“I have loved you with an everlasting love” makes a nice wall plaque – especially meaningful when the author is God.
In Jeremiah 31:3 God is speaking to the Jewish people. And His love for Israel is not a new concept to Bible students.
In the Torah God states to the Hebrew people, “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you. . . .”[ii]
But God does more than proclaim His love. He continues, “and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers.” This is followed by, “the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”[iii]
It is out of His heart full of love that God acts.
This is not “new news” to Christians. The most-quoted verse of Scripture begins “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. . . .”[iv]
Gentile believers in Jesus have reason to revel in the love God has extended to us. As Paul notes, Gentiles who place their trust in Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, as their personal Savior can count Abraham as their spiritual father by faith.[v]
Perhaps Paul had insight into what the ensuing centuries would bring. He admonishes Gentile believers (the “wild olive branches” of Romans 11) not to boast against the Jewish “natural branches.” There is no place for arrogance in the family of faith.
Life in Messiah’s fourth Value Statement is also our Mission Statement: “Sharing God’s heart for the Jewish people.” Romans 9-11 is a great place to see what that should look like.
Paul begins by sharing his own deep grief over the spiritual plight of his kinsmen. His sorrow is grounded in the fact that what God intended as a relationship based on faith (as was Abraham’s[vi]) has been replaced by a religion of works-righteousness and rule-keeping.
In contrast to what many Christians have taught over the centuries, “God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.”[vii] Israel’s spiritual blindness is both partial and temporary. A glorious spiritual restoration is promised to the Jewish people.[viii]
From God’s perspective, even enemies of the gospel remain “beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.”[ix]
This is an echo of God’s promise back in Jeremiah 31:31 and following. A new covenant will be written on the hearts of God’s people (specified as “the house of Israel and the house of Judah”). Sins will be fully forgiven.
The people of Israel are as enduring as are the promises of their God. The fixed order of the heavenly bodies will cease before God forgets His covenant with Jacob’s offspring.
Our mission at Life in Messiah is two-fold as we share God’s heart of love.
We speak to the Church, reminding Christians of God’s steadfast loyal love for the Jewish people. We tell of the spiritual debt we owe them. And we point to the biblical priority in evangelism: “first to the Jewish people.”
We seek to demonstrate God’s love to our Jewish friends in practical ways. We remind them of God’s promises of a Redeemer. We share the Scriptures that point to Messiah. And we show how the prophesies were fulfilled in Yeshua, Jesus of Nazareth.
Love: it’s more than what makes the world go ‘round. It is the motivator of a holy God to redeem sinful mankind.
If we are to fulfill the Great Commandment to “love the Lord with all your heart, mind and strength” we must love what He loves.
And if we are to “love your neighbor as yourself” we will seek the blessing and joy for others that comes from receiving God’s greatest gift of love: Yeshua.