So I’ve been reading Yokhanan this week; my favorite account of the B’sorah, because I identify with Yokhanan, the writer. He writes in a very detailed fashion, giving a full eight chapters to Yeshua’s last Pesakh. One might call that ‘long-winded’ today.
In that account of Pesakh, the third one he mentions in his book, Yeshua teaches His Talmidim about who He is, about the coming of the Ru’akh HaEmet, and about true obedience being measured by doing the Mitzvot, those that were from the Father, given to Yeshua, and given to us, just as the Ru’akh is from the Father, given to Yeshua, who gives it to us.
He then tells His Talmidim that the measure of whether or not we are keeping the Mitzvot is whether or not we love one another, “Just as I have loved you.” That is a TALL order. Yeshua loved His Talmidim to the point of death. T’oma, whom many call ‘the doubter’, was not in any way a doubter. He was the one who had, just a few days before, said, “Let us go and die with Him.” Here, he has told Yeshua, “Show us HaAv”. And Yeshua explains that He is a perfect expression, an exact manifestation of HaAv, because HaAv [The Father] IS IN HIM, and He is IN HIS Father, BY and THROUGH the Ru’akh. And, because He gives us of His Ru’akh HaEmet [His ‘Breath of Truth’, ‘True Breath’ (spirit)], we will love one another, but be hated by the world.
I saw an old friend in the gym yesterday, and we discussed this ‘hatred,’ and how very evil people can be. He and I had just gone through similar things concerning ‘the world’ and its treatment of people in general [the love of most will grow cold because of lack of Torah], and its treatment of believers that is worse than just general ‘lack of love,’ but a fomented hatred of Truth.
There are those who say they believe, but they do not express their love for Messiah through obedience to His Word. Yeshua had, just three months before, taught on the ‘False shepherds’, and the ONE False Shepherd. He explained there that His sheep follow after His Voice, His Way, and anyone halfway learned in the Jewish scriptures understands that The Way is The Torah, and for us who believe, it is The Torah as explained/expounded by Messiah Yeshua. He alone is our Rabbi.
At Pesakh, after explaining His Oneness with HaAv, the coming Ru’akh HaKodesh, obedience to the Mitzvot being a true expression of love for Messiah, and the hatred of the world for any who follow Him, He then shows us a ‘they’, and today, too many people completely miss the point of His teaching.
“They” will do all ‘these things’ for the sake of My Name, He said. What things? Hate His Talmidim; persecute His Talmidim; hate The Father; hate Yeshua; put you out of the Beit Knesset [synagogues]; kill you to think they offer G-d a gift; not believe/trust in Yeshua.
So, who are “they”?
In context, it looks as if it He is speaking of the Jewish people, on the surface, because he is talking to twelve Jews, and talking about “synagogues”. The question is, is that who He had in mind? And if so, is that the only people He had in mind? The more correct answer is, He is talking about everyone who REJECTS the TORAH. And what many Messianic believers today do not realize is that our Jewish leaders REJECTED TORAH before Yeshua showed up! The night He said all of these things, the Jewish leaders SHOULD have been having THEIR Pesakh Seder; but, they CHOSE to move the Pesakh. And so, they could not recognize that Yeshua IS THE PESAKH LAMB. He had had discussion with them about THEIR customs REPLACING the Mitzvot of G-d, but they just refused to hear Him [Mark 7]. And today, GENTILE theologians, who are quick to disparage all Jewish people because of their rejection of Messiah, even though the first 100,000 or so believers were ALL JEWISH, have done the VERY SAME THING, and REPLACED the Mitzvot of G-d with THEIR COMMANDS. They ‘hear’ “Remember the Sabbath Day, to rest on the Seventh Day,” and ‘say’ ‘we don’t have to do that; we can worship on any day, Jesus rose on the first day [which is false] so we worship on day 1’. They REJECT the MITZVAH of G-d for their own tradition, JUST LIKE the Jewish theologians of His day did, and just like Jewish AND Christian theologians do today. Isn’t it interesting that “shepherd” is translated into “pastor” in most Bibles, every other place it is used in the NT?
“They” who do all those things to His Talmidim, are those who FIGHT AGAINST His Mitzvot. And Yeshua showed the ‘heart’ of His Mitzvot during His Pesakh Seder that night. LOVE. Love for Elohim, and a love for the brethren such that we are willing to DIE. Love for Elohim such that we do what HE SAYS, in SPITE of what the ‘pastors’, the ‘houses of assembly’ say and do to those who want to OBEY in TRUTH. Religious people, both Jews and Christians, have been murdering simple folk who want only to serve G-d in freedom and truth, for 2,000 years. Study the history of christianity, and one will see that catholics and protestants have murdered many thousands, if not millions, in the Name of G-d, simply because they disagreed with them. They murder them first with their tongues, and then with swords, spears, fire, etc.
Love for our brethren, such that we are willing to ‘lay down our lives’. Today, people seem only to apply that phrase to soldiers, or other protectors of the common good. They are NOT protecting society because of their love for society’s people, and we know this. They do a good and noble thing, but they are NOT expressing the love of His Torah in doing so. Is that really who Yeshua was describing? No; He was describing what He was about to do, a deed and act that His Talmidim were about to witness: go to the Tree, lay down His Life by taking on EVERYONE ELSE’s SIN, DIE a horrible and painful death, SUFFER the guilt and shame of EVERYONE ELSE’s sin, and rise from the dead.
9“Just as Avi has loved me, I also have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my mitzvot, you will abide in my love, even as I have kept the mitzvot of Avi [my Father], and abide in His love. 11I have spoken these things to you that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12This is my mitzvah: that you love one another just as I have loved you. 13There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for the sake of his friends.”
Yeshua had just called His Talmidim his FRIENDS, right at the beginning of the Seder. He was speaking of HIMSELF, and NO ONE ELSE. No one has THAT GREAT a love for G-d, nor for people, and we KNOW it.
Yeshua goes on, singing the Hallel and going to the Garden on Har Zetim, and prays for YOU AND ME, asking His Father that those of us who trust would be ONE, EKHAD, UNITED, JUST AS HE is united with His FATHER, just as His Father is in Him, and He is in His Father, let us also be UNITED IN ONE ANOTHER. THAT is the TRUEST sign that we belong to Him.
I have failed. I am willing to confess it. I have TRIED to ‘lay down my life’ for others, to a degree. It has not yet been ‘assigned’ to me to do so with my very life, however. If that day should come, I would hope that I would lay it down willingly. I pray now that I begin to reaffirm my TRUST in HIM, my OBEDIENCE to Him, by doing so NOW. Yeshua laid down His self-preservation, and it was HARD WORK to do so, to the point of sweating blood that night from the terror of what He knew was about to happen. And I want to realize anew that He did that for me, and for all those who confess His Name and obey Him.
I have been hated by ‘the world,’ which is religious people who REJECT HIS TORAH. I have been lied about, kicked out of ‘churches’ [houses of assemblies], even most recently, mocked, insulted, suspected of all manner of evil and falsely accused [personally and on fb], ridiculed, threatened, and all that Yeshua said would happen, except being killed for His Name. I hope that Yeshua sees that I have never once returned any of that hatred with hatred… I truly have striven to lay down my life in that regard. But, I know I too have failed His brethren and friends at times; and all I have to lean on is HIS LAYING DOWN HIS LIFE FOR ME. I try to give that to my brethren, and hope they give that to me.
My prayer for ALL the brethren today is an echo of His prayer for us in Yokhanan 17, my favorite chapter in all the Word, because Yeshua prayed for ME, for US. I don’t deserve it. Neither does anyone else, but for some reason He has lavished His love upon us.