Jesus for Jerusalem

On the night he rose from the dead, Jesus instructed his disciples to preach a new message of unconditional forgiveness.

Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:46–47, NKJV)

The message of grace and forgiveness was for all nations, but it was particularly for the Jews. “Beginning at Jerusalem,” said Jesus, as though he knew there would be some who would deny grace to his killers. “God’s grace is for all, but those in Jerusalem get to hear about it first.”

Then, before he ascended to heaven, he said it again. “Be my witnesses in Jerusalem …” (Acts 1:8b).

There is a reason why Jerusalem is considered the birthplace of Christianity and it is not just because Christ died there. By the Lord’s command Jerusalem was the first place evangelized with the gospel. By the Holy Spirit’s direction, Jerusalem was the location of Pentecost. And by the apostles’ obedience, Jerusalem was the birthplace of the church.

Jesus did not wash his hands of Jerusalem. Nor did he tell his apostles to give the city a wide berth. Instead, he designated the city Mission Field Number One. The apostles did what he asked, and their teaching spread all over Jerusalem. The result was nothing short of miraculous. The city that had rejected the Lord began to change, and the number of Christians in Jerusalem increased greatly (Acts 5:28, 6:7).

Jerusalem had rejected Jesus, but he never rejected Jerusalem. The Jews had spurned him, but he continued to woo them to himself. Not even death would hinder his relentless love.

As for the city, so for the temple.

The cross and the temple stood in opposition to one another, yet Christ’s cross came down while the temple stayed up. That building, so hostile to the Lord, did not tumble during the earthquake that accompanied his death. Nor was it consumed by heavenly fire when he rose from the grave.

When the Lord needed an apostle of grace, he recruited a hate-filled Pharisee. And when he needed a venue for the early church, he chose the courts of the most anti-Christ building in the world (Acts 2:46, 3:11, 5:12, 42).

Where did the apostles perform their first miracle? It was at the gates of the temple (Acts 3:2).

When an angel released the apostles from prison, where did he tell them to preach the gospel? At the temple (Acts 5:20).

And after the apostles were flogged and ordered not to speak in the name of Jesus, where did they daily continue to preach the good news of Jesus Christ? (Acts 5:42). You guessed it.

This is grace, and this is what God does. He redeems and repurposes. He takes those things that are opposed to him and turns them around for good.

That the Lord would choose this building and this city to demonstrate his goodness and power speaks volumes to the graciousness of a good God who does not treat us as our sins deserve.

——–

Extracted from chapter 26 of Paul Ellis’ new book AD70 and the End of the World.

16 Comments on Jesus for Jerusalem

  1. Moses Kawuma // February 14, 2018 at 9:58 pm // Reply

    Thanks for that Paul.

  2. Such a humbling new display of the love of God, i feel blessed!

  3. William MacDonald // February 15, 2018 at 1:13 am // Reply

    Amen! And what city has he chosen for his seat of government when he returns to this earth to show how this world can be when it is run God’s way? Rome? No. Washington? No. Jerusalem! amen and amen! (Isaiah 2:1-4). ‘And the earth will be full of the knowledge the Lords as the waters cover the sea’, (Isaiah 11:9) Awesome! For all of you who do not believe that there will be a literal reign of Christ on THIS earth, it is okay God still loves you, but repent you’re wrong! Amen, come quickly Lord Jesus!

  4. Thank you brother Paul for your labour of love. Always helping to broaden the scope of my understanding of the Scriptures. More grace of God to you and your ministry.

  5. Oh my, grace abounds everywhere all the time!

  6. He’s so good to us!

  7. It seems to me that all this had to be so because Jesus was the fulfillment of the law, he was the one it had all been leading up to. For God to instruct them to begin preaching somewhere else would also imply they were preaching ‘something else’, ( a new religion different or foreign to the God who had instituted the law) They were, indeed preaching ‘something else’ from what the Pharisees preached, but not different from what the law and prophets foretold. The world, Israel, Jerusalem, the temple…all were God’s and he came to what was his own and was setting the record straight.

  8. Please update my email address to…

  9. Paul. This was a vitally important and timely message. Before we walk away from our mixed-grace congregations we need to proclaim the true Gospel in love.

