Rabbi Derek: Discipleship in the Hard Times

Lifting of a torah book
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I don’t often respond to posts made by Rabbi Derek over on Messianic Jewish Musings, since he’s made it quite clear that he doesn’t care for the pingbacks.  However, he does bring a lot of interesting things to the table, and once in a while he really hits the nail on the head.  For example, today’s post, Discipleship in [Coming] Hard Times:

Mark carefully shows us a Yeshua who forms disciples, organizes them to go out and demonstrate the kingdom to people in the land, promises a future of wholeness and union with God, and opposes the Temple state and corruption that harms people and enriches the few.

But in most of our disciple communities today, we’ve bought into the empire . . .

Instead of trying to be in-the-empire-and-to-manipulate-the-empire, I think we should be an-alternative-to-the-empire.

That is, we should in our communities, love one another as Yeshua loved, forgive one another, support one another, and make this world as much like the world to come as we can in our limited power. Those on the outside looking in should see us helping one another, sharing resources, being a family that transcends biology, giving alms and selling possessions. Sound radical? Read Luke 12:33 and ask yourself, “Have we taken this kind of teaching from our Messiah seriously in our movement?”

Something like paying off debt and even mortgages could be deemed discipleship. It doesn’t sound much like the gospel we are used to. But Torah has an ideal of a community of faith where people lend to one another without interest. Debt enslaves borrowers. People who are debt-free have much more to give. And being debt-free is a kind of resistance movement: resist the man, don’t enlarge his economy of greed, but instead keep desire for new things and luxury in balance with greater needs.

I’ve been saying for a while that one of the major purposes for the coming Tribulation is that faithful Jews and true Christians will learn that each other are all we have to rely on in the midst of turmoil and persecution–and that Messianic Judaism will serve as the bridge between the two.

But why wait?  Why not start investing ourselves in each other now?  The community described in Acts lived under pax romana and though there were sporadic persecutions were not under the pressure of the 2nd and 3rd Century communities–and yet they still took care of each other, fed the widows and orphans, and thereby turned the world upside-down.  Why can’t we do the same?

There’s no reason at all–and each of us will one day stand before our Judge and weep for all of the missed opportunities to do good.  Let’s not miss any more.

Shalom

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