Throughout history God used non Jews to help deliver Jewish people!
Many Gentiles have taken to heart the Scriptural promise, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you” (Genesis 12:3a). These men and women have been used by God to bless the children of Israel!
The Righteous Gentile in Jewish History
I would like to introduce you to a term that is well known in the Jewish community: the “Righteous Gentile.” It is traditionally used to refer to those Gentiles who have been a great help to the Jewish communities of the world in times of persecution. At Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, there is a place called the “Garden of the Righteous among the Nations.” This term was popularized as a way to honor non-Jews who protected and saved the lives of Jewish people during the Holocaust. Many of those who saved Jewish people during these difficult days were motivated by their love for the Jewish Messiah.
How could they allow His kinsmen according to the flesh to be mercilessly slaughtered? This caused many dedicated believers in Jesus to risk and sometimes sacrifice their lives to save Jewish people from certain doom. I want to expand the definition of Righteous Gentile to include those who have been involved with saving the lives of Jewish people by helping us come to know Jesus as our Messiah.Therefore, in some ways you are a Righteous Gentile! Your love for Jewish people that motivates you to reach out to Jewish people with the Good News about Jesus is a sign of your love for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and for the Jewish Messiah! There is a splendid example of a Righteous Gentile in the New Testament, and I would like to introduce you to him.
The Centurion : A Role Model for Righteous Gentiles
I am sure you are familiar with the centurion in Luke chapter 7. A number of Roman centurions are mentioned in the New Testament, but this particular centurion amazes me, as he clearly stands out because of his gracious character and deep love for the Jewish people. A quick reading of the first five verses of Luke chapter 7 shows us that this centurion is unique among his professional military counterparts: Now when He [Jesus] concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant.And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving,“for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.” (Luke 7:1-5) You can see why I am so impressed with this unnamed centurion.The very idea that a Roman centurion would love the Jewish people and treat them with kindness—and even believe in the Messiah of Israel—was scandalous! This man was everything a centurion should not be! He loved his slave, he esteemed the elders of the Jewish community in Capernaum, and he regarded Jesus with great respect, believing the Messiah had the power to heal his servant. In addition to this, the centurion built a synagogue for the Jewish people of Capernaum, which was his way of showing his love for the Jewish people and his love for God. In my opinion, the centurion of Luke 7 is the ultimate Righteous Gentile. His love for the Jewish people was founded upon his faith in the God of Israel, for when we love the God of Israel, we cannot help but love His chosen people.
The Roll Call of Righteous Gentiles in Jewish Evangelism
As the “Garden of the Righteous among the Nations” so eloquently testifies, there are many ways to sacrifice on behalf of Jewish people. Over the decades, there have been a number of unsung heroes—Gentiles who have given their all for the sake of Jewish evangelism.They include men and women who courageously assisted the Jewish people of wartorn Europe during the Holocaust. One particular example occurred in Vienna, where a window of escape remained open for Jewish people between 1938 and 1940. Missionary organizations to the Jewish people active at that time, such as the Swedish Israel Mission and the Society of the Friends of Israel Mission of Basel, did everything in their power to get the Jewish people—especially Jewish believers in Jesus—out of Austria. The missions viewed relief work and even the “smuggling” of Jews out ofVienna not as contradictory to their missionary task, but rather as part of their obligation to serve the Lord and the Jewish people.As they helped Jews out of Austria, these missionaries were able to speak to Jewish people about Jesus.Their testimony was made all the more powerful because of the risks they took.
Carrying the Work Forward
As I hope you can see, Chosen People Ministries and all those who show their love for Jewish people are part of an ancient and godly tradition. The Jewish people do not need Righteous Gentiles in North America to help them by building synagogues, but our people still need the spiritual help that only comes through knowing Jesus the Messiah. When you do what you can to help Jewish people find Jesus, you are doing the same thing—in your way—that the centurion did in the first century. I pray you will ask God to give you a centurion’s heart for the Jewish people. Thank you for being a Righteous Gentile!