Many Messianic believers, including our congregation, quote 1 Jo 1:6-10 weekly in our liturgical, congregational prayers. For two weeks or so, I’ve had a very rare word from that prayer rolling around in my mind.
שֻּׁתָּפוּת שתף לְשַׁתֵּף
In Hebrew, this word is ‘shutafut’. From the verb l’shatef, from the root shataf.
The ultimate numeric value of the root is “6”, the number of man, the day Adam and Khava were created.
The verbal root concept of it is ‘to include’, and comes to ‘participation’ and eventually can get rendered as ‘fellowship’, and hence ‘communion.’ In this sense, it is literally “ONENESS” in the context of the scripture in mind, where we read, “ואִם אוֹמְרִים אָנוּ שֶׁשֻּׁתָּפוּת יֵשׁ לָנוּ עִמּוֹ “ and “ יֵשׁ לָנוּ שֻׁתָּפוּת זֶה עִם זֶה “ “If we say we have ‘shutafut’ with Him…[Yeshua],” and again “We have ‘shutafut’ one with another.” The passage is telling us that if we ‘claim’ to have ‘oneness’ with Messiah but do not walk the Torah as He walked it, then we are liars; the converse is this, that if we DO walk the Torah the way He taught it, then we ALREADY have ‘shutafut’ with one another, and/because the Blood of Yeshua the Messiah cleanses us of all our sin. [‘walking’ in Hebrew is a 1st Century Jewish Torah concept, the way one follows a Rabbi and how he lives out the Torah; Yeshua is the ONLY Rabbi ever to do it perfectly and teach it correctly]
Shutafut is a funny sounding word to the English ear. It means ‘inclusion in’ , ‘participation in’. In this case, ‘inclusion’ in the oneness of Messiah’s Body [not of flesh, but of His Ru’akh, given by the Father, to [in] Him, and to us through Him], and thereby inclusion IN EACH OTHER. This ‘inclusion/participation’ is in spite of our sins, against G-d, and against one another. The Blood of Messiah ‘covers’ over ALL of those. IF WE LET IT.
Most people do not realize the very ‘literal’ level these words have to us. We are NOT our own. We are NO LONGER little individuals. We have become part of HIS BODY, a LIVING ENTITY which covers the globe, but is NOT made up of flesh and blood, yet is ‘contained’ in vessels of flesh. But, it is ONLY made up of those who ACTUALLY ‘participate in’ Messiah, in HIS WALK. Just a few verses later, Yoknanan writes: “Hereby we know that we are in Him: he who says “I am in Him” ought himself also to walk His Halakha.” Yeshua did NOT follow the Rabbis, not those of His day, and certainly not today’s. Neither did He follow the popes, who moved the Shabbat and all the feasts, taught about three gods in one ‘substance’, and licensed everyone to go against the Torah in most ways, falsely reporting that ‘grace’ is the free ticket to heaven no matter how one lives his life.
We as believers find it very difficult at times to separate the flesh from the neshama [the life of G-d in those of us ‘born again’]. But, we who claim to be IN HIM are instructed shortly thereafter, “He who loves his brother abides in the light.”
Love is NOT an emotion, like many people think. It does at times ride on our human emotions, but the source of love is NOT ‘feeling,’ but G-d Himself. It is a function of our “NEW NATURE” AND our WILL. And if Yeshua is IN US, then we WILL [decide to] love one another. And that is what real ‘shutafut’ is: participation in Messiah and in ONE ANOTHER, in the supernatural, in His Presence, which is in anyone who trusts AND follows HIM. This was the very theme of Yeshua’s last prayer, before he went to hang on the tree: “Let them be EKHAD BANU,” ONE IN US [The Father and His Son]. Sha’ul and Kefa both teach this concept, one saying we are a ‘body’ made up of closely knit joints, sinew, and marrow, and another saying we are a building of ‘living stones’ fitly joined together. If you’ve seen the Temple’s foundation in Yisra’el, you know just how ‘close’ that is. Though we are ‘individuals’, we, as those who trust in Messiah and follow His Way, are not to think that way any longer. We belong to Him, and to one another. While we are “free”, we are yet “servants” of Tzedaka.
Our western mindset and our society over-influence us on a subconscious level to ‘think’ in opposition to this very radical idea, which is not an idea, but a hard reality. We, as ‘corporate’ believers are, at times, failing, tearing at the Body of Messiah. He [the mind/head] is striving to communicate [Through His Living WORD] to His various parts to ‘cooperate’, “l’shatef” zeh im zeh. [have oneness one with the other].