Sunny Side of The Stream: Learning From Paul How to Love the Jewish People

"Saint Paul" by James Tissot, via Brooklyn Museum, cropped.

By Aliya Kuykendall Published on October 14, 2023

I’ve sadly recently seen Christians acting offended with Jews and verbally attacking them.

I am not even speaking of those who try to equivocate Hamas’ atrocities with the IDF’s response. As Dr. Michael Brown explained in a Facebook post:

While Israel is responding to the terrorists who perpetrated what many Jews consider their second Holocaust, I’ve seen on my X timeline Ben Shapiro being lambasted for stating beliefs that are typical of Jews who don’t believe Jesus is the Messiah, such as the belief that he’s not a prophet.

The woman who criticized Shapiro for disagreeing with Christian doctrine says in her bio that she’s a “Christian activist.” Is this hostility how we want Jews to experience Christians as they’re grieving?

Then there are those who post this video of Jews in Israel spitting on the ground in front of Christians carrying a large cross. They post this to stir up animosity among Christians towards Jews.

Paul Knew Well the Hostility of Jews to the Gospel, But He Loved Them

Paul the Apostle suffered intense persecution from Jews for preaching the Gospel. In Acts 14, for example, Jews came to Lystra to oppose Paul and they persuaded the people of Lystra to stone him until they thought he was dead.

19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.

Paul, however, after this incident, says this in Romans 11:28 about Jews:

Concerning the Good News, they are hostile for your sake; but concerning chosenness, they are loved on account of the fathers

They are loved. Another translation says they are “beloved.” Paul, who knows well the hostility of Jews towards the Gospel and, himself Jewish, was a persecutor who killed believers in Jesus before Jesus came to him, admits this hostility and still says Jews are beloved because of their lineage and chosenness before God.

Do you think Paul would be concerned if Jews spit on the ground in front of him? Do you think he would feel animosity towards his unbelieving Jewish brothers? He called them beloved after they had him stoned and left him for dead.

“Partnering With Satan” on Social Media

Christian Bible teacher Joel Richardson recently addressed this negative attitude of Christians towards Jews.

People right now on social media, you know they’re like, ‘Well, Israel, they’re enemies of the cross. They don’t support Christianity.’ Or you know they point to videos of some Orthodox Jews spitting at Christians on the ground or this type of thing. Look, we’re called to love our enemies, and yes, they’re not all supporters of the Gospel. But … there are times where it’s not about choosing teams. ‘Oh well I’m a Christian. You’re a Jew. You’re a Muslim.’ … This is an issue of being human. … And so this is a time that it’s so essential that the Jewish people feel the support of the Christian community. And unfortunately many in the Christian community are partnering — ideologically with their posts on social media — they are partnering with Satan.

“This is a critical moment right now that we do stand with Israel and let them know that they’re supported, they’re seen, they’re loved,” Richardson added.

The Heart of God

In this dark hour for Jews globally, let us be those who grieve with them and love them as God loves them. Paul said in Romans 9:3 that he would have given up his own salvation if it would allow Jews to be saved. And remember, they tried to get him killed! Who of us today loves Jews like this?

Dr. Michael Brown shared in a sermon he preached recently called “Sharing God’s Heart for Israel” that God told him He wanted him to pray for the salvation of Jews as though he were praying for his own child not to die, because this is the grief of God over the Jewish people. Paul exemplified the heart of God for his fellow Jews.

All Israel Will Be Saved

This is the hope Paul writes in Romans 11:

25 For I do not want you, brothers and sisters, to be ignorant of this mystery—lest you be wise in your own eyes that a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer shall come out of Zion.
He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
27 And this is My covenant with them,
when I take away their sins.”

28 Concerning the Good News, they are hostile for your sake; but concerning chosenness, they are loved on account of the fathers— 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 

I believe “all Israel will be saved” when Jesus returns. I believe those who are alive at that time will see their Messiah and know He has come to fulfill every prophetic promise they have been waiting for, and they will believe and be forgiven. But who knows how many lives will be lost before then? And who knows how many might turn to Jesus before then?

Let us be those who love the Jewish people. Let us pray and cry over them and with them and believe God for their salvation.

 

Aliya Kuykendall is a staff writer and proofreader for The Stream. You can follow Aliya on X @AliyaKuykendall and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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