The holiday, Yom Yerushalayim, “Jerusalem Day” always reminds me of the T-shirt my grandmother bought me when she went to Jerusalem in 1987. (We men keep clothes way too long.)
Printed in English, Hebrew, and Arabic, the T-shirt celebrated “The 20th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem.” Yom Yerushalayim is a Jewish holiday annually celebrating the first time the Jews controlled Jerusalem since the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in AD 70.
Now almost 70 years since the beginning of the State of Israel, the land has just as much tension and heartache as ever. And much of the conflict cloaks its true motives in the name of religion.
One day in Jerusalem I saw a humorous sign that tried to bridge that religion gap.
Coexistence—Always a Peace Process
Outside the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, I remember seeing a banner draped across a bridge. The sign included a creative blend of images and letters that formed a word.
- An Islamic crescent moon represented the first letter, C.
- Then after the letters o and e came the Star of David, which symbolized the letter X.
- After two more letters, i and s, the word ended with a Christian cross, signifying the letter T.
- Putting it all together, it read “CoeXisT.”
I shook my head when I saw it. The banner’s suggestion that Islam, Judaism and Christianity can coexist in the Holy Land—or anywhere, for that matter—makes great fodder for political speeches. But it only ends up working itself out in wars and rumors of wars.
Peace among contradicting worldviews always sounds like a good idea until someone breaks into your home and threatens your family. At that point, the course of action is plain: peace comes from violent protection.
“Long Live the Nuts!”
During Israel’s 1947-48 struggle for independence, only one place in Jerusalem enjoyed the peaceful coexistence of Jews and Arabs—the government insane asylum.
A delegate of the International Red Cross, Jacques de Reynier, saw the patients’ lack of concern for the conflict in Jerusalem. He scribbled in his diary three words: “Vive les fous!”—“Long live the nuts!”
How ironic that in a fallen world, only the insane enjoyed peace during the war.
Peace Comes from a Person
Jesus described “the Times of the Gentiles”—that is, Gentile domination of Jerusalem—coming to an end only when He comes to rule the world from Jerusalem (Luke 21:24 ff.). For example, today:
- Jerusalem still has a Muslim shrine on the Temple Mount.
- The city still is divided into four quarters—a division that dates to the second century.
- Israel is still dependent on foreign allies for assistance with national security.
- Only a remnant of God’s people have accepted their Messiah, Jesus.
How wonderful Yom Yerushalayim will be when Isaiah’s words find their ultimate fulfillment in the only source of peace—a Person:
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. —Isaiah 9:6
Tell me what you think: What do you think peace requires most of all? To leave a comment, just click here.
This post is adapted from Wayne’s book, Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus: A Journey Through the Lands and Lessons of Christ.
• Enjoy an engaging, inspiring, and humorous travelogue that mingles the life-changing truths of Jesus with a walking tour of the Holy Land.
• Experience the Holy Land through the sights, sounds, and tastes of this personal travelogue, and discover how these sacred places influenced the lessons Jesus taught.
You will discover lessons Jesus has for your life.