"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
What does Yeshua want from us? Have you ever wondered? I wonder about it a lot. Maybe you already know or you think you know. Maybe you're completely secure in your understanding of who you are and where you fit in the Kingdom of Heaven (not to mention the community of believers).
But consider what you spend your time considering.
I've recently been blogging and conversing on matters of halachah and specifically on whether or not a non-Jew is allowed to lay tefillin in prayer. I've been following Derek Leman's latest Not Jewish Yet Drawn to Torah blog post. Unfortunately, these and many other similar conversations have left me empty lately.
Aren't these matters important? Shouldn't we debate how Jews and Gentiles are to engage in worship practices of the Messiah? Why can't I draw spiritual renewal from these debates? What's missing?
I've been having an email conversation with a friend this morning and I told him:
A lot of these debates, while necessary, tend to leave out the essential ingredient we need for our faith: Yeshua (Jesus). I think a message like "know Jesus better" is one which the whole "Messianic movement" (not just OL and TH, but all of MJ, too) needs to hear. It's not like matters of halachah or procedure aren't important, but we aren't supposed to put our faith in matters of halachah and procedure. Our faith is in the Messiah or we live in vain.I quoted from Yeshua's beatitudes above. What is he saying is "blessed" or "praiseworthy"? Look at the list:
We can find people like these in our conversations, but they aren't always apparent. That's a problem, because I have a feeling that these are the ways we are supposed to primarily express ourselves in the world around us, including the Messianic blogosphere.
- Poor in spirit (boy, I can relate to that one)
- Those who mourn
- The meek
- Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
- The merciful (and I think we need a few more of these in the community of faith)
- The pure in heart
- The peacemakers
- Those who are persecuted because of righteousness
Of all the commandments we learn from Yeshua and all that he taught from the Torah, we also know he gave us a new commandment to love one another (John 13:34), and that love tells the world around us that we are his disciples.
Does anybody besides me blog about this stuff?
My last blog post quoted the following words of the Master and I think we need to all hear them, not just for the encouragement, but for the reminder of what's really important:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30This morning, while composing the email I mentioned earlier and pondering the current state of development of the "Messianic movement" which we all seem to represent, I said this:
The current arguments in our little community are a classic case of not being able to see the forest for the trees. I like trees. It's nice to sit under one or to examine the intricate details God programmed into a branch or leaf. But continually operating on that level of microscopic focus won't show you the path through the woods which leads back to home.I'm not putting down healthy debate, scholarly study, or getting into the "meat". I certainly can't argue against the person who wrote this:
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. -Hebrews 5:11-14On the other hand, if you are so focused only on the meal in front of you, it's possible to forget who is the source of our life.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. -John 6:35
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” -John 6:51The road is long and often, we travel in the dark, ignoring the light of the world. Look for the lamp who lights your path or you may become lost in the dark forever.
"A Jew never gives up. We're here to bring Mashiach, we will settle for nothing less." -Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh