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Thoughts on Unity

Thoughts on Unity

Since I was a child, I’ve been studying the Torah. I attended Hebrew school two days a week in addition to regular school and synagogue, keeping me rather busy for a kid. Yet even then, as I read the stories of the Jewish personalities, the characters came alive, leaped off the pages, and affected me deeply. Over time, my appreciation for the holy text has only grown.

Something I particularly love about the entire Bible is the way the Hebrew texts parallel so much of the New Testament. The books are not isolated stories but rather part of a vast tapestry of God’s design. Prophecies come to pass, and sometimes history repeats itself. The narrative arc rises and lands beautifully. And the result is a story of wholeness and harmony for all of God’s people —

  • a call for unity and peace.

God of the How and When Online Bible Study


When Jesus (or Yeshua, His Hebrew name) came to earth, the children of Israel had been on the lookout for the prophesied Savior. He didn’t look the way many expected him to, and he certainly didn’t preach in ways that satisfied many Jewish religious authorities (the Pharisees and Sadducees). But perhaps most surprising of all was Yeshua’s plan for the salvation of all mankind — not just the Jews. Jews expected Gentiles to experience salvation with the coming of the Messiah. What was radically different about the message of the issue in the kingdom was that Gentiles could be saved as Gentiles and would be given full citizenship and an equal inheritance in the Kingdom as Gentiles.

Jesus first came to bring the message of the kingdom to Israel, as He stated:

I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. — Matthew 15:24 NASB

Yet He also clarified that He was sent because “God so loved the world” (John 3:16 niv). Salvation is of the Jews (John 4) but not exclusively for them. Paul wrote that the Gospel

is the power of God unto salvation... to the Jews first, and also to the Greek. — Romans 1:16 KJV

Yeshua went out of His way to make this message clear — to bring salvation to the entire world, unifying the Jew and Gentile in the Kingdom of God.

In some ways, Gentiles have always been a part of God’s story. When Moses parted the Red Sea to make a way for the children of Israel to escape Egypt, Jewish tradition makes note of the Erev Rav: those not of Jewish descent who chose to escape alongside the Children of Israel. Perhaps most notably, even the Savior’s lineage includes four important and faithful Gentile women: Tamar, Rahab Ruth, and Bathsheba. To be the ancestor of Yeshua is no small part to play in the story of humankind. Yet there were, and have always been, barriers between the Gentile in the Jew. Today, Gentiles are not full members of the Jewish community and cannot participate in many things unless they convert.

Galatians 3:28 proclaims,

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

And no better story reveals the importance of unity in Christ than that of Cornelius and Peter.

In the book of Acts, in the early days of the Gospel being spread, Cornelius was a Roman centurion — a Gentile — who had a vision of an angel of the Lord. The angel told him to send people to Joppa to find Peter. In the meantime, Peter had his own vision:

[Peter] became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they were preparing something, he fell into a trance. He saw the Heavens opened, and something like a great sheet coming down, lowered by its four corners to the earth. In it were all sorts of four-footed animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 

A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
But Peter said, “Certainly not, Lord! For never have I eaten anything unholy or unclean.”
Again a voice came to him, a second time: “What God has made clean, you must not consider unholy.” This happened three times, and the sheet was immediately taken up to Heaven. — Acts 10:10–16 TLV

Soon, men arrived where Peter was, asking him to return to Cornelius’s house. Upon arriving there, seeing a large crowd, and hearing of Cornelius’s experience, he said, “’You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean’” (niv). Their corresponding visions helped Peter to see that God does not favor one over another, and the Holy Spirit came to those who listened that day.

Cornelius’s vision flew in the face of what Judaism taught, but it served to bring unity — Jew, and Gentile together as followers of Yeshua.

This unity of God’s people created a wildfire of transformation. I hold firmly to the fact that God’s presence, power, and provision are in direct proportion to the unity of His people.

I believe one of the reasons we don’t see the kind of revival we desire is because Adam and Eve, Jew and Gentile, are not partnering together. They are not unified. We cannot be genuinely fruitful without each other.

Jesus gave us the Great Commission. He said,

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. — Matthew 28:19–20 NKJV, emphasis added

We can’t fulfill Yeshua’s command if we are apart from each other. In a sorely divided world, may we, as God’s people, work harder in unity to accomplish our assigned mission.

by Rabbi Jason Sobel, co-author with Kathie Lee Gifford of The God of the Way.

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Your Turn

Aren’t you glad God came in human flesh to save not only His chosen people but also Gentiles? He came to bring unity and peace and that’s His overarching goal for us. Come share your thoughts with us about being unified. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily