There is in the middle of Paul’s letter to Rome a window into the apostle’s heart. Listen to the passion and urgency of a man who grieves that his own people, blessed in every way, have yet to recognize their Messiah:
I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. (Romans 9:1-5 NKJV)
Do you see the many wonderful things with which God has endowed our brethren of Judah? Paul’s list in this passage is an expansion of his exclamation in Romans 3:1-2 that Jews have great advantage because to them are committed the oracles of God. That is why it is of great advantage to us who are not Jewish to learn from these, our fellow Israelites, who have been studying the Word of God for millennia.
And here is a window into my heart: I grieve that the two portions of God’s people remain separated because of mistrust, misunderstanding, and hefty doses of ignorance and apathy. Jews indeed for the most part reject that Yeshua of Nazareth is Messiah, and I long for the day when their eyes are opened. But what of Christians? Though they embrace Messiah they reject the Torah of God, that very thing which testifies of Messiah, telling us what He has done, what He will do, and the example He expects us to follow. As Yeshua Himself said:
For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? (John 5:46-47 NJKV)
The heart of the matter is that Jews and Christians each have a portion of the revelation of our God, and each walk in a measure of His blessing, but because they each cannot abide one another, they miss out on the full revelation, the full blessing, and the full measure of world-changing power that our Creator has designated for us. Isaiah 11 speaks to this, pointing to the day when the two halves of God’s people, Judah and Ephraim, put aside their differences, humble their hearts, and unite in the Living Torah, Messiah Son of David. This great reunion begins when we start listening to one another, not to find fault, but to find out what we have in common and what we can learn.
Here is one example. The weekly Torah teachings (parshas) by Rabbi David Forhman of Aleph Beta Academy possess a charm and simplicity that ushers the audience masterfully – even surreptitiously – into vast depths of godly wisdom. Indeed they are entertaining, but their worth is far greater than mere entertainment. I have seldom, if ever, encountered such refined and elegant teaching in any church or synagogue. Thus it is my pleasure to share with you a two-part teaching from Rabbi Forhman on the Torah portions Tazria (Leprosy; Leviticus 12:1-13:59) and Metzora (Cleansing the Leper; Leviticus 14:1-15:33). Together these teachings are about 20 minutes, which is less than one episode of Dr. Who or Game of Thrones. Please, set aside your favorite entertainment for an evening and see what our brother of Judah can show us. As you watch, think again of what Paul taught us about how Messiah has grafted all of us into the Commonwealth of Israel (Romans 11, Ephesians 2).
© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2014. Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.