Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Me. You. And the Temple of God

It is difficult to travel to Israel and immediately comprehend all that you have seen and to process all the thoughts, emotions, and stories while you are there. I dare say it is impossible. In fact, the fog is still rolling back from my mind, finally allowing for some reflection, even though it has been over a month since I was there. However, there is one thing that has been burning in my mind ever since I left and I hope I can brand it in you as well.
We traveled with CJF Ministries who not only provided a top of the line tour of the Holy Land, but taught us to evangelize to the Jewish people, equipped us in service, and educated us on the Jewish roots of Scripture and Jesus’ life. And let me tell you it opened my eyes to a side of Jesus I never knew.
After spending time and talking with the local Jewish people it dawned on me why God chose such incredible people. I have never seen a people so dedicated to keeping of the law, of preservation of their sacred texts, and passionate about their heritage—a truly zealous and proud people. OF COURSE the Lord would trust them with such a high task of writing and preserving his Word. It started to make sense. But here is the problem.
Most Jewish people deny Jesus as the Messiah despite his prophesied coming in Isaiah and various other parts of Scripture.
Just as the prophets and the apostles said, the Lord would turn temporally to the Gentiles to carry out his kingdom plan because of the hardened hearts of His chosen people. It would be us, the Gentiles to lovingly bring them back to the Father through Yeshua (Hebrew name of Jesus). It hit me the hardest when we approached the Western Wall, the closest public spot to where God’s presence once COMPLETELY DWELLED among his people. The temple was the most sacred spot in the world for Jewish people and they have so much reverence for it that they would pay any price, even there own lives to restore it. I mean this is a BIG deal to everyone in Israel, but there it stands…broken and torn down. It ripped my heart out to see how badly these Jewish people longed for God to return and dwell with them again. My heart cried, “If they only knew… If they only knew…” Know what you may ask?
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Wait a minute? God’s temple still exists? His spirit is still dwelling in us? You better believe it. When Jesus became that blameless man (lamb) and walked to his death on the cross (the altar), we identified in his death as a sacrifice for us, and he exchanged our sins for his righteousness so His Spirit could dwell in our hearts (The Temple of God) forever. How much Jesus must love us to choose little ol’ me and you to become his holy temple? What a privilege.
I walked into the Western Wall as a living temple, broken hearted as many were seeking the old and nullified one. Pride…? No. Brokenness and compassion. Do you see the need to pray, to beg, to ask God to gently bring back his chosen people. Can you see it is Jesus, Yeshua, that they are looking for, for the Spirit of God to dwell again? So what I ask of you and myself is simple, yet a faithful commitment. Let us pray daily for Israel and the Jewish people to come back to the Father who never stops loving his children, and maybe in the process we will be filled with the zeal that the Jewish people possess and be a generation of faithful and active love.
You can start by praying here. Psalm 83
Love you all.
-Zach Duke