What we are about to read as we turn the next chapter (though we remember this is a letter with no chapters!) is one of the most moving but also comforting statements in the New Testament for those whose loved ones do not share the same faith journey. In these next few verses we can see the heart of a man who cares for his own people, maybe he thinks of his relatives, his friends, certainly his proud nation. It helps those who are in this frustrating place of longing for loved ones to experience what they have.
“I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through 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 people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” (Romans 9 v 1-5)
“This is how I feel” may well be your response!
This is what Christ did.
This is ‘my anguish’. It is a huge feeling being expressed.
They were adopted.
They had the glory of God in their temple.
They had several covenants of God, even the new covenant that we enjoy was first given to them.
They have the history, His-Story.
You may look at your family pictures hanging on your walls or on the side and write like this.
You weep too.
You know the pain.
You ‘wish’ with all your might you could go to hell for them.
Christ did and today you share in those sufferings for them as you do most days.
It is called intercession.