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"To believe in Jesus as Messiah means to submit to a particular historic context starting with Abraham and ending at Jerusalem when Jesus of Nazareth was hung upon a Cross for the sins of the world and was raised from the dead to the glory of God the Father."

[Jakob Jocz, The Jewish People and Jesus Christ after Auschwitz, p. 215]

Messianic Realities

by Paul Sumner

Messianic believers live in-between lives — in between two worlds.

Their soul is pulled in two directions. One leads toward the peacefulness and enriching fellowship of Yeshua's disciples, whether they're Jewish or Gentile. The other is toward the familiar, deep homeyness of Jewish culture and ancient piety in which Yeshua grew up.

It's tough living in-between. You experience the same discrimination, fears and hardships that each group experiences. When Christians are targets, you are a target; when Jews and Israelis are targets, you are not spared.

Painfully, the Christian and Jewish communities (there are exceptions) won't allow you to seek common refuge among them from all these spiritual and material wars. They'll tolerate your presence, for a time. But you aren't really one of their group. You're an alien, a ger, a meshumad. You should go somewhere else.

But God created us all for kehilah, koinonia, community.

It is not good for any man or woman to be alone on this earth. We need people who understand our worldview, our sorrows and joys, who can pray with us, and who will welcome us to their table. We need intellectual and spiritual stimulation. None of us can go without a full of spectrum of food.

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Given these realities, there's need for a place to write openly about insights, topics, and controversies that can't be discussed elsewhere — without having to translate everything into the dee-cee (doctrinally correct) dialects of denominational churchanity or the code words used to conceal one's identity in the shul or JCC.

We have urgent need to open ourselves to deep biblical truths that will erode our encrusted sandy foundations and force us to rebuild on rock.

Both the Synagogue and the Church have burdened us with centuries of misinterpretations of Scripture and filled our souls with emotional, cultural debris and treife. Much of it has to be swept, washed, burned away, like dirt and weeds.

Isn't that what being a true disciple is about anyway? To be new people in a New Kingdom under the New King?

Messianic life is halutz life; it's frontier work. Building spiritual kibbutzim and moshavim isn't always comfortable or safe. It never was for Yeshua or for the first disciples.

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What we experience isn't a new, "strange thing" (1 Peter 4:12). And of course none of it is a surprise to God. We'll be better blessed if we remember that it's always in the howling wilderness where God is most present.

Jeremiah described Israel's sojourn in the Wilderness as their honeymoon with God; "I remember…the love of your betrothals" (2:2).

Yet out in the outlands of the world, we ourselves can be oases for, and bridges between, people.

For we have a Message about the God who seeks and redeems human beings — Jewish or Gentile — through the One whom God sent to suffer, endure, atone, and come back to life. So that anyone who associates with Yeshua the crucified Jew, the Son of Man, can be also raised with him, into fullness of life.

א) As his followers, we can help Jews to not mistrust or hate Christians and help them distinguish Yeshua from what "Christianity" has often done to the Jewish people in his name.

) We can help Christians by urging them to abandon their restrictive denominationalism and embrace a "Romans 11 Faith," which will melt their suspicion, resentment, and contempt toward Jews.

ג) We can also rescue Muslims by pointing them to the biblical Yeshua [Arabic, Isa], the true peacemaker and sin-forgiver; the only one who is merciful to God's enemies — including sinful, hate-filled Muslims themselves.

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Of course, we also have a mandate to testify to God and to Messiah's liberating atonement to everyone else.

We must be mindful of the prophecy that "people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation" are invited (and many will come) into "the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah" (Revelation 5:9; 11:15).

If we accept the Scriptural charge that we are ambassadors in the Midbar to clear the way and rebuild the roads so people can return (or come for the first time) to Zion (Isaiah 62:10), let's remember the Goal amid the heat and dust and isolation.

To be faithful to Messiah's vigorous calling to walk with him demands creative courage and confidence in the source of help that his first halutzim/disciples called upon in their day: "the Lord stood with me and strengthened [hazak] me" (2 Timothy 4:17).

Contact Paul Sumner

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