Israel Day 1: Masada

Susanne and I (Ray) got to share a presentation on 4/30/23 during Sunday School highlighting some of the amazing places we visited while in Israel. We only got about half way through the presentation. There is so much more to share. Hopefully we will get a chance to finish what we started.

The first day we were there we visited Masada. It was once a get away built and developed by Herod the great. He spent what today would be millions of dollars for yet another palace. After it was abandoned, it became a place for some sects of Jews to go and get away from Rome and the world. They used it as a way to isolate themselves and live a life of devotion to God. Later the Romans spent 3 years seeking to conquer the people of Masada. They held the Romans off during that time, but eventually it was clear they could no longer do so. It is widely believed that the Jews ended up committing suicide rather than be conquered and killed by the Romans. That is one story. There are other theories as to what really happened.  What ever the case, we can learn some important lessons from these Jews who devoted themselves to seclusion.
1) Yes, as Christ followers, we are called to be holy and separate, but not to the point that we completely separate ourselves from society. We are called to be in the world, but not of the world and we are to be a source of light and love to this world so they can see Jesus.
2) Are we willing to be wholly sold out and committed to the point that we are willing to truly lay down our lives and take our our crosses and follow Jesus? Say what you will about the people of Masada, they were committed to their cause. Are we? Are we serious about following Jesus?

Mark 8:34-36 ESV / And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

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