Both Jews and Muslims need the Prince of Peace this Christmas

By December 25, 2023

Israel/Gaza (MNN) — Over the last week, we’ve shared reflections from several ministry partners in conflict zones on Isaiah 9:6. This prophetic verse lists the titles of Jesus, including ‘Prince of Peace.’

For our final Christmas Day reflection, we spoke with Pastor Israel Pochtar of Beit Hallel Congregation in Ashdod.

When talking about peace, the region of Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank may be the last place you’d think of. The war between Israel and Hamas rages on. Peace seems like a fool’s hope.

(Photo courtesy of Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

Yet, Pastor Pochtar says peace is something Israelis deeply long for.

“When this disaster happened [on October 7], everyone knew we have no choice. We need to protect ourselves because Hamas is saying, ‘We will recover and we will do October 7 again and again and again until we destroy Israel.’ They really speak not just of attacking [soldiers], but about all the violence and raping women and killing children and targeting civilians. Not targeting soldiers — targeting civilians.

“Israel is very sorry that we need to fight this war. But, once again, we have no choice. So in this moment, many people cry to God.”

Beyond regional peace, the spiritual peace of Jesus Christ is needed now more than ever in Israel and beyond. Earlier this month, Beit Hallel Congregation gathered a few hundred people in Jerusalem where Pastor Pochtar preached the Gospel through the Christmas message.

christmas, sammy tippit, unsplash

(Photo courtesy of Robert Thiemann/Unsplash

“The message about who the Messiah is and what the Messiah is going to do — that He’s going to bring peace — is very relevant and very powerful…. We’re using the Scriptures to show people the Messiah surely will come to rule the world. But right now, He can come to your heart and rule in your heart and give you peace and shalom.”

Only 1.3% of Israelis know Jesus as the Messiah, and roughly 97% have never heard the Gospel, according to The Joshua Project. The stats aren’t any better in Gaza and the West Bank, where 99% of the people have never heard the Gospel.

Christ’s peace is needed both for Jewish Israelis and their Muslim neighbors.

“Real peace can only be through ‘Sar Shalom’ — the Prince of Shalom, Prince of Peace. That’s what we all need,” says Pochtar.

“So when you pray, when you speak, when you encourage people to help Israel, please include Arabs because they are a very important part of God’s plan.”

Pray today for the Prince of Peace to touch hearts across the Holy Land.






Header photo courtesy of Dariusz Kanclerz/Unsplash.

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