Are you a Disciple? Really? Who are you following? I often hear people say that they “follow” Jesus, but sometimes I think that what they really mean is that Jesus is following them. The more I learn about the origins of Jesus’ people Israel, the more I know that what I have been taught is really twisted.
For one thing, how many people think of the upcoming holy days for Israel as the “Jewish” holidays? Really? Is that an ethnic thing like “Black History Month”? or just national holidays like Cinqo de Mayo? or Australia Day? How many Christians stop to think that perhaps if we, as Paul clearly says in Romans 11, “are grafted into Israel”, that for some reason all of G_d’s appointed times only applies to people who are ethnically Jewish? Newsflash! They are G_d’s appointed times, not Moses’ appointed times. Even though G_d gave them to Moses, He didn’t make them Moses’ holidays! Those are the Holy Days that G_d ordained for all who call on His name. Hmmm, last I checked, that INCLUDES GENTILES who want to be a part of that thing called Israel, you know, what we are grafted into…yeah, THAT Israel. Is there another?
Why do we not already know this after 2,000 years? Where do we get off telling G_d which Holy days are His and which ones are OURS. Remember when G_d freed Israel from Egyptian rule, it was not to “do their own thing”, it was rather to worship HIM. (Check out Exodus 8:1, if you don’t believe me). Also, it was not so that they could be “free individuals”, but rather as His People (singular, like grapefruit, not grapes). His people is one unit. When we are grafted into Israel, we are grafted into the same ONE body that Jesus (not his real name) knew as his own. FYI, Jesus was not an American citizen. But thinking about that, let me make an analogy. G_d makes the rules, we are not excused because we are not ethnically Jewish. Remember when Paul says, “there is neither Jew nor Greek”? (Gal. 3:28) That is not a tacit invitation to ignore G_d’s defined boundaries. The fact is that “in Christ” we are all obligated as He was. Did you see Him celebrating Christmas and Easter? Gee! Don’t remember seeing Him do that. How about Jewish Holidays? All over Scripture! So, who are we “in”? What does THAT mean?
Many of us have relatives that came to America a hundred years or so ago. They left countries that they were born in, that they were part of and that they had some responsibility to. My great grandfather was one of them. When he came here, he took on a new identity. He pledged to be an American. He was no longer a subject of the Czar. He was Free! The question is, was he free to do whatever he wanted? Could he rob banks? Could he steal his neighbors goods? No! There are laws in America that define the community. These laws tell us how to “be” an American community. My great grandfather may have been free from the rule of the Czar, but now he was under the rule of Uncle Sam, which is the name he took, (Sam). Fortunately for him, the Law in the U.S. had a totally different ethical sub straight than did Russia under the Czar! However, leaving your country of origin and committing to a new one, presupposes that there will be claims made on your loyalties, maybe even signed pledges! G_d is no different. When we “sign on” to become His people, we also acknowledge His Sovereignty over our freedom. We are free to “worship Him”, but on His terms not ours. So what does that look like? Well, just as I am sure my great grandfather found out, there are certain appointed times and ceremonies, and ways of life that are different than from whence he came and where the newbies must look to the natives or at least the tenured to lead them. The newbies must follow the community. He found out about the 4th of July, the English language, and how we “do things around here”. So how are you doing in your big move to Jesus’ country? If you are grafted into Jesus, you are now part of Israel. How much have you learned about the way things are done in Israel? What are the appointed times (moadim)? Are you getting ready for the BIGGIES? Some of the holiest days of the year? Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur? Do you have any ideas for your Sukkah? What are you preparing? Got your apples and honey? Have you called those people who you need to “reconcile” with? What services are you planning to attend? How are you planning to “fit in” with the community you are grafted into? If you are planning, write me and let me know! If you think I am meshuge, then read the articles below!
Here are some articles to read: