When the Gospel Comes Back Home

Jesus left that place and went to his hometown. His disciples followed him. When the day of rest—a holy day came, he began to teach in the synagogue. He amazed many who heard him. They asked, “Where did this man get these ideas? Who gave him this kind of wisdom and the ability to do such great miracles? Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” So they took offense at him.

But Jesus told them, “The only place a prophet isn’t honored is in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own house.” He couldn’t work any miracles there except to lay his hands on a few sick people and cure them. Their unbelief amazed him. – Mark 6:1-6

Red and Black Insect on White Flowers | Austin, Texas | October 2020

I receive a weekly email from Caspari, an evangelical resource and education center for training, discipleship, and academic research and study. Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians work together to strengthen and support the movement of Jewish believers in Jesus in Israel.

Each week they send a brief summary of articles of interest to Christians who see the deep roots of Judaism in the Christian faith, and want to share the Good News of Jesus with Jewish people in Israel. This week they reported on four articles about missionary activities. Each of them highlighted opposition to such activity.

[You may see the summaries below this post.]

Somehow, since the death and resurrection of Jesus, his message of grace and truth has gone around the world. People call Jesus Lord on every continent of the earth. The message of his salvation is confessed by people from every tribe, language, ethnic group, and race.

That which started from Jerusalem has spread to the uttermost parts of the earth! (cf. Acts 1:8) When Diane and I prepared for our mission trip to China we read a book about the spread and growth of the faith all around the world…all the way “Back to Jerusalem.”

The message of Jesus has gone from east to west and it is now the hope of Chinese believers that they will carry the message through Asia all the way to Jerusalem. They look for the day when Jesus will be acknowledged to be Messiah by many Jewish people. After all, Jesus was a Jew.

Jesus’ homegrown credentials are of no value to the people of his home town. They will have nothing of his message. They reject his claim to be the Son of God, the embodiment of the Reign and Rule of God, the Messiah. So sad.

In the economy of God, and according to his plan for the salvation of all people, the message had to move out of Jerusalem, out of Capernaum, out of Galilee. It had to go to other peoples, tribes, nations, and lands. And so it has. Jesus would do no miracle there. He would leave his home town and go to other villages, preaching the reign and rule of God.

It is never God’s hope that any people would be lost. And so the message continues to be shared by those who believe in him and look forward to the day when people from every nation, from “all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9-10)

Summaries from the Caspari Media Review email (October 11, 2020)

The first article reported that missionary materials were distributed in the Haredi neighborhood of Kiryat Sanz. Yad L’Achim received many complaints, and some offered to join Yad L’Achim as volunteers in response to the missionary activity.

The second article recounted the story of Australian missionary Andrew Lewis, who was forced to leave his home in the south of Israel after protests were held there against him. Lewis was fined after being caught putting up missionary posters in playgrounds via his children. The article said that Lewis writes, prints, and distributes his own missionary materials. Nine years ago, he sent booklets to over one million Israeli homes, as well as New Testaments to every Knesset member.

The third article reported an old story about a bus driver who had been filmed preaching to his passengers and had been fired from his job.

The fourth article was about Michael Beener, who is said to run a missionary center in Sderot. Beener was accused of exploiting the security situation in order to appeal to Christians abroad for donations. Beener has reportedly taken groups of Jewish immigrants on trips around the country, and some have been baptized in the Jordan River.

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