For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. Romans 1:16 [Sunrise photo April 23 2013]

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. Romans 1:16 [Sunrise photo April 25 2013]

Day 25 Start With Jerusalem

Scripture also says that by the authority of Jesus people would be told to turn to God and change the way they think and act so that their sins will be forgiven. This would be told to people from all nations, beginning in the city of Jerusalem. Luke 24:47 GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)

Why Jerusalem? Why did Jesus say begin here?

John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave … ” everything.

God, out of his mercy, initiated the redemption of all creation by making and keeping a promise to the Jewish people, the seed of Abraham,

The gospel  “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16

God did not react to the rejection of the Jews by rejecting them in turn – no, he made the way for reconciliation.

“… beginning in Jerusalem”

Jerusalem was the scene of the story, this is where it all happened.

“The Saviour’s disciples were to begin where the prophets had prophesied, and had been put to death; where sinners had rejected God’s voice times out of mind.” CH Spurgeon Sermon “Beginning at Jerusalem”

Why Jerusalem? 8 Reasons

(Quotes from the CH Spurgeon Sermon “Beginning at Jerusalem” )

1. In fulfillment of the Scripture prophecies.

See Isaiah 2:3, Joel 2:37, Obadiah v.27, Zechariah  14:8

“Because the Bible said so, therefore they must begin at Jerusalem, and I call your attention to this, for our Lord Jesus was particular that every jot and tittle of the Old Testament should be fulfilled.”

2. The gospel story began in Jerusalem.

“It was at Jerusalem that the facts which make up the gospel had occurred. It was there that Jesus Christ died, that he was buried, that he rose again, and that he ascended into heaven.”

3. God’s love for the Jewish people

“The third reason why the Lord Jesus told them to begin at Jerusalem may have been that he knew that there would come a time when some of his disciples would despise the Jews, and therefore he said—When you preach my gospel, begin with them. This is a standing commandment, and everywhere we ought to preach the gospel to the Jew as well as to the Gentile; Paul even says, ‘to the Jew first.”

4.  Begin where you are tempted not to begin.  

“The fourth reason for beginning at Jerusalem is a practical lesson for you. We ought always to try to do good where we think that it will not succeed. If we have a very strong aversion as a token that we are not called to it, we may regard it as a sign that we ought at least to try it.”

5. Begin at home.

“Beginning at Jerusalem,’ must surely mean begin at home.”

Family. co-workers, neighbors – share the gospel by the way you live and speak with those close to you. Make it your first priority to bear witness to those with whom you regularly live and interact.

6. It was a tough audience.

Jerusalem was a religious center. They had been there, done that. Their hearts were hard.

“Wherefore, in working for Christ, do not hesitate to go to those who have refused the gospel hitherto, for you may yet prevail.”

7. The time was short.

Jerusalem was to be destroyed by the Romans just 70 years later. Life is short. Spurgeon says to be bold, especially with those who are old, sick or you may never see again.

“When you meet with a pining case, do not wait to be introduced, but introduce yourself; and tenderly, gently, quietly, lovingly say a word about coming to Christ at once. We ought speedily to look up those whose day of grace is short.”

8. Opposition is to be engaged with, not retreated from.

“Begin courageously where you may expect opposition.”

The greatest sinners are the objects of the greatest mercy.

Let’s Pray:

I invite you to pray with me today.

“Jesus I want to live in agreement with Your word, that I would be ‘not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ,  for it is the power of God unto salvation, first to the Jew, and then to everyone else’. Lord I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  May Your kingdom come, and Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.”

About This Devotional Series

According to the historical church calendar, the Easter season is the 50 day period from Resurrection Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.  I’ll post a fresh devotional thought with my sunrise photo of that morning, everyday through Pentecost, commenting as the Spirit inspires. Check out the rest of the series here.

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