Summary: God’s dealings with Israel provide us with an object lesson about sin, repentance, and responsibility.
Will Israel Repent?
[Note: I only got halfway through this sermon in 1/2 hour; I ended up doing this in 2 parts; the "second part" is found in the next sermon in my "Jerusalem Jews for Jesus" series].
1. Have you ever wondered why Jews have such hesitations about Christianity? Partly because the Jewish people have suffered much at the hands of supposed Christians.
2. Here are just a few examples.
315: Constantine published the Edict of Milan which extended religious tolerance to Christians. Jews lost many rights with this edict. They were no longer permitted to live in Jerusalem, or to proselytize.
325: The Council of Nicea decided to separate the celebration of Easter from the Jewish Passover. They stated: "For it is unbecoming beyond measure that on this holiest of festivals we should follow the customs of the Jews. Henceforth let us have nothing in common with this odious people...We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews... "
337: Christian Emperor Constantius created a law which made the marriage of a Jewish man to a Christian punishable by death.
339: Converting to Judaism became a criminal offense.
379-395: Emperor Theodosius the Great permitted the destruction of synagogues if it served a religious purpose. Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire at this time.
380: The bishop of Milan was responsible for the burning of a synagogue; he referred to it as "an act pleasing to God."
415: The Bishop of Alexandria, St. Cyril, expelled the Jews from that Egyptian city.
415: St. Augustine wrote "The true image of the Hebrew is Judas Iscariot, who sells the Lord for silver. The Jew can never understand the Scriptures and forever will bear the guilt for the death of Jesus."
418: St. Jerome, who created the Vulgate translation of the Bible wrote of a synagogue: "If you call it a brothel, a den of vice, the Devil’s refuge, Satan’s fortress, a place to deprave the soul, an abyss of every conceivable disaster or whatever you will, you are still saying less than it deserves."
489 - 519: Christian mobs destroyed the synagogues in Antioch, Daphne (near Antioch) and Ravenna.
528: Emperor Justinian (527-564) passed the Justinian Code. It prohibited Jews from building synagogues, reading the Bible in Hebrew, assemble in public, celebrate Passover before Easter, and testify against Christians in court. 3
535: The "Synod of Claremont decreed that Jews could not hold public office or have authority over Christians." 3
538: The 3rd and 4th Councils of Orleans prohibited Jews from appearing in public during the Easter season. Canon XXX decreed that "From the Thursday before Easter for four days, Jews may not appear in the company of Christians."
613: Very serious persecution began in Spain. Jews were given the options of either leaving Spain or converting to Christianity. Jewish children over 6 years of age were taken from their parents and given a Christian education
722: Leo III outlawed Judaism. Jews were baptized against their will.
855: Jews were exiled from Italy
1096: The First Crusade was launched in this year. Although the prime goal of the crusades was to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims, Jews were a second target. 12,000 Jews in the Rhine Valley alone were killed in the first Crusade. This behavior continued for 8 additional crusades until the 9th in 1272.
1099: The Crusaders forced all of the Jews of Jerusalem into a central synagogue and set it on fire. Those who tried to escape were forced back into the burning building.
1179: Canon 24 of the Third Lateran Council stated: "Jews should be slaves to Christians and at the same time treated kindly due of humanitarian considerations." Canon 26 stated that "the testimony of Christians against Jews is to be preferred in all causes where they use their own witnesses against Christians." 7
It got worse later!
3. When you consider the history of supposed Christians and their relationship to the Jews, it is amazing that any Jews come to believe in Yeshua Jesus!
4. Jewish repentance and coming to faith in Jesus is the them of our text today.
5. After "Moshe" the beggar was healed, a large crowd gathered to hear Peter’s sermon.
Main Idea: God’s dealings with Israel provide us with an object lesson about sin, repentance, and responsibility.
I. Israel is Guilty of REJECTING Jesus (11-18)
A. The Focus is JESUS, not His servants (11-12)
Acts 10:25-26, "As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. ’Stand up,’ he said, ’I am only a man myself.’"
Then the angel said to me, "Write: ’Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ " And he added, "These are the true words of God."