A Good Jew
When the Israeli cabinet caved in to the ultra-Orthodox Haredi party and suspended the Western Wall agreement that would have allowed men and women to pray together, the response from Jews around the world forced Netanyahu to freeze what is called the Conversion Bill for six months. He thought he had bought some time to resolve the standoff over Western Wall prayer when the fact that Israel’s Chief Rabbinate maintains a blacklist of 160 overseas rabbis, including 62 from the U.S. only intensified the conflict between Jews in the Diaspora and Jews in Israel.
Worldwide Jewry is in crisis over who is a fully recognized Jew and who is not. And as Paul gave his testimony to Jews in Jerusalem in the summer of AD 57 he too was facing this same debate over Jewish identity. As he faced a Jerusalem mob, he did everything he could to prove that he was still a good Jew, only a Jew who had actually seen the risen Messiah, a Jew named Jesus of Nazareth.
“Now Ananias, a devout keeper of the Jewish Law, well-known for his godliness by all the Jews living in Damascus, came and stood by me. ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight!’ And at that moment I was able to see him.
Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will and to see His Righteous One and to hear His voice from His mouth because you are to be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard. So now why the delay? Get up, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His Name.’” Acts 22:12-16
No one in Damascus would question the Jewishness and godliness of Ananias. That’s why God sent him to Paul to open his eyes. Whether or not our eyes are open all depends on whether or not we join Ananias in believing that Paul really did see God’s Son, the Righteous King, and the One who can actually wash our sins away.
LORD, protect the Messianic Jews in Israel who like the first century Paul and Ananias keep the Jewish Law and customs, but who believe that Jesus of Nazareth is their Messiah. Help us to work together to join Paul in witnessing to all men that Jesus is the only Savior who can justly forgive our sins.
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