A Spectacular Future

In his book Jesus the Messiah Donald Guthrie writes, “The Messiah did not come unannounced. A coming king must have at least one attendant. It is customary for oriental monarchs to have a special herald to make way for them, but why should this apply to God’s Messiah? Could not the heavens be suddenly opened and a heavenly voice announce to the world His mission? Such a method would have led men to think that His mission was designed to be spectacular. God chose otherwise; a human forerunner was selected. The herald’s task was an honoured one, and it would surely be expected that some notable person would be selected – yet God’s choice fell on one among the lowly. The herald was to be born of humble stock
In one sense the mission of Jesus was spectacular in that God had sent his Son to be the one who should redeem sinners from their sin, but the way in which that redemption was to be achieved would be anything but spectacular. At the end of Jesus’ ministry here on earth it is thought that only about 500 people believed in him as their Messiah. He was the greatest preacher this world has ever had, but the results of his ministry were not spectacular. Today we often hear of some who have gone to take evangelistic missions in Far Eastern countries through which thousands have come to faith in Christ. Those results are spectacular, and many tend to give financially where spectacular results are seen.

It would be wonderful if we saw the same results in Jewish evangelism – but we don’t. There are perhaps more Jews coming to faith now than ever before. Not as many as we would desire, yet every conversion is in a sense spectacular. We must recognise the importance of this difficult mission field. We need to be people of prayer and we need to give, because we cannot send workers without giving them the “tools” with which to do the work. Our team of dedicated missionaries – a team of “humble stock” (to use Guthrie’s words) – are faithful in their task. But, unlike Paul, who could have a ready-made audience in the synagogue, our missionaries cannot preach or teach in a synagogue. Their method of outreach is more through personal evangelism. But God will not let his word return to him void. It shall accomplish the task to which it has been sent. Some will come to faith in the Jewish Messiah. Greater is still to come. When God again fully opens the door of salvation to the Jewish people Paul tells us that the resultant blessing for the whole church will be “life from the dead” (Romans 11:15). What could be more spectacular than one raised from the dead! Are you willing to help us prepare the way and to share in this future spectacular event?

Rev Ian Morrison
Minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland and is at present the Irish Representative of the Lord’s Day Observance Society and a member of CWI’s Council of Management.
This article first appeared in the spring 2004 edition of the Herald

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