Mike Novotny - Jesus Was Exclusive AND Inclusive
I'm standing here today, on the Mount of Olives and I'm thinking about people. Really different kinds of people. And behind me, you can see really powerful, passionate symbols of different religions and beliefs that exist here in this world. I mean, directly behind me and all around me, are 150,000 Jewish graves put on the Mount of Olives so that Jewish bodies could be raised when the Messiah returns. That's what they believe. Behind me, you can see the golden dome. That's the Dome of the Rock, a very famous Muslim holy site. That's where really different beliefs are practiced, where a different kind of God is believed in.
And in fact, the conflict between the Muslim people and the Jewish people has been so intense historically, that there's something interesting over here on these walls. Where those two arches are was the ancient Eastern Gate. Many Jewish people believe that when the Messiah came back, He would pass through that gate and go up to the Temple. So do you know what the Muslims did in that time? They bricked it up. They dared the Jewish Messiah to come on through. And then in front of it, they planted hundreds, maybe thousands of their own graves so that the dead bodies would make the resurrected Jews unclean.
It just reminds me that when Jesus lived there was just as much tension. The Pharisees and the Sadducees were at each others' throats. The Zealots and the Herodians would literally, kill each other. Religion, politics, so many things makes people so passionate and so divided. And into a world like that, Jesus spoke these words, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal live".
Jesus was so radically exclusive and so incredibly inclusive. He said that to have eternal life, you have to believe in Him as the Messiah, the Lord, the crucified and risen Son of God. And yet, what did He say? That, that love, that Savior was for the world. For Jewish people, Muslim people, Palestinian people, guys of German and Czech descent, 6'2" caucasian guys, Hmong people, Mexican people, all people. It doesn't matter who you are, where you're from, how you grew up, what you believed. You can turn to Jesus and find eternal life.
And I know that message will still divide us. Just as Jesus was divisive. But this place reminds me that the divisions we see in religions, philosophies of people, they're not new. And yet, there's still this amazing God who loves the world so much that He has waited, He's waited for people to repent and believe in Jesus. I hope you do. So that when the Messiah does return, when the dead are raised, you can see His smiling face and live with Him forever. It's a powerful message that we learn right here on the Mount of Olives.