  10. Fredric Schuster // February 18, 2018 at 3:57 am // Reply

    As a non Millennialist, I believe we who accepted Christ are His temple, and His City. There are no kingdoms of this world nor are there prefered races. God forgives Jerusalem just as much as Riyahd. Geography does not matter, after Christ. It is up to us to accept His message. Jerusalem now has become a heavenly city. What do I mean. There is no more place in this earth or Kingdom on earth that supersedes His Kingdom. I do not believe the Bible teaches that Jesus is coming as King for a thousand years in the Jerusalem me see on earth. The New Jerusalem is not earthly but heavenly. It is going to be made only by God with the new heaven and earth. It is understood only spiritually not physically Rev 21:1 ff, and will be eternal not just for a period of a literal “thousand” years. I think that the “thousand” years has been taken out of context as literal only in the interpretations of Revelations. I do not see all Revelations can be understood literally. I try to understand it in light of all the Gospel as I would the Old testament. When the Heavenly Jerusalem descends in Rev21 it is after the New Heavens and earth replace this world. I don’t see Jerusalem mentioned in Rev 20 but, I see a lot of spiritual battles. Without the holy spirit Rev does not make sense. You cannot say “the sea of glass, the great white throne, horses, locusts, the sword coming out of his mouth, can be taken literally neither the lake of fire or a thousand years. It must be understood in the light of the brand new gospel that was given to Paul. I believe that the idea of a literal kingdom of Israel on earth was the Pharisees dream and still is. It is a dangerous doctrine, leading to the counterfeit Jerusalem 2 Thes 2:3,4; Rev 11:1 Rev 13:1-9. Read Gal 4:25, 26 again. Our Kingdom is of heaven not earth. Whether you believe in this or not is NOT going to affect your salvation and I hope you will not think that of me. Peace and Grace.

    • “There are no kingdoms of this world nor are there preferred races. God forgives Jerusalem just as much as Riyahd. Geography does not matter, after Christ. ” Amen. This is a topic that needs more airing, since as Christians we have been erroneously taught concerning the type of ‘specialness’ that Israel and Jerusalem has.

  11. I never quite understand why Jesus preached a message of unconditional forgiveness and yet, only three days before, he was crushed by God who would not extend unconditional forgiveness.

    He, God, would only forgive having first punished – which is odd since forgiveness involves foregoing any retaliation or retribution.

    Can anyone help?

    • I don’t really understand the question, Richard. The cross was the means of our unconditional forgiveness, God’s means for dealing once and for all to our sin.

      • This is an issue that has engaged me also. I have come to terms with it by the thought that the cross/death is not a punishment for sin, but rather a consequence of sin. In the garden God was pointing out to the first people that if they elected to try to go their own way rather than His, they were in effect cutting off their ties/union with the Giver of Life and so would be dead both spiritually and physically. Consequence not punishment. God had clearly forgiven mankind or He would not have come to save us. Remember that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. He was not standing aside with arms folded and toes tapping waiting for Jesus death. My thoughts.
        Love to you all. Keep up the awesome work Paul.

  12. That is a good question Richard, I think I understand what you are saying as I have asked myself that question too…many times.
    If we see atonement as God being angry with us and having to punish someone so He could forgive, choosing to punish Jesus instead of us, it doesn’t add up to a God who expects us to unconditionally forgive when others hurt us. If that was the case, then why couldn’t God just forgive Adam, didn’t Jesus teach big on forgiveness?
    But if we see God the Father and Jesus, knowing that we were caught in a Law system brought about by the first Adam choosing to live by the knowledge of the tree of good and evil, then we can maybe look at this in a different way that will cause our heart to be able to rest.
    The first Adam put us into a system that we could not get ourselves out of…and death came into the human family. God never intended for man to die physically, so He, God, became a man…and took upon Himself all that was needed for us to be set free from this satanic system, and make eternal life available to all who will receive it. Our Beloved God, in the body of the Last Adam, took it upon Himself to pay ‘the wages of sin is death’ for us and redeem us from the curse of the Law. God the Father was in Christ Jesus all of the way, blessed wonderful God. Jesus died and that system died with Him, those who see it as dead, will live ( Numbers 21). God showed that Jesus, bearing the sin of the world, died…. but glory to God, He then showed that He was able to raise that Body from the dead to everlasting life. And that is the promise to us who believe, we will be raised up to eternal life.
    I hope I have expressed what is in my heart and not caused confusion to anyone.
    God bless everyone, and thank you Paul Ellis.

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