Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Visitation of Jesus in Israel

One of my subscribers was trying to access an article I wrote in 2006 on my website, but couldn't because the website was down (I still don't know for sure why).  But I did have the article in my documents file and thought it might be good to revisit it here.

A Visitation of Jesus in Israel
by Donna Diorio
March 14, 2006

If Jesus came down for an encouragement visitation with His kinsmen in Israel, He wouldn't head straight for the Israelis that Christians seem to think of when we think about supporting Israel. Yeshua would meet with His disciples - the same as He did after He was resurrected and appeared to them before ascending to the Father.

As soon as He arrived Jesus would head off first to meet with His followers who have been enduring the most persecution, like the Jewish believers in Beer Sheva and Arad; His Druse disciples in village of Maghar; or the Arab Bible Society that recently shut down under bomb threat from masked gunmen in Gaza.   

Jesus would probably soon afterwards want to go up to Jerusalem (and over to Jaffa) to meet with students and teachers who are in discipleship training for a new generation of spiritual leaders in Israel.   He would want to quickly get out to the desert, as well, to one of the youth events for teenage believers.  Jesus would want to encourage the teens to hold steady in their faith in the midst of overwhelming peer pressure and to have great confidence about His plan for their lives.

While in the Negev, He would also delight in blessing one of the many Israeli Jewish and Arab believers ‘desert encounters’ that come together to overcome their mutual woundedness and to deepen their relationships with each other in Him. Jesus would be eager to meet with all the groups and individuals who are reaching out of their comfort zone to walk in reconciliation with former enemies, now brothers in Him.  It would bless Him as much as them to be able to attend one of the multi-congregational Jewish and Palestinian picnics held each year in the north at one of the national forests.  (How it blesses Him when brothers dwell in unity!)

Back in Jerusalem, Jesus would be far more likely to hang out with young people at the JAMM or to head over to lead a night watch in the 24/7 intercession at Succat Hallel than He would be to mingle with the ‘religious’ in the Old City.  He would also want to get over toTel Aviv to hang out at the Dugit Coffee Shop and talk 'God stuff' with people who drop in for follow up conversations after encountering street ministries outside.  He would probably stop off at several ministries and congregations along the highway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, just to say, “Hi” and “Keep up the good works.”

Jesus would love being around all the young (and some not so young!) believers witnessing at the believer's booth at the giant annual New Age festival.  He would certainly want to meet with all His followers who are serving Him and their country in the Israeli Defense Forces.  (He is the Commander of the Armies of the Lord, after all.)

Jesus would want to travel up the Mediterranean coastline visiting all the congregations and house groups of believers along the way in Netanya, Kiryat Yam, Haifa, Acco and Nahariyya.  Surely He would want to revisit the congregation in His hometown of Nazareth.  (It was just established last year and there has not been a Messianic Jewish congregation in Nazareth for a very long time.)  Maybe Jesus would even want to walk out for a time of intercessory prayer for religious zealots when He visited his old home town.  The hill in Nazareth where their ancient counterparts had tried to push Him off the cliff would be a perfect place for that intercession.  He could pray there for all His followers in Israel today who are targeted by the religious for His name’s sake.

From there Jesus would undoubtedly travel over toward Tiberias and to the Sea of Galilee where He spent so many wonderful hours teaching the common folk in the rolling countryside that surrounds the sea.  (Once again after these two thousand years He has many followers who meet to worship Him throughout this region.)

From Ariel to Eilat, and from Mt Carmel to Ashkelon, Jesus would travel throughout Eretz Israel blessing and strengthening new believers and seasoned servants, both young and old—all 10,000 Israeli believers scattered throughout the land.  There is no doubt that if Jesus chose to return to Israel for just a quick visit to encourage His people to do His will, it would be His body, His followers that He would visit.

Many of the prophets, hearing that Jesus was in the Holy Land for a quick visit with His people, would miss seeing Him altogether. 

That might sound surprising but the reason they would miss Him is because so many are convinced that Jesus would be hanging out with the same ones they like to rub elbows with. (Isn’t it just too cool to talk to a rabbi or a Knesset member?) 
Hearing that Jesus was making a visitation to Israel to encourage His kinsmen, the prophets would likely all flock to Temple Mount first.  They would expect that Jesus would want to come and make His feelings known about the usurpers at the Dome of Rock.  (Well, after all, He overturned the tables of the money changers in the Temple, didn't He?) 

Actually Jesus probably wouldn't even bother visiting that particular area.  There is a time and season for every visitation, and the season for Him to visit the Temple Mount is not here yet. He also wouldn't go visit the Knesset or the Sanhedrin—not because He doesn't care about those Jews, but because the purpose of this visitation would be to build up His body in Israel for the work of the ministry.  Besides, proclaiming the gospel to the un-believers is the job of the believers.  That is their purpose; He is just visiting to encourage the believers in their purpose.

