Jewish Israeli Crucifixion
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
I am a Jew who was born and raised in Israel. My family has been here in the Land for more than a century, and my father’s family was murdered in Europe during the Holocaust. Growing up in Israel, the cross was a symbol of evil for me; something foreign, distant, and alienated from everything I loved. In school we learned about so many evil things done to our people in the name of the cross. Jewish culture sees the cross and historic Christianity as the source of persecution against our people since the birth of Christianity. As a result, even looking at a cross or thinking about it brought fear, hatred, anger, and sadness to my heart.
This all changed when I met the Lord. While reading through the pages of the New Testament, I found answers to the questions that had troubled me since I was a teenager. What is Love? How do we love? The words of Yeshua filled a void in my heart and I fell in love with Him. I had arrived home. I gave up my struggles and left all those past conceptions behind. I was born again. I finally found peace and rest.
I then understood that the cross was the most precious gift I could ever receive. Yes, so much evil was done to my people throughout history. Nothing can change that. But those evil deeds had nothing to do with the cross of Jesus. I decided to embark on a journey to get to know Him better and be transformed and conformed into His image.
At the beginning of this journey, I thought I had become a Christian and was therefore no longer Jewish. I had been taught all my life that a Jew who believes in Jesus is no longer Jewish. Sadly, it is what most Israelis think even today. But as I began to grow, I understood that by accepting Yeshua, I had become even more Jewish than before. I began to understand the message of the cross for my life as a believer, and the power the cross has for all our lives.
The cross is a place of acceptance and surrender. In identifying with Yeshua on the cross, the demons that had taken control of my life for so many years lost their power. On the cross with Yeshua, I found healing for past wounds and scars that had controlled my behavior. On the cross, I found victory and power. And now, together with my brothers and sisters who have also made the decision to follow Him, I can say, ” With Christ I have been crucified and it is no longer I who live but Christ, Messiah, lives in me.”
Jesus said: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” Luke 9:23.
What does it mean to deny myself? What does it mean to take up my cross daily? It means I choose each day to follow Him and continue on this journey of knowing Him and being changed. In Romans 12 Paul writes: “…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God…”
Before we knew Him we were busy with the desires of the flesh, we were sons of wrath (Ephesians 2). But now, this holiness requires that we remove evil, deceit, hypocrisy and envy from our lives. We now choose to pursue peace and have quarrelling, hatred, anger, revenge, insults, hurt, and resentment removed from us. We are children of God, born of the Holy Spirit, and growing into the image of Jesus.
Sanctification is this daily process of being transformed into the image of Yeshua. We sacrifice ourselves daily and look to Him. This is the beauty of walking with the Lord. We live a life of meaning and fulfilment and are changed from glory to glory.
All my life, I was searching for the meaning and purpose of life, of my existence. Today, as I live my life and walk in the newness of life with God, I find joy. As I take up my cross, I find fullness of joy in walking another day with Yeshua, Who loves me and purifies me. This gives my life true meaning.
Together, as the family of God, we are all being changed as we submit to Him and His will. As we walk daily with Him and are transformed into His image, we bring His Kingdom to the earth.
“Follow me, just as I also follow Christ” – 1 Corinthians 11:1
Paul dares to say this because he knows Yeshua. He remembers his own journey of taking up his cross daily and following the Lord. Paul did not hesitate to tell the Corinthians to follow him. Do I dare say that to our disciples? It is so true that we should always look at the Lord, Yeshua. He alone is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is our perfect example. Yet, every one of us should be a reflection of Him. Every one of us should be able to say: see Yeshua in me!
Our desire is to bring Israelis that are searching, are in pain, lost like I was, to the knowledge of Him. We desire that they get to know Him, surrender, give their lives to the Lord, and walk this journey of faith together with us. We want them to take up their crosses daily and be changed and conformed to reflect the image and character of Yeshua to their communities and those around them. We don’t want them to be afraid to surrender, to be crucified with Him, to let His Spirit develop His own character in them, and bring the Kingdom of God to Israel.
Thank you for helping us share this message of being transformed into the image of Yeshua with others. Thank you for praying for us and helping us bring the Kingdom of God to the heart of Israel.