Attack on Jews is attack on us

Published 9:41 pm Thursday, November 1, 2018

By Thurman Hayes

On Saturday morning, it happened again: We turned on the TV or clicked into the news and saw the words “mass shooting.” This is now happening with such rapidity in America that it is obvious something is very sick in our culture.

In this case, it was a Jewish synagogue, in Pittsburgh. Yet instead of coming together in grief, many pundits immediately tried to divide people by turning the tragedy into a political football. This is sad, and it misses the point. It is bad enough that these things keep happening. It is even worse when people use the misery of others as an opportunity to advance their own agenda.

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But there is another issue in this particular massacre, which you need to understand if you are a follower of Jesus, and it is this: An attack on Jewish people is an attack on you.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Russell Moore wrote this: “I will often hear Christians say, ‘Remember that Jesus was Jewish.’ That’s true enough, but the past tense makes it sound as though Jesus’ Jewishness were something he sloughed off at the resurrection. Jesus is alive now, enthroned in heaven. He is transfigured and glorified, yes, but He is still Jesus. This means he is still, and always will be, human. He is still, and will always be, the son of Mary. He is, and will always be, a Galilean. When Jesus appeared before Saul of Tarsus on the Road to Damascus, the resurrected Christ introduced himself as ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ (Acts 22:8). Jesus is Jewish, present tense.”

And that means if you hate Jewish people, then you hate Jesus. It’s as simple as that.

We Christians have been grafted into a story of redemption that began in the first book of the Bible. There, in Genesis 12:1-3, God promises Abraham that he is going to create a new people (the Jewish people) through him. God tells him, “I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

In other words, God promises to bless the whole world through Israel, through the Jewish people. How does He do that? By sending His Son, who was born into a Jewish family, in Bethlehem. Jesus was born in the city of David, and was descended through the line of David, as the promised Messiah of Israel, who would then bless the whole world.

Therefore, as Dr. Moore points out, “As Christians, we are, all of us, adopted into a Jewish family, into an Israelite story. We who were not a people have been grafted on, in Jesus, to the branch that is Israel (Romans 11:17-18).”

This is why Bible-believing Christians feel such a close connection to Israel, and to Jewish people. Our Lord and Savior is Jewish! He is the Messiah of Israel and Lord of the world. We have come to know Him as our Lord.

Therefore, an attack on Jewish people is an attack on Him, and an attack on us. Let us pray for the grieving families of Pittsburgh, and resolve to support Israel and Jewish people everywhere.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr. is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.