Jesus and Israel
Rev Cornelis Kant - 21 December 2020
As Christians, we are soon going to celebrate Christmas, the coming of Jesus to this world through His Jewish mother, Mary. John teaches us that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And that “all things came into being through Him.” At His birth he received His name, Jesus. Before His coming to our world, He was with the Father in heaven forever as the Son of God, the Word of God, and even involved in creation. He was also deeply connected with His people Israel. Long before His coming to this world. The Old Testament often speaks about the ‘Angel of the Lord’. Sometimes an angel is just a messenger of God. The ‘Angel of the Lord’ however can also be identified as the Son of God, the Messiah. We all know that Jesus told us: “I and the Father are one” (John. 10:30).
“The Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
When Jakob’s nears the end of his life, he desires to bless his sons: “The angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads;” (Gen. 48:16). The angel of the Lord is not just a messenger here, but he also has authority to redeem and to bless.
After the people of Israel had entered the promised land, the Bible says: “Now the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim. I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; I will never break My covenant with you” (Judges 2:1). The angel is apparently deeply connected with God’s covenant with Israel. This reminds us of the book of Isaiah, where God says to the coming Servant of the Lord: “And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, to restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages” (Isaiah 49:8). We know that the Servant of the Lord is the Messiah, the Redeemer of Israel. He is also the founder of the new covenant. So even before His coming as Jesus the Son of Mary, He was present among His people as the angel of the Lord, the Son of God. This is so wonderful.
“And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, to restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages”
The prophet Zechariah says: ‘Then the angel of the Lord said, “O Lord of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for
Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” The Lord answered the angel
who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words’ (Zechariah 1:12-14). Isn’t this wonderful? Here the angel
of the Lord even intercedes for his people Israel before God. This reminds me of what Paul says about Jesus Christ the
Messiah: ‘who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us’ (Romans 8:34). It is apparent that we may identify the angel of the Lord with the Son of God, the Messiah.
This reflects a wonderful and everlasting deep connection between the Son of God and His people Israel. Let’s consider this and amaze ourselves when we celebrate Christmas.