The blessing of diversity
The longer I lead this far-flung ministry of Jews for Jesus, the more I have grown to appreciate the many languages the Lord has given His creation. I know, the initial division of language was God’s judgment on the pride and sinfulness of humanity as seen in the incident at the tower of Babel as recorded in Genesis 11. But our God is a God of redemption, and so Jesus, the incarnate Word, transforms the curse of division into the blessing of diversity. Ever since the day of Pentecost, God has been bringing people together through the gift of the gospel proclaimed aloud in many languages spoken upon the earth.
And so my heart was warmed as I sat with our Jews for Jesus European board of directors and selected staff in a classroom of Middlesex University just minutes from our Jews for Jesus “Shoppe” in North London. Our London staff daily proclaims the gospel to Jews and everyone who will listen in the King’s (or is it the Queen’s?) English. However, many who travelled to London for that meeting spoke English as a second, third or perhaps even fourth language. Yet we were united by the gospel, a love for Jesus and an earnest desire to see His salvation declared throughout Europe and around the world.
Prayer unites us
After each country’s report, we gathered around the missionaries from that country to pray. As is our tradition, each person prayed in his or her heart language. Prayers were offered in English, French, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Russian and yes, in Hebrew. And while most of us were unable to understand every prayer, the passion for God and for the salvation of the Jewish people was clear beyond words. All of us could say a heartfelt “Amen” (that’s Hebrew) at the end of each prayer, confident of the perfect bonds of unity we shared in Yeshua (Jesus).
Proclamation compels us
If prayer unites us despite diverse languages, then proclamation compels us. Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations, and I find it awe-inspiring that each and every day people around the world hear the good news of Jesus in their own language! You see, people need to hear the gospel in their own language. It is the best chance they have to respond to His grace.
Would you believe, people can hear the gospel in their language . . . by learning a new language? Just prior to our European board meeting I was in Israel, where some of our Russian-speaking staff have formed a club to help other Russian speakers learn Hebrew. One man, Slavic, was highly surprised to find that Jews for Jesus had organized the club. He had heard about us before moving to Israel, and when he came to reside there permanently, a group called “Christians for Israel” helped him. He took the fact that he was learning Hebrew from Jews for Jesus as divine providence, and wanted to know more about our faith. Praise God! Please pray for Slavic.
Praise lifts us
If prayer unites us and proclamation compels us, then it is praise that lifts us up together. I know that some people are fearful about how globalization might affect us. But when I look at the big picture, I say that we who love the Lord and believe in His coming Kingdom should not fear. Globalization in its best and truest sense is promised in Scripture:
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6–7)
As we praise Him, we can envision God’s great plan for all of humanity, and our spirits are lifted up beyond the temporary darkness. Praise gives us a foretaste of the day we’ll all join our hearts together at His throne of grace, enveloped in His love for all people in Jesus Christ. We have a bright vision of a wondrous future in God.
It’s a vision that should unite us in prayer, compel us to proclaim and fill us with praises for God and the great hope we have in Jesus, now and always.
“O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise; the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace!”