Summary: Let us reach out to those who are pushed aside like the Jews have been, those who are marginalized because of their race or religion or other prejudice. We should not fear that which we do not understand but rather we should seek to understand that which we fear.
Open eyes and an open heart
This week I helped my Mom with her citizenship. My Mother is an American citizen and proud of it. But here in Canada she is a landed immigrant and the last time she went through the border at Canada she was reminded that her landed immigrant card was out of date.
Well let me tell you it was no small order to help her file for a new landed immigrant card over the computer. We had to fill out several forms and provide numerous documents to show that she had been both an American citizen and a Canadian landed immigrant.
In today’s scripture lesson Matthew 25:31-46 we see that one day in the near future Jesus will rightly be sitting upon His throne and call the nations of our world to Him. We see that Jesus will then separate the people from their nations. It will be time to determine their citizenship. Jesus will be making just two groups of people then and they won’t be Americans or Canadians they will be the sheep and the goats.
I have been talking about membership as of late and with membership we give you a piece of paper that shows you are distinctly a member of this church. But a piece of paper such as that will do you no good on judgment day unless you have taken in the message of Jesus to you heart and your head.
Jesus is the ruler first as King of the Jews upon this earth. As such they are His royal subjects separate and distinct from every other nation. They are dear to Jesus for they comprise the citizens of the Holy City Jerusalem.
It then becomes very important to all of us those who are of the Gentile nations how we treat the Jewish people. To elaborate on this point Jesus puts Himself in their place. The place of the hungry Jew and the thirsty Jew, the Jew who is cast out as a stranger. The Jew who is made naked and a prisoner. All references are to those in need or peril.
You say but Pastor Israel is a garden today and a paradise in the desert. Yes that is a fact and a fulfilled prophecy. But a time is coming called the Time of Jacobs trouble or the Tribulation period when the Jews will once again become the scourge of the worlds nations.
It is for such a time as this that this warning is being made. We have watched since May 14, 1948 the birth and re-birth of Israel. But there are forces in this world and forces in the unseen world that would still war against her and see her made desolate in our time.
Today we call that saber rattling and war mongering. We live in very tumultuous times. Great and cataclysmic events seem to erupt all around us and we seem surprised.
But these things were spoken of long ago by the prophets and by Jesus himself.
In fact the whole of Matthew chapter 24 is a call to be ready. Jesus is going to great lengths to be descriptive and specific about what is to come upon the earth before His second coming.
My friend do you have your citizenship papers in order? Have they fallen out of date has the ink faded, can your name be clearly seen detailing the date you were born again?
A time is coming when we will have to take a stand of Jesus Christ even here in Canada. We are not a religious nation in Canada we are a secular society awash in multiculturalism. The fact that we are multicultural is a good thing. It’s not unlike the day of Pentecost when the nations of the world would gather in Jerusalem. At that time God set a Holy fire in his people and they spoke in tongues professing the gospel in every language of the times.
We have such an opportunity here in Canada through our sister churches that worship in other languages across Canada. The fire of Pentecost still burns in the Presbyterian church. But what of the Jew? How do we consider them in these times?
Their politics is complicated with the Palestinian issue and their geographic position is tenuous with Islamic nations on every side. Will we chose to stand with Israel and see that that she is fed and clothed and given shelter and water or will be turn away when she is most vulnerable?
You can read for yourself how Jesus weighs the matter. If we reach out in compassion and love to Israel and the Jewish people we will be counted with His sheep. I know Israel is far away and we do not encounter many Jewish people in Chatham – Kent. So let us practice on those who are not.