In our last visit I suggested we reflect on what Paul shared about his passion for his Israelite brothers. Listen to chapter 9:1-4, “I speak the truth in Christ – I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit – I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.”
This is hard to understand. That’s why he shared his heart’s passion. He’s essentially saying, “I swear by the name of Christ that I am telling you the truth,” then adds, “I am not lying.” Then he affirms, the Holy Spirit and his conscience are in agreement on what he is saying. He has great sorrow or grief, the kind you feel when a loved one dies. He intensifies this by saying his grief was bringing him great sorrow and anguish.
What was breaking his heart? His brothers were missing out on the relationship with Christ he personally had come to know. Everything was provided for them to have this relationship, but they missed it! Paul so passionately desired it for them, he said, if it were possible he was willing to be cut off from Christ if that would bring them into this relationship.
He could not do this, according to the close of chapter 8, but if he could, he would be willing. That’s how much he cared. How much do you care about your loved ones and the lost you encounter in your daily life?