In Buenos Aires, thousands of Jewish families hosted others who’d never before experienced a Shabbat.
“The Shabbat that Shook the World”
To me, that’s the exact point of Gentiles having a familiarity with the Torah and the Jewish people. True, the Shabbos Project being described in the above-referenced article is the effort of Jews encouraging other Jews to observe the Shabbat, but Jewish people only make up a tiny fraction of the world’s population. If Gentiles do have a special and sacred role in relation to Judaism, it is to undo much of what we’ve done over the long centuries, and to actually encourage the Jewish people to observe the mitzvot. Historically the Goyim, and particularly the Christian Church, has done everything in their/our power to discourage Jews in Judaism, resulting in a power surge of secularism and assimilation among Jewish people on our planet. I think God wants us to change that.
I know I’ve written a lot about this lately, really a lot, but when I read that one sentence from the Aish article, I was once again reminded of a Gentile’s duty to the Jewish people. It won’t matter much if Gentiles start keeping the Shabbat if more Jewish people don’t.
There isn’t much material in Jewish publications about Gentiles keeping the Shabbat, and what’s available is negative. At least Messianic Judaism is encouraging Gentiles to keep Shabbos on some level.
The upside of my personal Shabbat project, which starts tomorrow evening, is that I get to experience something unique and precious, an encounter with God on Shabbos. The downside is that it only benefits me. I have a Jewish family I’d love to see observe Shabbat more than just the lighting of candles. If somehow what I’m doing were to contribute to them, then my role in this world would be complete.
So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.”
–John 13:12-16 (NASB)
…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.
I know I’m taking these verses out of context, but I can’t get past the feeling that we can learn a principle from them, not just that we have a duty as believers to serve each other and to serve humanity, but specifically that we Gentile disciples, out of sheer gratitude for our being brought into the blessings of the New Covenant through Israel’s relationship with God, need to return the favor by bringing Jews back to their own Torah and to Hashem, God of Israel.
That’s a tough thing to do without being seen as intrusive and offensive. Dressing up in kippot and tallitot isn’t going to “provoke Jews to jealousness” (Romans 11:11) or to zealousness, but those of us who are friends and family members of Jewish people can certainly try to contribute. If nothing else, we just need to get out of the way of Jewish people and Judaism. For institutional Christianity, this means ceasing from preaching against Judaism. No, I don’t just mean preaching pro-Jewish people sermons, but actually ceasing from preaching against the practice of Judaism for Jewish people, including and especially Jews in Messianic Judaism. More than that, we need to continually look for opportunities to support Jewish observance of the mitzvot.
So on one hand, I’m looking forward to my personal Shabbos Project, but on the other hand, it’s going to be pretty hollow. Not just because I’ll be alone but because no Jewish people will be involved. I won’t have served my purpose unless or until I’ve done something to support even one Jewish person in lighting the Shabbos candles, saying the blessings, or participating in Jewish community.
Only then will I, as well as the other Gentiles who have captured this vision, be worthy of being called the “crowning jewels of the nations”. Only then will the Master say to us, “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). After all, when we serve the Jewish people, we are serving the Master:
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”