Just as Jesus wept over Jerusalem,(1) so do His followers weep today. It breaks our hearts to see suicide bombers in the city where Christ was crucified and resurrected, or to see a siege of tanks in Bethlehem at the traditional site of His birth.
Jerusalem is especially dear to my heart, because it was there in 1974 that I surrendered my life to Christ. At that time I was spending summers in the Holy Land working on Bible-study tours led by Roy Gustafson, an associate evangelist with my father.
Roy taught me not only about history and prophecy but also about prayer and ministry. He was a blessing on my life and career, and our second son is named for Roy.
Leading more than 150 trips to the Holy Land, Roy gained a rich understanding of Jerusalem’s place in God’s plan. He often challenged groups with Psalm 122:6: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”(2) Even in those days–which were relatively peaceful compared to today–Roy sensed spiritual warfare.
Roy, while reading the Scriptures and walking the paths that Jesus may have walked, taught the groups that the peace of Jerusalem will never be settled by people. Jesus made it clear that His peace is not political or military: “In Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”(3)
Ultimately, we know, true peace will come to the Holy Land only when the Messiah returns in power and in glory. Certainly signs today indicate that that day could be soon.
Until then, it is our responsibility as Christians to prepare our hearts, witness to Jesus Christ and pray for the salvation of those who–like me all those years ago–seek peace with almighty God.
Today more than half of the world’s population–Christians, Jews and Muslims–consider Jerusalem to be holy. God’s Holy City has the world’s attention, and we should not be surprised if He chooses this moment in history to reveal Himself in a mighty way. Even in the midst of terror and warfare, God is working to prepare His Kingdom and draw all people to His Son, Jesus Christ.
God’s Word promises: “I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.”(4)
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(1) Luke 19:41. (2) Psalm 122:6, NIV. (3) John 16:33, NKJV. (4) Isaiah 65:19, NIV.
Article first appeared in the June 2002 issue of Decision magazine.
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