Monday, March 24, 2014
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26 KJV).
The Great Physician must perform this surgery if His beloved patient is to live!
When JEHOVAH in human flesh, Jesus Christ, came to earth, many Gentile empires had already conquered and oppressed Israel. Most Jews were scattered worldwide. The few Jews who lived in Palestine were under the oppressive, brutal, overtaxing Roman government—their Davidic kingdom had been destroyed many centuries earlier. Their corrupt religious leaders lied to them and cheated them out of God’s Word (sound familiar?!). Centuries of continuous rejection of God’s Word (the “Old Testament” Scriptures) and centuries of pagan religion had finally taken their toll on God’s earthly people, but Israel’s greatest sin was yet to come.
Israel’s spiritual state reached such an extremely low point that the Jews demanded that Jesus Christ—their long-promised Messiah who had come to rescue them from sin, Satan, and the Gentiles—suffer an excruciating death on a cruel Roman cross. Despite her promise to do what God said many centuries earlier, Israel demonstrated that she did not want to be God’s earthly nation, His vessel to reach the Gentiles with His salvation.
On behalf of the nation, Israel’s leadership confessed, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). The Jews said to Roman governor Pontius Pilate, “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 27:25). Israel did not think twice about Jesus’ execution: they were tired of hearing His authoritative sermons and seeing His righteousness. Sin had hardened their hearts against God, and they would not be dissuaded: “For this people’s heart is waxed gross [thick, callous], and their ears are dull of hearing…” (Matthew 13:10-17).
Yea, God’s beloved nation, Israel, had a heart problem, and He alone could save them. They took His life—actually, He laid down His life (John 10:17,18)—to make a generous blood donation, for it was the only way to make Israel’s heart transplant possible….