By David Zadok
It is always refreshing to read about Jewish missions by other Christians and particularly those of the Reformed persuasion. Unfortunately, nowadays they are rare. In Table Talk magazine’s November 2014 issue, published by Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul, the devotion for Nov 17 was titled – “Our Debt to the Jews.” The verses cited were from Romans 15:25-27 quoting “they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.” Paul, before going to Rome, had to make a stop in Jerusalem so that he could personally hand deliver to the church there the funds collected on their behalf. Paul made an appeal to the churches, including the one in Corinth, for the need of the brethren and the church in the city of God’s temple.
In the devotion, we read “…we see that he did not regard it as simply a way to meet the physical needs of the Jerusalem church. In addition to serving that important purpose, the collection was theologically significant as a demonstration of the unity of Jews and Gentiles in Christ. By contributing to the needs of the believers in Jerusalem, the Gentile Christians demonstrated their love and oneness with the Jewish Christians (Rom, 15:26-27).”
I think the point is well taken. While no doubt the collection was much needed to serve the Jerusalem church, there was another important aspect to that collection. It showed that in Christ not only are Jews and Gentiles one, with ethnic boundaries broken down but also that geographical boundaries are non-existent when it comes to the body of Christ. It is significant that on our day we can be sitting in the comfort of our own chair or sitting aboard a train (as I am now, going back to London from Swindon) and with a few clicks on our laptop, support a ministry in another part of the world.
Have you ever considered the fact that by supporting another ministry you are expressing your unity in Christ with others? The article in Table Talk concluded with these words: “As Gentile Christians, we owe a great debt to the old covenant community and the Jewish people. God chose them as the first recipients of his special revelation. He saves the world through a Messiah who is of Jewish ethnicity. Jewish apostles wrote the vast majority of the New Testament (Luke-Acts being the exception) and preached the gospel to the Gentiles. Let us not forget that debt, and let us seek to ‘repay’ it by supporting Christian ministry to the Jewish people.”
All I can add is Amen and Amen!