Posts Tagged ‘Romans’

To Jerusalem with Jesus

sheep-market-outside-herod-s-gateWe all have to go to Jerusalem with Jesus even though we know it means death. With Thomas, we all can say, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (John 11:16). This is the king’s path through the Gospels on the way to Revelation by way of the Epistles. And as dark as that third Passover is, there is purpose in it. Well, purposes really. Of course, without the crucifixion we have no salvation. No question there. If Jesus didn’t take our sin to the cross and the grave and rise victorious over them, we’d be most to be pitied. But something else happened in Holy Week that made kingdom expansion possible.

Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” – John 19:14-15

While the crowd’s response to Pilate’s taunting is shocking, it wasn’t unprecedented or unanticipated by God. Israel had previously leaned on their oppressors rather than on God.

In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. – Isaiah 10:20-22

When the crowd rejected Jesus as their king they didn’t claim independence, they claimed Caesar. It was the Romans who were oppressing them and it was the Romans whom they were trusting in. According to what God said through Isaiah then, this crowd wasn’t the remnant that would return. Furthermore, God’s promise to Abraham was that his offspring would be as numerous as sand and Isaiah is saying that even though the number of Israelites was like that, it was only a small portion who would actually return.

So how would God’s promise to Abraham be fulfilled if the majority of Israel has rejected Jesus? Paul asks that question himself in Romans 9:6-7, “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring.” Okay, so the promise didn’t fail because of Israel’s failure, but how then was it fulfilled? Paul answers that question in Galatians 3:29,”If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

This is why we all go to Jerusalem with Jesus even if we’re not Jews. Among the Jews a remnant was saved and the Gentiles were brought in to fill up Israel. That’s what the illustration of the olive tree having wild branches grafted in means in Romans 11. When Paul say “a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved.”

In the end, we don’t get to enter earthly Jerusalem triumphantly. Jesus did and then was taken out and nailed to a tree. We’re brought in not to earthly Jerusalem but the Jerusalem that is above. (Galatians 4:26) That Jerusalem is the bride of Christ (cf Revelation 21:9 and 10). Until that Jerusalem comes down from heaven, we go with Jesus to earthly Jerusalem to die and be glorified.