“Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of their robes, to open doors before him— and the gates shall not be closed:” vs. 1
Jerusalem was conquered in about 587 BCE and the leading families were taken into exile in Babylon across the Euphrates River. In 539 BCE the Babylonian Empire was conquered by Cyrus, the leader of the Persians, one of the greatest rulers the world has ever known. Cyrus cultivated a benevolent relationship with the nations he defeated, and in the case of the Israelites, issued a decree that allowed them to return to Jerusalem and Judea. Naturally, the Jews were thankful, and the prophet writes that Cyrus was the anointed, or messiah, of the Lord. This is the same title that had been given to David, and that was later given to Jesus. It’s a reminder that the return from exile was the work of the Lord–it was certainly no accident. It’s a blessing to know that God works in our world with a variety of folks, and not just those who believe as we do. We see this frequently in these times of global migration and the mixing of peoples. We live shoulder to shoulder with Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and many other religious groups. God works through them in good and gracious ways as surely as God works through followers of Jesus. The Body of Christ is greater than we’ve even imagined!
Thought for the Day: A person of another faith in whom I’ve seen Christ.