March 28, 2008 Volume 22, Number 01
Is it futile to hope for peace?
Terrorism is never far away, but niether is the Messiah
By Andrew Barron | Special to ChristianWeek
There is a Yiddish saying that goes, "If God lived on the earth, people would break out His windows." Maybe fighting is just part of who we are. Maybe that is why things are the way they are.
God defines peace as shalom, which means wholeness. Shalom includes love and harmonious living as well as tranquility. We don't see that kind of peace in Israel. Embattled with claims and counter-claims, the country is populated by frightened people pulled from every direction by religious fanatics. Terrorism is never far away, but then neither is the Messiah. He is giving peace, even today to those who choose Him.
What can meet Israel's most desperate need? The psalmist speaks for the entire nation of Israel, asking, "From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:1-2).
I'm always amazed and blessed to see how many Christians love Israel in such tangible ways. Then again, some people are uncomfortable about helping Israel, because doing so may seem to reflect views that they don't hold. Ultimately these helps are not the very best way to help Israel. That is not to say that such help goes unappreciated. But you can offer the very best help, the ultimate help, regardless of your political and theological views.
Right now we see a great spiritual hunger among Israelis. But the voice of the prophets is not often heard in the land of Israel today. Nor does the fervent faith of the psalmists soothe many troubled hearts there. But Jesus offers hope to calm the fearful soul. The gospel is the good news that ultimately overcomes uncertainty and the conflict that presses in on every side. That is why Jesus is the best help we can offer to Israel. The need is urgent and He is the only solution.
There is nothing political about sharing the gospel with Israel, yet the task is explosively controversial and all too often dismissed or even discouraged by some of the very people who most wish to help. I would never discourage those who wish to give other kinds of help if they wish.
Nor is it my place to persuade Christians who disagree with Israel politically to change their views. I only want followers of Jesus to really and truly understand and be motivated by the reality that He is the only lasting source of help for the inhabitants of this deeply troubled part of the world.
Our only hope for peace-Israel's and the Palestinians' only hope for peace-was born in the Middle East.
Jesus the Jewish Messiah brings peace and reconciliation between Arabs and Jews who trust in His name. One day He will establish a lasting peace that will echo around the world and reach into the hearts and lives of all who hear His voice. In the meantime, together we can be a part of bringing this hope to the hearts of those living in Israel right now.
Please pray and give and witness to the end that Jesus is made known in the Middle East. A disturbingly growing number of evangelical leaders seem willing to avoid this biblical command in the interest of better relations with Jewish leaders here and in Israel. Evangelicals must affirm the ongoing obligation to share the love of Jesus with all peoples, including the Jews.
Andrew Barron is the director of Jews for Jesus Canada. He has been a missionary to the Jewish people for 25 years.