cityView: darren huckey
The Men of the Great Assembly said three things: Be deliberate in judgment, raise up many disciples, and make a fence around the Torah (m.Avot 1:1)
The above quote from the Mishnah (the Oral Law of Judaism) is, in essence, a recapitulation of the words of our Master in Matthew 28:18-20. There are three components: 1) Authority, 2) Discipleship, 3) Observance. Unfortunately, I have to leave this unattended. However, we could write volumes on the parallels of these two passages.
In recent years there has been a resurgence of discovering the Jewishness of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, placing him back into his Jewish (and Biblical) context. It has allowed us to take Jewish passages, such as the one above and help us contextualize the message of our Master. But only recently has this discovery moved from the hypothetical to the tangible. And, as people come to these realizations, there are Messianic groups popping up all over the world.
So, what’s all the fuss? In a nutshell, people are rediscovering the rich Jewish heritage of Jesus and his disciples (including Paul), which point to a more Hebraic context and understanding of the New Testament. And this “new perspective” is freeing people from the paralyzing fear of “legalism” within the body of Messiah. Dallas Willard spoke well when he said:
“Currently we are not only saved by grace; we are paralyzed by it. We find it hard to see that grace is not opposed to effort, but is opposed to earning. Earning and effort are not the same thing. Earning is an attitude, and grace is definitely opposed to that. But it is not opposed to effort.”
In this new paradigm on Jesus and his Apostles there is freedom, and it is transforming lives and I believe it will transform our world. Here are a few things this new understanding is changing. We are realizing:
That Jesus & his Apostles (including Paul) were observant Jews their entire lives, and highly esteemed and lived by the Law of Moses, understanding it in its proper context of guidance for the spiritually resurrected, rather than salvation of the lost.
That Christ’s message of the Kingdom affects not just our theological perspective, but our lifestyle.
There is more to our faith than salvation (spiritual conception).
That the commandments of God (the Law of Moses) are not in opposition to the Gospel or the work of Christ.
That Paul’s gospel is not in opposition to the Law.
That εργων νομου is not equivalent to מיצות.
That the Gospel is more than a creed, or belief system, but a life of repentance and a call to holiness which affects the world around us.
That, as one philosopher said, “We can only possess what we experience.” Hence, living out the biblical expressions of faith actually endear us to a deeper understanding and relationship with the Almighty.
That “living like Jesus” is more than wearing a bracelet. It’s discipleship that makes us want to live like our Master, not an attempt at earning our salvation.