Have you ever wanted something so bad for someone else that you would be willing to take the punishment so they could have it? There have not been many times in my life where I have desired that. Maybe as a new father those days will be closer and closer. In today’s reading (Romans 9) we see Paul wish just that. Paul writes …
I speak the truth in Christ-I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit-I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.Paul’s race, his people, the people of Israel had rejected Christ. Not all of Israel had done this but most, and the ones who had Paul’s heart goes out to. He knows the pain and suffering that is coming their way. He knows and understands that eternity without Christ will be Hell. He knows that the only way to avoid that and have the opportunity to spend eternity with God is to accept Christ. But many of the Jews have rejected Christ as Lord and Savior. Their hearts have been hardened. And for that, Paul’s heart is full of great sorrow and unceasing anguish.
Paul’s heart is so broken that he wishes he could trade in his salvation, be cut off from Christ, and take the punishment so that his race, his people would know Christ. Friends, Paul understands what is at stake and if he could he would trade it all so that more people would spend eternity with God. Do you long for people’s salvation that way? Do you pursue evangelism with that same heart and mind? I know I do not. Why do not we? When we answer that question evangelism in our lives might take a radical turn.
The above image was borrowed from the blog Rantings of the Superlative1