Saturday, May 26, 2018

The 70th Anniversary of the State of Israel

In April on the anniversary of the recommencement of the State of Israel the Jerusalem Post reported that ‘While Israeli Jews mark Independence Day with fireworks and barbecues, the flags that sprout everywhere in Jewish areas will be absent from Arab towns, and the thoughts of many there will turn to what they term the “Nakba” (catastrophe) that they associate with Israel’s birth. Part of a third of Israel’s Arab population is comprised of people (and their descendants) who became internally displaced from their villages and towns during the War of Independence.
Some Arab citizens will visit the sites of destroyed villages in the morning before joining in a symbolic “March of Return” in the afternoon. The fact that this year marks 70 years since those events makes it a particularly poignant occasion for introspection and taking stock.’

The same date and occasion produced two different reactions from two diverse groups of people. The same event affected both groups in completely different ways - gladness or grief, delight or dread, pleasure or pain.

Many events in history have produced diverse reactions, especially those that are related to events in the land of Israel. As regular readers of this blog will know one of my aims is to present to people the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, the gospel often produces the same diverse reaction as events did in Israel last week. The cross, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ while producing immense blessing for those who are prepared to repent and trust Him results in great depression and judgment for those who refuse to acknowledge what was done at Golgotha was for them.

This type of response to the gospel was expected. In 1st Corinthians chapter 1 the Apostle Paul records that 'the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness but to us which are saved it is the power of God'. The same man writing in Romans chapter 1 verse 16 states 'For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth'. The inference being in the latter passage that the God who has the power to save cannot do anything but condemn those who refuse to believe in Lord Jesus Christ.

The same message, which offers to all who are prepared to believe salvation, forgiveness and peace with God when a person refuses to repent results in the opposite. The message of salvation will ultimately be the evidence that God will use to condemn unbelieving individuals on the day of judgement. 

One other passage comes to mind in this respect - 2nd Corinthians chapter 2. At the end of that chapter, the writer is reflecting on the response that people have to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to those who preach the message. He says that to some people we, as God's messenger's, are a sweet savour of Christ. To some people that is the preachers are the fragrance or the smell of death (in other words the feel condemned by what they hear). To others, the fragrance is the fragrance of life, in other words, the gospel liberates them and brings them life through faith in Jesus Christ. 

I wonder which of these two responses to the gospel will be yours?

My prayer is that you might enjoy eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. But sadly the alternative could be that you face eternal judgment because you rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

The choice is yours – please choose wisely.


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