Nowhere in his article does Stearns make the slightest mention of Israel’s desperate need to know her Messiah. Nowhere does he tell Christians that their prayers for more Israelis to come to saving faith is an important part of Christian support for Israel.
Stearns directs an organization that stands side by side with a growing number of organizations that encourage Christians to support Israel, and instruct churches on how to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Yet there is an aching, gaping omission regarding the gospel of our Messiah Y’shua, and the need for the people of Israel to receive Him.
When it comes to Israel’s well-being, this glaring omission threatens to undermine all the good intentions and good deeds that characterize several Christian organizations.
Imagine if you had a terrible toothache and your dentist provided relief through painkillers, but did not address the decay in your mouth. You might be grateful for the relief, but eventually you would lose the tooth. That is not to say that pain management is unimportant, but unless the dentist is also prepared to drill and fill your tooth—or refer you to someone who will—in the long run, the temporary relief is no blessing.
How can Christians teach one another to pray for the peace of Jerusalem but fail to mention the Prince of Peace? Soothing words of comfort and kind acts are good as far as they go, but they cannot prevent the inevitable loss that every soul who dies without Jesus must face.
We recognize the validity of ministries whose main focus is not gospel proclamation, but those that ignore or, at times even contradict, the need for Jewish people to receive the gospel go against the clear teaching of the Scriptures.
How did Jesus pray for Jerusalem? He wept over the city and said “If you had known. . . the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes….How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings…” (Luke 19:41-42; 13:34). Jesus was so committed to peace for Jerusalem that he stretched out his arms and died upon a cross to purchase that peace with His own blood.
How did the apostle Paul pray for Israel? “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved…. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh” (Romans 10:1; 9:3).
The Scriptures should inform our support and prayer for Israel, and yet they do not factor into the plans or purposes of many organizations. Indeed, they are an embarrassment to some. For them, omitting any mention of Israel’s need for the gospel clearly is not an oversight; it is intentional. In describing the most recent and potentially powerful of these organizations, a group called Christians United For Israel (first reported on in the March edition of RealTime), this month’s Charisma magazine comments, “To engender the trust of the Jewish community, the organization is to be ‘non-conversionary’ in its approach to Jews…hoping Christians will not let theological concerns stop them from supporting the state of Israel.”
To Christians United For Israel I would like to say, here’s a news flash. Theological concerns absolutely must guide our support of Israel; otherwise that support will become unbiblical and unchristian. Who ever said that we can’t support Israel and also stand firm for the good news of Jesus Christ for Israel? Indeed, we must do nothing less.
As I write to you I am on my way to the memorial service for our dear friend Zola Levitt who went to be with the Lord on April 19. No one has done more to encourage Christians to stand with the Jewish people than Zola. He closed every one of his television programs, “Shaalu shalom Yerushalayim, pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Zola knew and believed that true peace would only come through the Prince of Peace, Jesus the Messiah. Every single time Zola had me on his television program he affirmed that truth. As much as he taught Christians to support Israel, he also taught them to share Jesus with their Jewish friends. I will miss Zola and his passionate defense of Israel, and I will miss his effective voice for the salvation of the Jewish people.
Now more than ever we need Christians to stand for the gospel going to Israel. There is openness to the gospel there, especially among Israel’s young people. You’ll get a sense of that if you read the report about our outreach at Boombamela, a new age festival in Israel, in this edition of RealTime.
Any Christian who wants to show the love of God for Israel needs to remember that the greatest way to say, “I love you,” is to tell of God’s love in Jesus. To withhold that message of love from the people of Israel is like never having said I love you at all.