The discussion this week is about MJ having an intelligent message for promoting Yeshua-faith. It is about the cause of representing hope and faith in the Jewish community and showing that there is a better way to live and know God and love people. And I do believe that in every way, in every form of Jewish expression, Yeshua is needed. There isn’t any aspect of Judaism that isn’t taken to greater heights by the realization of who Yeshua is and knowing his kingdom teaching.
But there is a very good reason why MJ doesn’t do well at representing Yeshua to the Jewish community (a reason I will share after the jump).
Meanwhile, we’ve had lots of great discussion. I want to point out in particular a comment by Rabbi Joshua Brumbach (which I will respond to):
I think we are first and foremost to be a representative presence of Yeshua within the Jewish community. We are a community of faith and our promoting Yeshua-faith to the wider Jewish community should come as a natural outgrowth of that. It is secondary (yet still imperative) to our existence as a holy remnant within, and as a part of, greater Israel.
I also want to point out a comment by Bob Williams:
I think many of us in MJ circles would like to see much more of a “Relationship Evangelism” aka “Lifestyle Evangelism” but too many of our people are not in relationships of any sort with Jewish non-Yeshua-believers. Its hard to influence those you never interact with in any meaningful way. (Perhaps an even bigger problem here is that for “Relationship Evangelism” to work, there must be evidence of transformation in the lives of our people. Sometimes when I look around I wonder what’s supposed to be so attractive here.)
Great thoughts. Now let’s talk about how to have a message.
The reason MJ doesn’t do well at representing Yeshua is simple. It was in yesterday’s gospel reading (John 7:14-36):
. . . if any man is willing to do his will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.
We don’t represent Yeshua well because we don’t emphasize living the kingdom as Yeshua taught it.
SUBSTITUTE #1: Weekly meetings and lively musical worship. This is all good, but it’s not the main point.
SUBSTITUTE #2: Torah study / Bible reading / online study for inspiration and social interaction / reading books. This is input. Where is the output?
SUBSTITUTE #3: Feeling like we are right and others are wrong, as if being “right” is what the kingdom is about.
When will our Jewish people know the words of Yeshua are true?
You know the answer if you been engaging in “Substitute #2.” It will happen when we get caught doing the will of the Father.
KINGDOM LIVING #1: Have weekly meetings where people are empowered to form community, to live on a higher plane of love and deeds of kindness, and to make a difference so that our goal is to make this world more like the world to come.
KINGDOM LIVING #2: Read the Torah, the gospels and Acts (in particular, but the whole Bible as well) in order to do what it says and the doing is more important than the learning.
KINGDOM LIVING #3: Be busy doing right and don’t worry about being right.
When we are more know for what we do than what we believe, we will have a message.
So, in part, then, I agree with Rabbi Joshua’s statement cited above. And I agree with Bob Williams’ statement. We need to get busy being the holy remnant. We need to ask, as Bob Williams is asking, “I wonder what’s supposed to be so attractive here.”
Just so no one thinks I am still only being theoretical, let me mention a huge list of things that doing the kingdom includes. The point of this list is not to limit what doing the kingdom means, but to give some practical guidelines and pointers. Your applications of Yeshua’s kingdom teachings will no doubt grow over the years as you study Torah and gospel:
Live in forgiving community — work for Tikkun Olam — feed hungry people and clothe naked people — be a person in the workplace who helps people with problems — use possessions to help people — know and be able to explain the world to come — care for children — be strong in marital and family love — give tzedaka (alms) — pray with a vision to work that the prayers would come true — develop Middot (the measures of Torah character) — heal relationships — visit lonely or needy people — share hospitality deliberately and often — help people harmed by injustice — confess wrongs — teach children — volunteer — give up control — serve in every situation and do not look to be served — pay off debts so you’ll have more to give — live simply and joyfully — support others in community with cooperation and participation — be of high integrity in your work and social interactions — and any other applications which come out of your regular reading and prayer.