Reconciliation: A Witness to the Middle East
When you think of the Middle East, what comes to mind? Political division? Hopelessness? Uncertainty? Hostility? If you watch the news headlines, these are the certainly the things come to mind.
But there’s another story in the Middle East–a story of reconciliation and hope, a story in which people across ethnic and political boundaries see the world differently. It’s the story of believers in Jesus coming together to listen to one another and to demonstrate that the gospel breaks down all barriers that we might try to erect.
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As a partnership in the unique position of cooperating with believers in a region torn by political, religious, and ethnic conflict, the JGP seeks to encourage all of its members to pursue the reconciliation that God calls his people to pursue between each other. The JGP is pursuing relationships with diverse partners with the desire to see them work together and build relationships for the sake of the gospel.
We recognize that the process of reconciliation and gospel cooperation is a long and at times difficult one, but we believe that unity in Christ is a powerful testimony in the region to the love of Christ. What follows is a summary of how the JGP approaches reconciliation among all of our partners.
The Foundation of Reconciliation
The Father in heaven has given His only Son to reconcile all those who believe to Himself but also to other believers. Unity is a gift purchased by the life and death of the Messiah (Ephesians 2:11-22).
As any Father desires for His children to love and care for each other, so the Father in heaven commands His children to love one another. Such love is an expression of worship to the Father who loves Arab believers and Jewish believers equally as well as other believers in the land (John 13:34-35; I John 2:5-11; I John 3:14).
Our Purpose in Reconciliation
The purpose of the JGP, in response to God’s Word, is to assist leaders from various believing communities in Israel, Palestine, and surrounding countries to commit to each other and listen to the heart and vision of each leader, seeking to support each other emotionally, and to care for one another in our Savior.
We must recognize the costly commitment that we are asking these leaders to make to do this. Each group has its suspicions of each other. Frequently there have been offenses that each group they represent have grieved others. These leaders represent groups that do not have a natural affinity for one another, and so the only basis on which friendship and fellowship can exist is through the finished work of the Messiah.
Each leader is asked to commit themselves to Matthew 18:15-18, and so to never speak negatively about their brothers without working through the process our Lord commanded. These commitments are essential for the leaders of Israel and Palestine to develop a strategy for ministry of the gospel of God in the land to demonstrate the Lordship of the Messiah (Isaiah 19:24-25). The vision is that the body of believers would be a blessing to all peoples in the land and to the nations. All of this is in submission to the Lord whose name is above all names that His name may be exalted in the region and to the nations.