Prayer Topic No. 2
Praying for humility in the church concerning the Jewish people
Romans 11 contains the deepest truths and insights in all of the New Testament concerning Jewish-Christian relations. Paul talks about the relationship between the Jewish “remnant” and Jewish “All Israel”. He talks about the role of the global church to be an example of God’s mercies and love towards the Jewish people. He talks about first bringing the “fullness of the Gentiles” into the Kingdom before saving all Israel. And he talks about the danger of the church becoming arrogant against that part of the Jewish people which has not come to faith in Christ:
“... do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.’ Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either” (Rom. 11:18-21).
It is probably the greatest tragedy in church history that for centuries the church of Jesus, especially in Europe, did not heed this warning of the apostle Paul. The common teaching was that God had forever rejected the Jewish people – removing his love and callings from them because they had rejected Christ and the Gospel. Therefore, at various times in history, the Church rose up in arrogant pride against the Jewish people. They were cruelly persecuted and hundreds of thousands were killed, especially during medieval times. Without these massive expressions of Christian anti-Semitism in Church history, the Holocaust of World War II in Europe, which cost the lives of 6 million Jewish people, could not have happened.
For God, this is of deep concern. The church will not, indeed cannot, be the beautiful bride of Christ awaiting the return of her bridegroom, Jesus, unless she has repented, turned from her ways, and moved from a spirit of reproachful arrogance toward the Jewish people to a spirit of gratitude, humility and love towards them. May God give us grace to pray for exactly this to happen, and may He open our own hearts to receive that spirit of love by His great mercy according to Rom. 11:30ff.