Why Jews Are Special People
I’ve heard that Jews are special and Christians must pray for Israel. Why are Jewish people in a different category than anyone else?
First off, if you’re in a Christian church, I’m hoping you’ve heard about one special Jew in particular—Jesus Christ, the Savior! This is the main reason Christians consider Jews unique; that particular ethnic group gave us the Son of God. As a result, God asks us to honor his heritage: Jerusalem and the Jewish people.
Unfortunately, it is true that Jews as a nation and as a religion (the two things are not the same) have not yet received their Messiah-Jesus, so this mandate from God seems odd. While Jews acknowledge him as a gifted teacher, rabbi, even a prophet, they refute the idea that he was and is the Messiah due to events surrounding Christ’s crucifixion. But more and more, the Lord Adonai is opening their eyes to the truth: Jesus came and fulfilled every prophecy foretold about himself; the promise of the coming King of Kings.
Thankfully, a contingent of the Jewish population has pulled away from traditional beliefs and embraced Christ. These unique people are called “Messianic Jews.” They sometimes say, “we are completed Jews.” My messianic Jewish friends have explained to me that this is because every Jew has a missing piece inside them. When they find Christ, they feel whole for the first time. In truth, it is the same for Gentiles. All people are born with a God-shaped hole designed to be filled by Jesus Christ, the lover of our souls.
Now to the nut of your question: Why are we Christians asked to respect a nation who reject the Savior? Because the same Bible that explains the painful rejection of Jesus by his own people also reveals the heart of God. Thousands of years ago, Abraham the first Jew, who had just been told that through him the nation of Israel would be born, heard God say this, “…and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3.) Later, after Moses led the nation of the Jews out of captivity, God made this same point again through the prophet Balaam as he stood prophesying over them, “…blessed is everyone who blesses you, and cursed is everyone who curses you (Numbers 24:9.) God asks us to bless the Jewish nation and the people in it, and so we must. When we do, we experience a return on that blessing. We reap what we sow, in other words (Galatians 6:7.) Naturally, when we curse them, we suffer as well. God still loves Jews for the sake of his Son, Jesus. In our quest to honor God as Christians, we must respect this mandate to also honor God’s special people.
Lastly, I cannot forget to mention the most important information on this subject—the vine-scriptures in Romans 11. Jesus the Jew is the vine of life, says the Bible, and anyone who believes in him is grafted into that vine; to turn a botanical phrase. It is a work of the Holy Spirit. Our spiritual DNA mixes with Christ’s shed-blood when we receive him as our Savior and Lord…and we then become inheritors of everything God promised the Jewish people! (They were given special blessings and promises because they are the nation of Christ’s heritage.) Through Jesus, we are part of the same Jewish vine. When we honor Jews, we honor Jesus Christ.
Psalm 122, written by the great King David, also teaches us how to view Jerusalem which is the holy site of the Jewish nation. David asks his readers to, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” He then declares the reward over those who do it: “May they prosper.”
On my desk in my office, I have a rubber ducky. It is the kind children float around in their bathtubs. My rubber ducky, however, is wearing a Jewish prayer shawl and yarmulke (circular, prayer beanie). He’s there, both to bring me joy (he’s adorable) and to remind me to pray for Jerusalem. I pat his head and bless Jerusalem in honor of my Savior and in service to my King.
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