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Jesus entered the world of the Roman political beast and its surrogates. Herod immediately seeks out “the Child to destroy Him” (Matt. 2:13). The local Roman occupation forces saw Jesus as a potential threat and had Him put to death. Many of the Jewish leaders, who should have known better (John 1:11; 3:10), chose a “notorious prisoner” and bastard (bar+abbas= “son of a father”: Matt. 27:21) and chose Caesar as their king (John 19:15) over the long-awaited Son of God, the true kingdom heir.
Jesus’ choice of apostles was unusual by Jewish standards. He picked Matthew (Matt. 9:9), a tax gatherer, and his political rival, Simon the Zealot (Luke 6:15). Philip was most probably Greek or born of a mixed marriage (Mark 3:18) since his name is not of Hebrew origin. These twelve make up the foundation of the New Covenant which is no longer exclusively Jewish:
Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands—remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Eph. 2:11–22).
These are theologically revolutionary words. The gospel turned enemies into brothers and sisters in Christ. Jews, once hostile to the gospel, embraced its message at Pentecost and took it with them when they returned to their homes in the Roman empire-commonwealth (oikoumene). Rome eventually fell and its inhabitants embraced the gospel. Pagan nation states repudiated their gods and bowed the knee to Jesus Christ. Why do we think it can’t be done today in the Middle East? The end timers want things to go from bad to worse in order to confirm their absurd, unbiblical, and dangerous eschatology.
Instead of preaching an end-time gospel of fear and inevitable judgment, the church of Jesus Christ should be calling all sides to lay down their arms and embrace the gospel. Instead of preaching about land, they should be preaching about new life.