“Do not trust yourself until the day of your death” and
“Do not judge your fellow creature until you have come into his position
In this journey that I am on there is one thing that I am doing my best to understand when it comes the teachings of Jesus the Rabbi. In order to do this I know that I must understand the Jewishness of Jesus and his teachings from a Jewish perspective.
Understanding this can be quite confusing at times… it’s easy to get caught up in words and terminology. For example, what is the differences between Jewishness and Judaism? As I understand there is Judaism and there’s Jewishness and the two are not one in the same.
Judaism if it had a definition would be the message of the Torah, “the teachings” and how the Law is applied to ones life. The Torah is the core teaching upon which everything else rests. That’s the short version and that dosn’t do it justice.
Jewishness is that definition of what it means to be Jewish or be a Jew. To be Jewish means to belong to an ancient tribe or peoples, by either birth (maternal, this goes back to Sarai & Hagar otherwise Ishmael would have been considered a Jew) or by adoption. These ancient peoples are considered a unique tribe, one with a special identity who are ageless.
Tribes have rituals and the Jews being an ancient tribe are no different. The Jew wears the Tzitzit (which I have written about before), they wrap leather boxes containing parchment scrolls on the heads and arms every morning, while robed in woolen sheets with more of those tzitzit tassels. And there are many more things they do to remain unique and ageless like the teachings (Torah) they preserve.
I read all kinds of stuff where Jews tell Gentiles that the “ritual stuff” was never meant to be universal teaching, it was only meant to define or set a part a unique group of peoples. The particular rituals in their Jewish form, as meaningful as they are to the Jew, was not meant for someone outside the tribe to take them on. “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner.” (Num 15:38). “Tell them” indicates that this was only for the people of Israel and I get that…
I read this statement in an article online and the Jewish writer said, “I believe that what G-d wants from each person is that s/he examine the heritage of his ancestors, discover the truths hidden there and live in accordance with them, knowing that this is what his Creator wants from her/him.”
So here’s the confusion, to be a Jew one must either a) be born of a Jewish mother or b) be adopted, right. With that said, if one was adopted into a family or a tribe (think Dances With Wolves here) not matter where they were from, their heritage, the customs they held, or their rituals, wouldn’t they be expected to take on the rituals, customs etc from their new adopted tribe?
The writer also wrote, “G-d decides who you are, and the best you can do is discover it.”
That’s exactly the fruit of this journey and what I know from G-d is that Romans 11 tells me that being a Gentile (not a Jew by birth) I am grafted into the very tree that the Jews come from (see Romans 11:13-27). So if the Gentile is “grafted” into the tree, is that tree the family tree? And if it is the family tree, does the term grafted mean adopted?
Side note: The word gentile used in Romans 11:13 comes from the Greek word ethnos and ethnos comes from the Hebrew word ger. In Genesis 12:2, God tells Abraham that he will make him into a great nation. The word nation here in the Hebrew is the root word goy gadol, goy is also the root word for ger meaning Gentile. From the very beginning was it God’s plan to include the Gentile into His people? According to scripture, most likely.
So back to the Jewishness of Jesus, Yeshua was a Jew who loved the Torah so by the definition above He followed Judaism, right. But I’m not convinced He followed Judaism as we know it.
And so the Journey goes on……
Today’s blog is only a question I kick around in my head the more and more I study and become passionate about the remnant of God.
Who carries the bigger burden? Is it the Jew who has been entrusted with the oracles of God, or is it the Gentile who has been entrusted to share the gospel with the Jew? Which of these is the bigger burden?
http://bible.us/Rom3.2.ESV - “Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.”
http://bible.us/Rom11.11.ESV - “So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.”
Maybe the answer is in the calling?
http://bible.us/Rom11.29.ESV - “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable”
This isn’t speaking of the calling on one’s life to be in the ministry etc., this is speaking about the covenant that God made with the Israelite and His calling to entrust them with the Torah, the oracles of God.
Well here it is finally, part 2 of the “The Old vs The New”. I’ve been trying to write this for what seems like days now but just haven’t felt it… but today I feel like writing.
This scripture that we are going to look at today, I mentioned in Part 1 of”The Old vs The New”
Matthew 22:40 - “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” http://bible.us/Matt22.40.ESV (note the NIV says, All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments)
Now, I don’t want to be long with this entry so I hope I can cover this one fairly shortly.
The misconception that is drawn from Jesus’ words here is that now there are only two commandments that matter, that all the other ones are null in void because of these two new ones to love God and love our neighbors. That’s it these two replace all the other ones, they are the only ones that matter, we couldn’t be more wrong.
What we really need to do is take this scripture into context with what is taking place between Jesus and the Pharisees. Understanding what is taking place is paramount to understanding what Jesus is saying. You see the Pharisees were so distinguished from other sects in their rigid observant of the Law that they wanted to prove it by their knowledge of the Law. In their attempt to prove their understanding of the Law due to their rivalry with the Sadducees, they try to get Jesus (who was close to the Pharisees) to show the Sadducees that the Pharisees were the elite religious group.
What Jesus does then is that he quotes from the Shema that is a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer because all observant Jews consider the Shema to be the most important part of Jewish prayer. Originally, the Shema consisted only of one verse: Deuteronomy 6:4 The recitation of the Shema in the liturgy, however, consists of three portions found in Deuteronomy 6:4–9. The three portions relate to central issues of Jewish belief.
The following verses in Deuteronomy 6:5 , commonly referred to by the first word of the verse immediately following the Shema as the V’ahavta, meaning “And you shall love…”, contain the commands to love God (the Talmud emphasizes that you will, at some point, whether you choose to or not therefor “shall” future tense, love God), with all one’s heart, soul, and might; then the verse goes on to remind you to remember all commandments.
So Jesus isn’t telling the Pharisees here in http://bible.us/Matt22.40.ESV that these two commandments replace all the others, He is saying that the Shema the beginning exhortation of the first of his two greatest commandments: “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” He then says the rest of the commandments follow these two.
The two greatest commandments don’t replace the others… they are not a “New Covenant”, so they don’t replace the “Old”. It is all still one Law, a Law Jesus came to interpret correctly. Jesus was commanding them to walk in love for it is the Shema that drives the Jew to walk in love with God and each other. The Shema leads the Jew to true obedience to God. Jesus is saying here that true obedience to God & His commandments is only possible when it is done out of a love for God and for each other, you can not complete the rest of the commandments if you can’t love God and each other.
See 2 John 6