Israel is a small country, but its spiritual importance reverberates throughout the entire world. People from three major religions—Judaism, Islam, and Christianity—both live and visit here, which makes it an ideal location for Rasool to ask, “Who do you think Jesus is?”
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Moti Vaknin grew up as an Orthodox Jew in Israel, turned his back on religion, and ran away to the United States. Then an encounter with someone who explained the gospel to him changed his whole perspective. Watch Moti share with Nizar Touma his story of how he came to understand that there is a personal God, whose name is Jesus.
What do we have in common with Jesus?
The shepherds’ field outside of Bethlehem is where the angels revealed Christ’s birth. And it’s by Jesus’ human birth that we can find something in common with our Savior. Because He experienced every emotion, pain, and temptation we have, He understands us perfectly.
Is Jesus a good man or God?
People seem to understand that Jesus is a good and decent teacher. But He claimed to be so much more than that. The people who confronted Jesus face to face challenged His authority, and many still do today. Who do you think Jesus is?
Is Jesus divine and human?
The idea that Jesus is both fully God and fully man is a paradox that our human minds can’t comprehend. Why? Because faith is complex, and even those who knew Jesus in the flesh struggled with this reality. Jesus does reveal Himself to us through Scripture, so that’s a good place to start unraveling the mystery.
Sea of Galilee
In the Middle Eastern country where they live, Adrian and his family suffer persecution for their faith. Yet, through it all, they demonstrate Christ’s love. Standing in his church courtyard, which was pummeled by bullets when terrorists used it as training ground, he said, “Today is Good Friday. We remember that Jesus suffered for us on the cross.” And suffering, he continued, is something that believers in Jesus there understand. But his family chooses to remain in their homeland: “We’re still here, still standing.”
These believers follow the example of the women who stood watching as Jesus died on the cross (MARK 15:40). They—including Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and Salome—were brave to stay there, for friends and family members of an enemy of the state could be ridiculed and punished. Yet the women showed their love for Jesus by their very presence with Him. Even as they “followed him and cared for his needs” in Galilee (V. 41), they stood with Him at His hour of deepest need.
On this day when we remember the greatest gift of our Savior, His death on a cross, take a moment to consider how we can stand for Jesus as we face trials of many kinds (SEE JAMES 2:2–4). Think too about our fellow believers around the world who suffer for their faith. As Adrian asked, “Can you please stand with us in your prayers?”
What does standing for Christ look like in your neighborhood? How can you support persecuted believers around the world?
Loving Savior, You willingly died to save us from our sins. On this day of remembrance, give us a deeper sense of gratitude for this amazing gift.