By Not Known
Unlike the apostle Peter, the apostle Paul was called specifically to share the Gospel with non-Jews, i.e. Gentiles. Despite that, Paul earnestly and intensely desired non-believing Jews to receive salvation as well. Therefore, wherever he went, in the course of his missionary journeys, he would stop by at synagogues to share the good news with his own fellow Jews.
This earnest and intense desire of Paul was evident from the great sorrow and unceasing anguish in his heart. He earnestly and intensely desired that the non-believing Jews, who were in effect rebelling against God by rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, would open their hearts to the Gospel (vv1-3). He wished he himself were the one cursed or cut off from Christ for the sake of his people in order that they be saved.
Why was Paul willing to give himself in exchange for the salvation of the non-believing Jews? The reason was the non-believing Jews did not treasure the privilege given to Jews, as God’s chosen people in which from them was traced the human ancestry of the Messiah (vv4-5). Not only did they not treasure the privilege, they were in effect living in disobedience to God by not believing in Jesus as their Messiah. They were proud, and they crucified the Messiah instead of being thankful to God for this privilege.
Moses had the same intense and earnest desire as Paul for the Israelites to be saved. Moses appealed to God to forgive his fellow Jews’ sin of unbelief in God, by their rebellious substitution of God with idols and attributing their salvation to the idols. Moses, deeply grieved, implored God to forgive their sin, otherwise to blot him out of the book He had written (Ex. 32:31-32).
How earnest and intense is our desire for others who do not know Christ or who reject Christ to be saved? Are we willing to sacrifice our time, energy, money, etc. to reach out to them? Let us learn from Paul and Moses in their earnest and intense desire for others to be saved. An English preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92), which deserve our contemplation said: “This great passion for souls gave Paul perspective. Lesser things did not trouble him because he was troubled by a great thing – the souls of men. ‘Get love for the souls of men – then you will not be whining about a dead dog, or a sick cat, or about the crotchets of a family, and the little disturbances that John and Mary may make by their idle talk. You will be delivered from petty worries (I need not further describe them) if you are concerned about the souls of men … Get your soul full of a great grief, and your little griefs will be driven out….’ ” (Spurgeon’s Sermon, Vol. 4; 1878)