In these uncertain time many are asking, ‘When will revival come?’ We read in Matthew’s Gospel that Yeshua (Jesus) first began His ministry by preaching, ”Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”(Matt. 4:17 NET) Mark’s Gospel states His proclaiming the Good News as, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the gospel!” (Mark 1:15 NET) If we take what Yeshua (Jesus) described the Good News as being, the message His followers should be preaching is "the Kingdom of God is near. Turn away from looking to this world and its powers as a priority and ..But above all pursue His kingdom and righteousness....” (Matt. 6:33 NET) In the prayer our Lord taught His disciples, we learn to pray for His Kingdom rule to come to earth. (Matt. 6:10) We also know that He will judge the earth for the wickedness that will prevail before He returns to earth to establish His rule and reign as King of His kingdom on earth located in Israel with Jerusalem as its capital.
The 15th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel provides very poignant account of a Canaanite woman, a gentile, calling to Yeshua (Jesus) to heal her daughter who was demon possessed and suffering horribly. His decisive refusal to hear her request until His disciples brought her continual plea to focus and then His reply has always been one that has captivated my attention for decades. He said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matt. 15:24 NET) By His own definition, He is the Messiah of Israel. So why did Yeshua decide to heal her daughter? Her response was one of trusting in His ultimate calling to save the world, thus gentiles who are clearly not the chosen. But when they acknowledge their position in relationship to His chosen, trusting in Him as Messiah, healing and salvation will result. All throughout the Hebrew Scriptures we read that Israel was chosen to be a light to the gentiles. Does that mean that only Jews can be saved? Not at all! But by election, it is through them and their Messiah the world would be redeemed.
Paul, the apostle to the gentiles made this plea to them in Romans 11 to remember that it is only because the unbelieving branches of the Vine (Israel) were cut off making room for those wild ones, gentiles, to be grafted in that they are blessed. He warned them to take heed not to embrace pride in that and forget the true Vine, but to accept the assignment of taking the good news of their Messiah to them as then they will be easily grafted back into their own Vine, one they understand in its fullness once Messiah is embraced, even more than the gentiles who are of another culture and not of the promise apart from the precious blood of Messiah.
In Matthew 16 we read the account of Yeshua (Jesus) asking His disciples first who people said He was and then finally what Simon Peter said He was. When Simon acclaimed Him to be the Messiah of Israel, Son of the Living God, Yeshua (Jesus) blessed him and changed his name to Peter as this revelation didn’t come to him by natural means but by Father God Himself. Thus, on that rock Yeshua (Jesus) would build His community. Immediately following that, Yeshua (Jesus) began to prepare His disciples for the way He would suffer, be killed and raised to life. It is very interesting to see that right after receiving divine revelation about Yeshua’s identity and purpose, Peter spoke from his worldly understanding and rebuked the Messiah for speaking of His destiny.
The next important declaration Yeshua (Jesus) spoke weighs very heavy on my soul. Speaking to Peter, the one who was just lifted up as a true insightful follower of truth as he understood Yeshua to be Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus) proclaimed, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me because you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.”(Matt. 16:23 NET)
Wow! When I look at many of Messiah’s followers today, I see how far many of us have come from the true gospel of turning from the political agenda of this world and its influence and confusing it with the Kingdom of God that is totally other than the powers and systems of this world. In doing so, have His followers become a stumbling block to Him in His desire to bring revival? The next verse cites Yeshua (Jesus) instructing His disciples in how they are to live saying, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it. For what does it benefit a person if he gains the whole world but forfeits his life? Or what can a person give in exchange for his life.? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” (Matt. 16:24-27 NET)
So, my question remains. When will revival come? Historically, has it come when faithful followers were praying fervently for revival? Or is it more accurate to recall that revival has come when it was truly needed, when those who thought they were following in their Master’s footsteps were indeed walking in the ways of the world? Does the Lord hear the prayers of His people? Yes, He does. But His ways and His thoughts are higher than ours and His purpose and agenda is not like ours. It is my belief that the truly merciful One will bring yet another revival before He returns to first judge the earth and then recreate it where He will rule as King. His desire is for His chosen ones, Israel, to be know their Messiah and be redeemed and that the full number of the other peoples of the earth who have a heart to embrace Him and be grafted into His beloved Messianic Israel, will respond before that day.
What will our response to Him be? Will we deny ourselves and our lofty position to be His ambassadors to His beloved Israel? Will we embrace suffering and persecution for the sake of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? Or will we continue to propagate the political agenda of this world and call it something it truly Scripturally is not?