- (By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
God's plan from the very beginning was to expand on Judaism. The Abrahamic covenant, the Law and Judaism were all part of "Level 1" so to speak. The new covenant, the Gospel and Christianity were all part of "Level 2." And of course the Messiah's eternal kingdom in heaven is "Level 3."
Christ started it with Creation, (see Colossians 1:15-17) and He will finish it on Judgment Day. (see Acts 10:42, Acts 17:31, 2 Cor. 5:10) And then only heaven and hell will remain. There is no third option in eternity.
Jesus of Nazareth, the Jewish carpenter, ascended from earth after His resurrection. He not only went up to that higher level of heaven, but He also took the meaning of "Jewish" to a whole new level as well.
The family of God expanded when Jesus came and fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. Now both Jews and Gentiles can belong to God's family. This happens today not by physical birth, but by spiritual birth through faith in Christ.
Here is the way it was stated by one of the most famous Jews of all time, none other than the apostle Paul himself: "A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God." (Romans 2:28,29)
Prior to Jesus, Judaism still needed the Messiah and the New Testament to make it complete. And then the ultimate Jew was born. Christ did what no other Jew had ever done before, or since. He lived His entire life without ever sinning. Total perfection from a perfect Jew. He is the perfect Son of God and perfect Son of Man. How do you follow that one up? Well, you don't. You just get on board with Him if you want to enjoy God's company today and throughout eternity.
This perfect Jew is the only good One among both Jews and Gentiles. No one else is righteous. (see Romans 3:9-12) Only the Jewish carpenter who built the highway to heaven with the wood of His cross. Now anyone, Jew or Gentile, can get on that highway and follow Jesus all the way to heaven. Do you plan to experience "Level 3" with your Creator? It won't happen if Jesus is not at the center of your plan.
In the Old Testament, animal sacrifices had to be made. But then Jesus came into the picture. He was the perfect one-time sacrifice. (see Hebrews 10:1-18) The Lamb of God gave His life for the sins of the world. Jesus died for every Jewish person, and for everyone else as well.
Jesus Christ is the ultimate Jew. Why? Because He is both God and man. He is the Messiah. He created the universe. And He created man. Pretty impressive credentials wouldn't you say? Everything comes back to Jesus. He is the First and the Last. He is before all things. In Him, all things have their existence. Without Jesus, there would be no Jewish people, or any other people for that matter. If you remove Jesus from the equation, you end up with what we had before God created the world. Nothing. Or at least nothing in our dimension.
God has always existed. It takes faith to believe that truth. Your belief won't make it true, and your rejection of that truth won't make it false. You can live and die and believe whatever you want, but it won't change a thing about the nature of God and the nature of religion. If you feel insignificant in the big picture, it is only because you have not yet met Jesus. Once you meet Christ, you no longer feel insignificant. You begin to feel incredibly loved and cherished. There is nothing insignificant about God's love for His children.
Many Jewish people today have met Jesus personally, while many others have not yet had that joyful experience. They remain lost in a religious maze of "try harder, do better, and go make your Jewish family proud of you." But when it is all said and done, no amount of effort on man's part can satisfy the perfect requirements of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is why a perfect sacrifice was required. It is tragic to see how many Jewish people accept the sacrifices of the Old Testament as authoritative and historical, but reject the sacrifice of Jesus for their soul.
Million of Gentiles and Jews are living below their potential blessing. They are ignoring the very One who could give them a new heart, forgiveness, and eternal life in paradise. If you don't rise to the higher level here on earth, you won't rise to the highest level after your death. Unless you are "seated with Christ in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 2:6) through faith while here on earth, you will not be welcomed into heaven after you die. It's that simple. Or do you really think the Son of God would leave heaven for no good reason just to be treated with disrespect, hatred, and even torture?
Jewish people who have accepted Christ are just as sincere as Jewish people who live without faith in Jesus. But sincerity is not enough to get you into God's family. Many Hindus, Muslims, Mormons, and Buddhists are also sincere. But their definition of God is different than the biblical definition of the Christian God. He truly is One God in Three Persons. Hindus, Muslims, Mormons, and Buddhists opt for other definitions of God. They have been taught to reject the triune nature of God, and they have been taught inaccurate things about Jesus Christ. I am talking about the real Jesus, as compared to the mythical "Jesus" of certain sects. A false "Jesus" is defined as a created being, rather than the eternal God and the Creator of all things.
Does it really matter how you define Jesus? Yes indeed. It makes all the difference in the world. If you get Jesus wrong, you get salvation wrong. It is imperative to "get Jesus right." True God. True Man. Second Person of the Trinity. And the One who gives out eternal life as a free gift, rather than something you earn by your deeds. So yes, it is critical to get Jesus right.
Or you could choose to remain at your current level of spirituality. If your current experience is Christless, your eternity will also be Christless. That is, unless you repent and believe in Jesus while you still have time. Otherwise, you will not be with Him on that final day. And only those with Him will enter paradise. (see John 3:36, Acts 4:12, 1 John 5:12)
None of us have experienced that level yet. But the day is coming. Are you ready to stand before the Judge? Or are you too busy "being religious" while trying to earn your way into heaven by your sincere efforts? You can stick to mere sincerity if you like. As for myself, I am going to continue placing my confidence in the cross of Christ and the blood of Jesus. His sacrifice guarantees eternal life for my soul.
Do you see now why He died and rose again? I hope you see it, and I hope you believe that He did it for you. The only other option doesn't satisfy the soul, and it definitely doesn't end well for everyone who dies while committing the soul-damning sin of unbelief in Jesus. Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, it is time to rise up in faith and instantly be "seated with Christ in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 2:6)
Go ahead! Believe in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah! Millions upon millions of Jews and Gentiles have already taken that step of faith. You can become the next one to discover that Jesus really is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life," and that "no one comes to the Father except through Him." (John 14:6) You will never step one foot into paradise without Him. It's true.
So do you want to go with Jesus to the next level, or not?