thus it must be
A short while back, Eric & Mindy met a young couple in a local coffee shop that had just arrived in Huaraz. The Source sandals were a clear sign that these were travelers from Israel. It wasn't much of a conversation, as these were folks of few words, but they did receive Gospel tracts and expressed gratitude for a casual dinner invitation. Yesterday, after a frustrating and worthless trip to a local market in Carhuaz that turned up nothing, Bethany and the Trents got off the bus and stumbled upon that same couple as they were shopping for an upcoming trek in the Cordillera Huayhuash. Eric reminded them of the dinner invitation and urged: "Why don't you guys come over tonight? We'll cook up something good." We really didn't expect them to show up, but they did, and it was a great time not unlike the other such dinners we have hosted this season.
Both were born in Israel, had recently completed compulsory military service in the IDF, and they met traveling the Hummus Trail here in South America. Ron's parents came to Israel from the Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union, and his grandparents had miraculously escaped the Holocaust there (a lesser known chapter that didn't involve concentration camps but every bit as horrifying). As for Shai, her grandparents had fled Iraq where there once was a sizable Jewish population that dated back to the days of the Babylonian Captivity. There are no Jews in Iraq today.
After dinner, the door flung open when Eric was asked why he even cared about Israel and its people. From there, the Gospel was declared, and these listened with intent. Later, as we talked about their travels thus far in South America, they spoke of an incident in Bolivia where they had lodged on an Amish farm (there are lots of Mennonite and Amish communities in South America) and were told point-blank by the family over dinner one night: "You people killed Christ." Stunned and confused, Ron & Shai just smiled and said nothing. They asked us last night, "What does this mean?" I immediately affirmed the ignorance and stupidity of such a statement, a very Catholic broken record originally and ironically leveled by an institution that has historically slaughtered more than 50 million Bible-Believers who preached the Christ of the Bible and disseminated His Word in the vernacular. And then, we opened John 10, the eyewitness testimony of a Jewish man known by the high priest and who walked with Jesus Christ and recorded intimate details of His ministry. Here, Jesus was very clear:
I then went to John 18:6 where the Lord plainly demonstrated His power to stop His murder and Matthew 26:52-54 where He plainly declared that power. But, He chose to lay His life down because THUS IT MUST BE.
Ron & Shai were very grateful for the meal and the time discussing such things. Both gladly received Hebrew New Testaments, and Ron later sent me this message: "Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. You all have such an interesting way of life and view of life. We learned so much in those few hours about yourselves and ourselves. It was exciting to hear you talk."
Later, I was left wondering about that asinine statement (i.e. "You people killed Christ") by those in Bolivia whom I suppose would fancy calling themselves Christians. What was the point of this remark, and what could it possibly have accomplished? Absolutely nothing!
Look, my friends, there are four places in the New Testament where the Jewish nation is accused of murdering the Prince of Life (Acts 2:23, 3:15, 7:52, & I Thessalonians 2:15). In all of the Acts references, the accusation is leveled in a public forum (not to individuals) by a JEWISH street preacher concerning the very audience who had stood there in Jerusalem and clamored to Pontius Pilate "His blood be on us, and on our children." The only other reference is by the Apostle Paul who was one of those rightly accused (see Acts 7:58) and was later converted following a personal encounter with the risen Messiah.
If a professing Christian considers the above Scriptures justification for making a stupid remark like "You people killed Christ" to a Jewish person he might encounter today, then it would behoove him to curb his ignorance by considering the Apostle Paul's clear affirmation that the Gentile princes likewise shouldered blame for crucifying the Lord of glory (I Corinthians 2:8) and his very clear exhortation in Romans 11. There, we Gentiles who enjoy the spiritual blessings of Abraham by way of the Jewish Messiah are admonished to "boast not against the branches" (11:18), to "be not highminded" (11:20), to "be not ignorant" (11:25), and to let our MERCY (not condescension) be what points the Jewish nation that has not believed to Messiah that "they also may obtain mercy" (11:31). A ridiculous remark like what was leveled at Ron & Shai down in Bolivia is the diametric opposite of all those things and bewrays cluelessness concerning Jesus' own words in Matthew 26:45: THUS IT MUST BE.
As for those of us from the United States, we ought to take a long, hard look in the mirror before we even think about chiding the Jewish nation for its unbelief and rejection of God and the Messiah, His Annointed. You see, Israel had the Word of God concerning these things and rejected it in favor of religious tradition and politics. We, however, have the Word of God AND the example of Israel to teach us; yet we as a nation have rejected BOTH of these witnesses in favor of our own lusts and pleasures. A long, hard look in the mirror is exactly what we need: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required" (Luke 12:48). Moreover, "the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:17).
Thank you for your prayers and support. There have been many opportunities this season to share Christ with lost sheep from the house of Israel here in South America. And, Gentiles from 38 different nations have also been confronted with the Gospel. Brother Bishnu has safely returned to Kathmandu after a fruitful time serving with us here, and Eric & Mindy Trent will soon be departing to continue this work in South Asia.
Early Saturday morning, we head for the Cordillera Huayhuash and will be trekking out there off the grid for seven days. This route is very popular with the Israelis, and it is one of the most varied and beautiful alpine treks in all of the world. We will be walking the 70+ mile circuit in reverse so as to cross paths with as many people as possible. It will be difficult, but THUS IT MUST BE. Your prayers are coveted and much appreciated.
For the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus the Messiah,
The Boyd Family