Who doesn’t know the story of the first chapters of this book? The Hebrews multiplied under the kindness of Pharaoh, but after Joseph died and another Pharaoh took over , the people were enslaved. They suffered 400 years until God sent a Saviour, Moshe (Moses) who, himself, had become an outcast and pariah in the eyes of Pharaoh. Moses sees God’s presence at the burning bush and, despite trying to get out of it, he is sent to Egypt to bring the people out of bondage and lead them to the Promised Land.
Here is the Messiah that the Judeans of the First Century were expecting. Here is the Messiah that the Jewish people of today, I believe, still expect.
Not a spiritual saviour, but a political one.
Isn’t that why so many people did not accept Yeshua when He was ministering to them during the three years or so that He wandered about Judea and the surrounding areas, preaching the Good News of salvation? They wanted someone like Barabbas, or Bar-Kochba, or even Ronald Reagan. They wanted someone who would get rid of the Romans and reestablish the Jewish State as a separate and independent country. They wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger to tell the Romans, “Go avay, and don’t be bach!”
But that’s not what they got. They got a quiet, unassuming man who had no social standing, wealth, or political power. No wide circle of Facebook friends, no You Tube video that went viral, pretty much nothing of any worth to anyone of the world. Just as Isaiah said, a man “…of no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.”
What kind of Messiah are you looking for? It’s easy, thanks to 20-20 hindsight, to recognize Yeshua’s messianic authority and now, after some 2,000 years, to know He is the Messiah God promised. Still, what kind of Messiah are you looking for? Should he be loving and forgiving? Should he be accepting of you as you are, giving you whatever you ask for just because you are a “good” person? Should he save you from your sins and guarantee you a place in heaven, no matter what, so long as you just ask for it?
That’s not who Yeshua is, and it’s not what He does. Yes, He is the Messiah who died for your sins, but that doesn’t mean salvation is a “come as you are” party. You need to do T’Shuvah, to turn, to repent, and to mean it! And you need to show that repentance in real, tangible terms. That means you have to change how you live.
He is loving and compassionate, as well as understanding. He is also the Son of God and He will stand by your side at Judgement Day, so long as you are truly repentant and have shown the fruits of your repentance. In the Torah, in Leviticus, when God is outlining the laws about bringing the different types of sacrifices, one of the regulations is that no matter what, we should never come before the Lord empty handed. And every sacrifice, whether it be animal, grain or oil, must have salt. The covenant between man and God is called a “covenant of salt”; we should never come before the Lord empty handed or without salt.
When we come before Him at Judgement, the salt we bring is our repentance, and what we present before Him are the first fruits of our salvation: the good works we have done after accepting Yeshua as our Messiah.
Read the parables about the fruit tree in the garden, the servants who were given talents, the wedding lamp holders who had no oil, and the wedding guest who did not have the proper clothing…all these represent the fact that we are invited but we need to do more than just show up. We need to have both salt and something to present to the Lord.
God has done all He needs to do with regards to a political Messiah. That card has been played. And the spiritual Messiah is also face-up on the table. Now we need to show our hold card, we need to show the fruit of salvation and the salt of our covenant so when we are “called” we will have a strong hand. The world deals us a lousy hand, but God is able to turn the cards to our advantage. We need to work at it, we need to look to God for salvation, to Yeshua (Jesus) for intercession, and to the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) for constant guidance.
All that we need to save us from our sin is here. God’s work is done, Yeshua’s work is done, and the Rauch’s’ work is being done in each of us. Now it’s our turn. Salvation is free, but you need to work at it. You don’t need to work for it, but you do need to work at it. It can’t be taken away, but we can throw it away. Read those parables I told you about, and understand- God has done His part, it’s up to each of us now to complete His work in the world by completing His work in ourselves.
Some people want a Messiah who is enabling and forgiving, even if you don’t change your ways; who will do what you want just because you ask him; and who promises you total salvation no matter what you do for the rest of your life. Some people want a Messiah that will intercede for them; who will become their advocate at Judgement Day; who will guide them and provide salvation for them; and who will be honest and fair in telling them what they need to do in order to be saved and remain saved.
These are two kinds of Messiahs people are being told about: the one who doesn’t care what you do and the one who requires you to change.
The question is: What kind of Messiah are you looking for?