So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”
This is the classic metaphysical error of the Jews regarding the Messiah; they hold an entirely too narrow view of the scope of the Messiah’s work, relegating Him merely to a political work in the interests of the historically and seemingly perpetually oppressed Israel as a singular nation. The disciples committed this error with their question in today’s text and modern day orthodox Jews commit the same error.
Otherwise, they would be Christians, or perhaps Messianic Jews – holding to the ceremonial feasts and ceremonies that commemorate Israel’s past while modifying or sometimes abstaining from the rituals that would assume the Messiah has not yet come.
Because there is still war surrounding Israel and because the Messiah is prophesied to bring peace, Jews struggle to believe that Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus) was the Messiah. This is a pitiful brand of peace compared to the universal and eternal peace we have in Jesus. Such a view fails to remember what God actually promised Abraham. Sure, it was first to create a great nation through Abraham, but the promise’s ultimate fulfillment over and over again was to bless more than Israel alone. In Genesis 12:3, it was to bless all the peoples of the earth. In Genesis 18:18, it was to bless all the nations of the earth. In Genesis 22:18, it was again for all nations. In Genesis 26:4 again it was for all nations. To restrict the Messiah’s work to the political interests of Israel alone is to miss the gospel.
The United States, as Israel’s greatest ally, has been blessed because we bless Israel. We are a unique nation founded upon a completely novel idea; the idea that we were born with our rights because God gave them to us. Because of our blessedness and because Christian thought shaped our nation’s founding, we as Americans can be susceptible to the same error: putting our patriotism over our gospel calling. Let freedom ring and let the gospel ring loudly, not only here, but to all nations just as was promised to Abraham and just as Jesus commissioned us in Matthew 28:18-20.
In what ways have you drastically underestimated the scope of Jesus’ work?
Pray: Pray for our nation, for our president, and for the international missions work of Highlands.