“On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”
Acts 13:44-48 NKJV
Witnesses in Jerusalem
The Lord is working quietly in the hearts of those we do not know, and often in ways we cannot see. For the last two thousand years, the followers of Jesus have been principally gentiles. But the Lord has always maintained a ministry to His chosen people.
Reading Acts thirteen, I was reminded of the move of God to save the whole world. His plan was not simply to reach His chosen, but through them, He had a greater plan. Many Jews had rejected the message of the Gospel, leading to the light to be moved to the gentiles.
During the time of Jesus’ ministry, the greatest acts of faith were shown amongst those not of the household of God. These were those not counted as worthy, but who knew that they needed a Savior.
“Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.”
Luke 17:12-16 NKJV
Like the tenth leper, those who would receive the light in the future would come from Samaria and the ends of the earth.
As He prepared to ascend to the right hand of the Father, Jesus gave His disciples the sense of His great plan that went beyond Jerusalem, but encompassed the entire earth.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.””
Acts 1:8 NKJV
The Lord has used the gentiles to take the good news of the Gospel to the world over the last two thousand years, and soon the times of the gentiles will be fulfilled.
“And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Luke 21:24 NKJV
Through much trial and persecution, the Lord has shown His faithfulness to the children of Israel, for He has always maintained a remnant, for which His great promise to Abraham would be kept.
Even in the darkest time in history, when it seemed as if the promise of God would fail, the Lord was faithful, taking what the devil had meant for evil and using it to fulfill His grand plan.
Hitler desired to prove God a liar, for he knew from Scripture that the nation Israel would one day be reborn. As he sought to exterminate the Jews, instead stet the stage for a miracle: the rebirth of Israel.
“It shall come to pass in that day That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.”
Isaiah 11:11-12 NKJV
As we see the tide of these times indicating that the age is coming to an end, we are seeing the times of the gentiles being fulfilled. Even as I write this, there are servants of Most High God doing the work of evangelism to the Jewish people of the world.
I think of One for Israel, completed Jews preaching Jesus Christ, not only to the Jews, but also to the Arabs that surround them. There is a great work being done, as the Lord begins setting the stage for the great harvest.
Soon and very soon there will be a great number of those who will be dedicated to the Lamb.
“After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.””
Revelation 7:1-3 NKJV
The faithfulness that the Lord has shown to toward His people is a great encouragement to those who may feel as if they are far too separated from the Lord to ever come back.
Brothers and sisters, I know that there are many of us who have seen ourselves drawn away by other things, and enticed by the temptations of the world. For many of us, there was that time when we walked faithfully, but other things served as a wedge to separate us from fellowship with God.
But know this, my people, just as the Lord has not finished with the Jews, He is not finished with you. Make today the day that you seek anew after fellowship with God. One thing I know, is that it is not God that has moved away from us, but we who move away from Him.
The Lord is always waiting for us, calling to us to return. His faithfulness is not based on ours, but through His Helper we can have a renewed heart, and through His word we can regain the footing on the path to righteousness.
Our God is a forgiving God and He desires to restore us.
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah”
Psalms 32:1-5 NKJV
“Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.”
Psalms 51:1-2 NKJV
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3 thoughts on “Witnesses in Jerusalem”
Amen Bernie! This is a great reminder of our being grafted in to the true Vine which is a Christ Jesus. I love Psalm 32. Thank you so much for the challenge and encouragement my friend. God bless you. I am praying for you.
Thought of the study as I was reading the Bible right now. Thanks so much for your prayers. Would you please pray for Wes, from True Bible Baptist Church, open up their facility for GCR to meet with me 30th and June 6? Did you pray that they would do it for free, please? This is my desire, because of their proximity, developing a relationship, And their doctrine
“But now, thus says Yahweh, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. “For I am Yahweh your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. “Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life. “Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your seed from the east, And gather you from the west. “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons from afar And My daughters from the ends of the earth, Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.””
Isaiah 43:1-7 LSB