“For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Romans 2: 28-29
Today’s Christian daily devotional
Pressing my arm against the hole in my wool coat, I feel the wind slice through it anyway. I turn to get one more glimpse of my momma. I smile and wave.
The lower part of her mouth begins to tremble. She’s fighting back tears. Even in all my ignorance—there is a sober awareness to that certain look. The dark shadow that always seems to climb slowly from the tip of her brow swooping over her whole face—right before she cries.
My heart aches too much to continue looking on; so I turn to face the shouting voice instead. The abrasive German soldier is snapping orders; gruffly instructing us children which train to enter.
My big sister Ina grabs my arm and we cling to each other rigorously. As long as Ina is with me, I feel safer allowing the flow of the crowd to push us further into the chaos and confusion.
Pulling off my glove, I tuck it deep inside my pocket. Something within me needs to feel the warmth of Ina’s touch. She isn’t wearing her gloves; the Gestapo didn’t give her enough time to find them. Quickly grabbing her hand again, I intertwine my warm fingers with her cold ones.
“We are sisters. We are blood. Let nothing come between us.” I say the words, but the boxcar we are being cattled into is far too noisy for Ina to hear.
Ina shakes her head “yes”. She must have read my lips.
We both heard those words hundreds of times over the years. Our mother always said them when we were fighting over something. Usually, they were a warning that one of us would be getting punished soon. Today, for the first time, they comfort me.
A bit dazed, I look out into the sea of faces and stage lights that make it harder to see. I awaken to the fact that my name is not really Asher and the girl holding my hand isn’t really Ina. We are both just actors in a short dramatic play about the very real horrors of Auschwitz.
We take our bow to break for intermission. Clutching my hand over the faded yellow star sewn carefully onto my wardrobe, the heart that beats beneath it is forever changed.
It makes no difference that my actual bloodline heritage is Japanese and Lithuanian. My heart is permanently interconnected to another part of my humanity—my Jewish brothers and sisters.
When I read Romans 2:28-29 my heart leaped within me. For the first time, the drawing of my heart towards a people rich in such a complex heritage of pain and oppression started to make some kind of sense.
The day I asked Jesus into my heart was the day I fell into a deeper love with the very people that God had made an ancient covenant with.
Who is a Jew in the eyes of God? According to Romans 2:29 a Jew is any man or woman who values the praise of God and not men. One who worships God in the depths of their heart and not by the letter of the law.
Many of my traditional Jewish friends find this New Testament verse offensive. But, then again, many ancient scribes and Pharisees found Jesus very offensive, too.
Jesus Himself never contradicted any of the Old Testament laws. He said that He came in order to complete them–by bringing them full circle.
When the Messiah was to come, it was promised that the laws of God would be inscribed on the hearts of those who believed in Him. This explains the sudden compulsion to not offend God when one asks Jesus into their heart.
The God of the universe is not just the God of the Jewish people. He is the God of all humanity, for as it is clearly stated in Genesis, we are all made in the image of Him.
Are you ready to be changed forever? If you make Jesus the Messiah a part of your heart; you will never be the same again. Isn’t that the blessing we are all looking for?
“Dear Heavenly Father,
For years I have heard the name of Jesus. But, I have closed my mind and shut Him out. I was never interested in the “God of the weak”.
Today, I humble myself before you. I understand that as human beings, we are all weak. We all come short of the glory of God. I won’t pretend that I will eventually figure out where my soul will rest for eternity. I am through wrestling with myself about it.
You said in your word that if we repent of our sins, believe with our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord that you would cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Lord, I need that kind of cleansing today.
I am tired of carrying the burden of my sin. It has only gotten more heavy and burdensome over the years. Today, I give it to you.
Jesus, come into my heart and make yourself at home in me. Cleanse me of my sin; I make you Lord of my life. Please guide me in all that I do, show me how much you love me, and open my heart to receive the depths of your love. Amen.”
*In memory of every life that was snuffed short in the name of God. To the survivors—please remember that the lips of evil never speak with integrity.
Thank you for reading today’s Christian daily devotional on verses: Romans 2: 28-29
Please check back and see what we have for you tomorrow!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan