“Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved.” – Romans 10:1 (NLT)
I love the book of Romans! The entire letter that Paul wrote is full of so much substance that it is impossible to read his words and not gain new wisdom and insight. Specifically though, I have found myself gravitating towards chapters 9-11 as of late. These three chapters revolve around Israel and the importance of the people of Israel in God’s storyline. And man, does it stir up a sense of urgency within me for the people of Israel!
There is this idea, this belief, that has been circling through the Church for a long time now, specifically the American Church. It is the idea that Israel is no longer relevant and that we, the American Church, are now the new “Israel.” To be honest, I think that this belief, this incorrect ideology, is the root of so many of the false teachings in our culture. In fact, this way of thinking is actually why the Bible was canonized in the form that we have it in today, all because one person started to twist the words of the Apostle Paul to fit a narrative that completely cut Israel out of the picture. But Scripture, both in the Old and New Testaments, make it very clear that God is anything but done with the People of Promise, His Chosen People of Old.
We will see in the next chapter Paul’s rebuke to the Gentiles on this topic, instructing them to not become arrogant and think that they are now the new Israel. We, the Gentiles, are merely a branch that was grafted into the tree, which means we can just as easily be grafted out of the picture.
Paul’s words should put us into a mindset of urgency for the people of Israel, for the time is very short. God is patient, and He longs to see His people saved. In fact, there are many prophecies in the Scriptures that predict this very event happening. But we, those to whom the Good News was brought to second, we must adopt the same mindset and heart that the Father has. We must realize the significance of Israel and that they are still the chosen people of God. Even Christ is an Israelite according to earthly standards (Romans 9:5). Christ was given to the Israelites first, and then He was presented to the Gentiles of the world. A people who were far from the Lord. And He was given to us so that jealousy would be aroused in the hearts of the Israelites, the people of the promise. God will be just as quick to welcome them back into the family of Believers if, and when, they turn their hearts back to Him and believe in Christ. As Paul says, “Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him” (Romans 10:12).
We are the same. Jews and Gentiles. Those who are in Christ. When we are in Christ, we become a whole new class of people.
So with this in mind, we should be driven to our knees in prayer for the people of Israel. We should be seeking the Lord’s heart for His people. And each of us should be seeking the Lord for what our role is in bringing the Good News to the people of Israel. For we have a responsibility, each of us who are Believers in Christ, to play a part in this.
“But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who bring good news!'” – Romans 10:14-15