President Trump has publicly declared his intent to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The reaction has been varied. It has inspired excitement by many Jews and Christians. And of course it has incited anger on the part of many Muslims and Palestinians. It is certainly true that God established Jerusalem as the center of worship for his people. And in that sense, we ought to be thankful that Jerusalem is recognized in that way.
But it does seem that there are other considerations. At this point, Jerusalem is home to Jews, Muslims and Christians. Israel has the historic claim to the city. But how can peace be achieved with such a diverse population? On a recent trip to Israel, I asked our Jewish guide his opinion regarding Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He asserted that it is the true capital of Israel but he also said that Israel has not made this an issue because of their desire to maintain peace in the region. Jerusalem means “city of peace” and we ought to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalms 122:6).
Jesus would enter the city of Jerusalem on his way to the cross. Jesus looked out over the city and he wept. He said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42). They were looking for a military leader to defeat the Romans and usher in an era of peace. But Jesus had come to offer them a greater peace – a peace with God.
And here is the greater danger – that we would look to a political arrangement to secure our peace. True peace will only be found through Jesus. The Bethlehem shepherds had it right those many years ago. On the night of Jesus’ birth they declared “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).
Photo credit: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Israel-2013(2)-Aerial-Jerusalem-Temple_Mount-Temple_Mount_(south_exposure).jpg#mw-jump-to-license