Some of the prophets would expect Jesus to go visit 'the righteous' in Mea Shearim, but His visitation to Israel would be about encouraging His followers who are running with His Father’s vision.
Jesus would not go over to the Mea Shearim neighborhood where Yeshiva boys "enforce" the Sabbath on a Friday night by angrily pelting rocks at the cars of the seculars that drive past.  He wouldn't travel down into one of the ultra-pious enclaves in the Negev Desert to sit in on strategy meetings with the locals and anti-missionary groups like Yad L'Achim. (He’d have already visited with their intended victims in His first stop in Israel.  You know, just to strengthen them with much needed grace for being partakers in the fellowship of His sufferings.)

If the Israeli government was dismantling another settlement like Amona while Jesus was visiting—in spite of what many Christian Zionists may think--He wouldn't don an orange tee shirt and head for the protest site!  Some of us might link arms with the "Greater Israel" protesters hardened in violent resistance of a legal government eviction but Jesus wouldn’t take part in it.  He isn't worried about losing ground; His concern is with not losing sheep.  (Jesus is convinced in the wisdom and integrity of the Father's plan and promise to restore Israel's borders. He also knows the fulfillment of “Greater Israel” certainly doesn't rest on the strength or righteousness of Israel's un-believing religious right wing, or the strength of their un-believing political right wing, for that matter!)

If Jesus came to visit Israel today--just a short visitation to encourage and strengthen His kinsmen for the days ahead—who He visited would surely be a big shocker for many believers around the world. Jesus would just not go to the places or seek out the people so many of us are convinced that He would.  No, He would head straight for ones it seems most of the believers worldwide have pretty much overlooked. He would head straight for His followers, His own body in Israel

You know what I'm talking about right?  Jesus is "the head" and we are His "feet" walking out His witness and will on the earth?  You know, "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me." 

Jesus has "feet" in Israel, a "body" who bear witness of Him.  The body of believers in Israel is His own hidden treasure like He spoke about in Matthew 13:33, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”   That is even their mission, to be like yeast hidden in the midst of dough that causes the whole batch to begin to rise until it is ready to be baked into bread.  (They are supposed to be hidden from their countrymen, not us!  Are we spiritually blind too?)
Jesus’ body in Israel—I am talking about the believers who call upon the name of Yeshua—are the hidden blessing in the midst of a strife torn land.  They are the ones upon whom the preservation of Israel rests, because the blessing of God is granted to the nations for the sake of His faithful remnant within them:   

As the new wine is found in the cluster,
    And one says, ‘Do not destroy it,
    For a blessing is in it

    So will I do for My servants’ sake,
    That I may not destroy them all.

    I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
    And from Judah an heir of My mountains;
    My elect shall inherit it,
    And My servants shall dwell there.
       Isaiah 65:8-9
If Jesus came to visit Israel today, just to walk around and encourage His kinsmen, He would make His way around to all His shepherds, the congregational leaders.  He would go to the evangelists and the street witnesses.  He would meet with the worship ministries and psalmists who make music in name of Yeshua; and with the intercessory prayer groups that meet throughout the Land. 
Jesus would make it a point to lift up the arms of those who are ministering humanitarian aid to terror victims and to those passing out food and clothing to the poor.  He would meet with un-salaried ministries that raise their own support (from donations in their former nations) just to be able to minister His life to broken families and wounded individuals.  (Just because many minister on staff with a congregation in Israel sure doesn’t mean they get a paycheck! He would want to bless them for their sacrificial service to Him.)
Jesus would go round to the many offices set up by His believers to minister to women with unwanted pregnancies offering them a way to live with their choice. He would be eager to impart even more compassion to those ministering to the homeless, the alcoholics, the druggies and the others who are used and abused by themselves and by others.  He would want to speak grace upon those ministering care to the elderly, and also to those teaching new believer parents how to “raise up their children in the Way they should go.” 

Jesus would want to meet with all these believers whose citizenship is not only Israeli, but also Heavenly.   All these spiritual brothers and sisters would be the ones Jesus would want to see first, to bless first, to speak grace and shalom to first. 

But Jesus is not going to come down from heaven to earth again to encourage the saints in Israel. Why not?  Because He has already made provision for reaching out to every single Israeli believer we have mentioned here. 

Do you see it Church?  We are His feet; we are His body in the earth.  It is our job to do this in the same way He would.  Do you see that we should go to encourage the same ones He would?  It is going to take our feet to go around and encourage, uplift and generally build up His body in the Land of Israel
You know the saying, “What would Jesus do?”
This is what Jesus would do regarding the support of His family in Israel. They are the believers, His spiritual kin.  If we build them up for the work of the ministry, all Israel will be saved.

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