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.’”
4 thoughts on “The Faithful Servant”
I think you are putting the jewish people on a pedistle that is incorrect because God is not the respector of persons all are equal in Gods eyes. They are blinded to seeing that Yashua is the messiah until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in as stated in scripture. Then after that God will open up their minds to see that Yashua is the Messiah.
@Marcus — The phrase “respect of persons” is a legal term — which in the case of the scriptures that prohibit it refers to favoring one party over the other in a legal proceeding because of who they are or their societal position rather than on the merits of their case. It does not refer to HaShem’s choice to make a covenant only with the Jewish people as a means of keeping a promise to His special friend Avraham. Keeping promises is not the same as “respecting persons”. While all people have equal value, they do not all have identical responsibilities. Men differ from women, Cohanim differ from Levites in general, and from the remainder of the Jewish people, Jews differ from the remainder of humanity (i.e., from gentiles). A great many Christians are “blinded” to the Torah-observant Jewishness of the Messiah Rabbi Yeshua. Meanwhile nowadays more and more Jews are seeing what Christians have been missing — a truth that Christians have suppressed with their unrighteousness (cif: Rom.1:18). Does that imply that we have now already seen almost all of that “fullness” of gentiles that was projected long ago? Nevertheless, in general I recommend that we refrain from overgeneralizations, particularly those that preach against Judaism (as James suggested above).
James, I would not only like to see Christians stop telling Jews not to be Jewish, but to see Christians tell one another that Yeshua wanted obedience from all who follow Him.
After all, the weightier matters of the Law include the Decalogue.
As for serving the Jews ourselves…helping them to be more themselves, how do we best do that? Pay for secular Jews to learn Torah?
Marcus, as PL says, I think you’ve missed the point. All of the Sinai and New Covenant language is specifically directed at Israel as distinct from the other people and nations of the world. Without Israel and her King, Messiah, we Gentiles would be lost. I don’t think it’s too much for us to recognize that fact and respond accordingly and actually, I think we’re obligated to do so.