever. And Jesus is the One who can deliver on this promise of life.
LORD, I thank you for raising up in Israel organizations like Hope for Israel that keep sharing that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah—a fact proven by His fulfillment of Isaiah 53. Thanks that Jesus’ promise of resurrection life is pouring hope into my heart today.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!