Growing up I was never much for God, although I wanted to be. I felt an emptiness when I went to Shul, and I never felt that talking to God was supposed to be using other people’s words. I found prayer difficult because I thought I should be talking from my heart, and not repeating what someone else wrote in a book for me to say. Needless to say, I gave up on religion and God pretty much right after my Bar Mitzvah.
It took me nearly 30 years to return to Him.
Now that I am Messianic, meaning I am a Jewish man who believes that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah God promised but I still follow the rules and regulations God gave us (remember: God has no religion), I am often asked by other Jews how can I believe in Jesus? In fact, being Messianic is being in the middle, and not understood by either side: Jews say I can’t be Jewish if I believe in Jesus and Christians tell me because I still do all that “Jewish” stuff I am still “under the Law” and not really “under the Blood.”
They’re both so very wrong.
This Drash is about the Jewish thought that if a Jew believes in Jesus that person can’t be Jewish anymore. How silly. First off, what does it mean to “believe in Jesus?”
I don’t know. Do you? Does it mean believe He existed at all? Believe He is the Messiah? Believe He is God? (BTW…He was a man. He had to be fully human or His sinless life was no big deal and His resurrection doesn’t mean anything.) Believe all the above?
Rabbi Akiba believed Bar Kochba was the Messiah and all it got him was dead. And thousands of Jews with him, too. Oh, not to mention Bar Kochba didn’t come out of it too well, either.
There have been many false Messiahs over the years, and Yeshua warned us about them.
I have found that explaining why I believe is like talking to a brick wall, so when asked, “How can you believe in Jesus?”, I do the most Jewish thing I know of: I answer a question with a question. I ask them, “Why is it that you don’t believe?”
You see, I have my reasons for believing. And when I ask why they don’t believe, the answer I get almost every, single time is “Because he isn’t.” So I ask why they believe He isn’t. What are their reasons? What biblical arguments against Yeshua do they have to prove He isn’t the Messiah? And they say, ” He just isn’t, that’s all.” WOW!! How can you argue with that?
It is so sad; here is someone who may be a wonderful person and really believe in God, but they are doomed to Sheol because they reject Messiah, and their reason for rejecting Him is “because.” Oy!
I can’t get a mature, thought-out and biblically sound reason from any Jews who have questioned me why they don’t believe. It comes down to this: they don’t believe Yeshua is the Messiah because they were told He isn’t. That’s the reason- their father and their mother and their Rabbi and Zayda and Bubbe and all their friends…all the other Jews they know tell them He wasn’t the Messiah. Oh, yes, and that if they should ever even think He is our Messiah then they can’t be Jewish anymore.
This is a bigoted and anti-Yeshua idealism. It’s not anti-Christian- Yeshua wasn’t a Christian. He was and is Messiah. He is above religion, He is only for God and God’s rules because (here it comes again…get ready…almost there …) GOD HAS NO RELIGION!!!
What makes this worse is the Christian teaching that Yeshua died a Jew but was resurrected a Christian, and now that He completed God’s work all that “Jewish” stuff isn’t necessary. Kosher, the Festivals, even the proper day for Shabbat…all old and done away with. We are under the blood, not the law. Again, Oy! Where do they get this stuff? Oh, yeah, they get it from the same place the Jews get their beliefs- someone told them that’s how it is.
What we ended up with is Jews are taught believing in Yeshua as the Messiah is wrong and one can’t be Jewish if they do, which is then supported by Christianity telling everyone that Jesus did away with all the rules and laws that make one “Jewish”, so now we have Jews and Christians agreeing that anyone who believes Yeshua / Jesus is the Messiah is anything but Jewish.
Blind guides and lost sheep. Sad, sad, sad.
“Because” is no reason. If you are not sure about who Yeshua is, read the bible. Read the whole bible, Genesis through Revelations. And don’t read the King James (i.e., anti-Semitic) version, or any of the regular versions. Read the David Stern version. Read some Messianic version. Heck- read my book! There are links to it on my home page (softcover or digital.) But read something! Get information, not opinion. Make up your own mind. For the sake of your Eternal soul, please don’t depend on anyone else to tell you what the “truth” is about Yeshua. Talk to people, sure, but read and study and make up your own mind.
Be assured that if you should choose to believe Yeshua is the Messiah , you absolutely do NOT have to stop being Jewish. In truth, there is nothing more Jewish than belief in a Messiah. The trick is believing in the right Messiah. So find out for yourself.
Please!! Do the work: Eternity is an awfully long time to spend being wrong, and you have until your last breath to accept Him.
Final word: for those that do not know what it means to “accept Yeshua as your Messiah”, let me tell you what it meant for me. It meant accepting that I am a sinner, accepting that God provided a way for me to be with Him through a Messiah’s sacrificial death, thereby atoning for my sins, and that by “accepting Yeshua” I am committing myself to do T’shuvah (turn/ atone) so I can be with God throughout Eternity. I am still Jewish; in fact, I am even more “Jewish” now than I ever was before I was “saved”. I worship God, not Yeshua- he was supernatural in many ways, but he was human and He is my Messiah. He is not God and should not be worshipped as God. That is idolatry, and (sadly) a very real part of much Christian worship. I capitalize His name and pronouns referring to Him out of respect for Him and His position, not because He is God. At least, not at this time. Right now He is Messiah. Did Yeshua come from God? Is He God in the flesh (which, by definition, makes Him human, doesn’t it?) Is he just a Prophet?
That, my Friends, is for another Drash.