What didn’t Jesus do?
God hasn't given up on the Jewish people and neither should we. We have to believe that "One New Man" is indeed going to happen in its fullest sense and we can do our bit to clear the way. There is a Jewish tradition at Passover time called Bedikat chametz. It is a search and destroy mission for any leavened bread in the house before the festival is celebrated. The house is scoured from top to bottom with the precision of a military campaign and any bread found is burned. As this leavened bread symbolises the sin in our lives, the intent is clearly to attain some degree of purity.
We too must do the same for the Church. We must search and destroy anything unbiblical that is obstructing our walk with the Lord, particularly that which is born out of pagan minds, starting with Plato.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)
It is time to get right with God and what better way to start than to throw off everything that hinders. It's not going to happen overnight but remember what the ancient Chinese philosopher said, "the longest journey begins with a single step". We have to start somewhere and later on I will provide some pointers.
The "One New Man" movement has always concentrated on the restoration of the Hebrew Roots of Christianity, the Jewish element. As you have seen, the Hebraic approach speaks of God and ways of getting nearer to Him and understanding His ways. The Hebrew Roots represent an expression of faith. But it also represents how we express and exercise this faith. Let's take an example and who better to provide us with an example than Jesus himself, in fact a twelve year old Jesus.
Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they travelled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. (Luke 2:41-47)
Here we see Jesus asking questions and amazing the teachers with his understanding. There were a lot of questions being asked, by both parties. This is not surprising as the use of questions is a thoroughly Hebraic teaching method. Questions have always been a feature of the Jewish experience. It's often been said that Jews often answer a question by posing a new one. Are you sure about that? Why do you ask? How do you feel? How should I feel?
Somewhere in suburbia a group of friends are meeting in the front room of a house. They are Christians and this is a Thursday night house group meeting and there is a special guest. It is a Messianic Rabbi (a teacher who believes in Jesus) and he is going to demonstrate this teaching method.
You'll have to wait until next week to see what happens next ...
February 2013 (This is an abridged extract from Steve's book How the Church Lost the Way: And How it Can Find it Again)