Nisan/Iyar 5773 April 2013
MA CHADASH? WHAT’S NEW?
Annual Conference: Our second conference for Messianic Jewish Believers and their families is scheduled for the afternoon of July 20. If you know Messianic Jews in the area, please let us know how to reach them so that we can send them an invitation.
THANKS VERY MUCH!
Passover is a season so rich in meaning! We get to celebrate two acts of redemption – Israel from slavery in Egypt, and all mankind from slavery to Satan, sin and death. Yet the sad irony is that few human beings have experienced this freedom – a freedom made possible through Messiah Yeshua’s offering of Himself as the Lamb of God. For this reason, Passover beckons us to redouble our efforts to proclaim the Good News. To that end, we are grateful for those of you who pray for Shema, and give financially to help us be the ambassadors for Messiah we are called to be. May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel pour out His choicest blessings on you, as you celebrate the lambs, and celebrate the Lamb who was killed and is alive once more!
SEVEN THINGS I LIKE ABOUT THE SON OF GOD
The first thing I like about the Son of God is that He shares the same attributes of deity as God the Father: The whole fullness of deity lives in bodily form in Messiah (Colossians 2:9). Like God the Father, the Son is all-present, all-powerful, all-knowing. He has life within Himself – the same kind of self-existing, eternal, uncreated life that God the Father has. That’s why Yeshua could say: Before Abraham was, I am. Like God the Father, who is perfect and doesn’t grow or develop, Messiah is immutable. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Not only does the Son of God share the same attributes of deity as the Father, but the Son does things that only God can do. He created the universe and everything in it. John declared of Him: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God(two Persons – equal in nature, and yet separate and distinct as to their Person).All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. Also writing about the Son’s part in the creation, Paul asserted: By Him all things were created both in the Heavens and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created by Yeshua and for Yeshua. The Son of God is executor of the creative plans of God. God the Father commanded it, and the Son of God created the host of angelic beings, the billions of galaxies with their trillions of stars, this planet, and everything on it. Other things that the Son does that only God can do: He sustains the universe and everything in it. In Him all things hold together. He upholds all things by the word of His power.Yeshua’s power is literally holding together this vast universe and everything in it! Like God the Father, Messiah is the source of life: In Him was life (John 1:4, 14:6). Yeshua gives eternal life to human beings: Just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes(John 5:21). Like God the Father, He hears and answers prayers: Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it (John 14:13-14). Like God the Father, He sends the Holy Spirit (John 15:26). He has divine authority to forgive humanity’s sins (Luke 5:24), raise the dead (2 Cor. 1:9, John 5:21, 10:37-38, 11:25) and be the judge of mankind (Genesis 18:25, Revelation 20:12, John 5:22, 27, Acts 10:42, 2 Cor. 5:10). He will dissolve and renew all things (Psalm 102:26-27, Hebrews 1:10-12, Philippians 3:21, Revelation 21:5). Along with the Father, the Son receives worship from angels and from human beings: John saw vision of Heaven in which every created thing which is in Heaven and on the Earth was heard equally worshiping the One on the Throne – God the Father – and the Lamb – the Son of God who sacrificed Himself and died for us – saying: Blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever, to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! (Revelation 5:10-14). I love the fact that the Son is fully divine and shares all the attributes of God, and does what only God can do; and He uses all of that divine wisdom and power and intelligence for the eternal benefit of His brothers and sisters – you and me!
The second thing I like about the Son of God is that He is fully God and fully Man. According to a marvelous prophecy in Isaiah, Yeshua is El Gibor, the Mighty God; and yet at the same time He is a yeled yulad lanu, a child born to us, and a ben nee-tan lanu, a son given to us. The Mighty Son of God, eternal, uncreated, the One who created the universe with its billions of galaxies and trillions upon trillions of stars, became a human being, in order to rescue human beings from the real and deadly forces of Satan, sin and death. Because He is fully God and fully man, He alone is the one and only mediator between God and humanity. He is our High Priest, who is uniquely able to bring us closer to God, and bring God closer to us – now and forever! Messiah is Jacob’s Ladder, linking God and man, bridging the gap between Heaven and Earth. Because we have been joined to the Son of Man and are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh, we are now and forever joined to God the Son, who is joined to God the Father. That means that we are very close to the eternal God. And because Messiah joined Himself to humanity, He raises humanity up to the highest heights. Through the Incarnation, the Son of God took on a human nature. He became a man – a Jewish man. And, when He rose from the dead, He was raised as a glorified Jewish man! Then that glorified Jewish man ascended to Heaven, to the highest place – the right hand of God the Father. That exalts humanity to the highest heights – higher than the angels and archangels, even the mighty cherubim and burning seraphim that are near God’s throne. That makes being a son or daughter of God so amazing, so meaningful, so special.
The third thing I like about the Son of God is that although the Son is fully God, He is incredibly humble. Even though He is high and lifted up, and greatly exalted, higher than Abraham, more exalted than Moses, greater than the greatest cherubim and burning seraphim, and higher than the Highest Heavens, Messiah is humble. When He came to Earth, the Son of the High King wasn’t born in a palace, but into the most humble circumstances, and then placed in a manger – a feeding trough where animals ate. He did not choose to be born into a rich and free people, but rather to live in a poor nation that was living under occupation. Even though the world was created through Him, even though He is the one who should be served, the Son of God did not come into this world to be served, but to serve His damaged creatures and give His life to ransom many. Even though He knew He had come from Heaven and was about to return to Heaven as the glorious Son of the High King, King Yeshua washed the feet of His disciples. That’s amazing humility. Even though Yeshua has a name that is above every name – even though one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Yeshua is Adonai, Lord, which will bring honor to God the Father – the Son of the High King of Heaven was willing to be rejected by His creatures, insulted, arrested, beaten, spit on, tortured, stripped naked and crucified in lineorder to serve the greatest needs of those creatures. That’s amazing humility. Have this attitude in yourselves, Rabbi Paul wrote to the Philippians, which was also in Messiah Yeshua, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant (Philippians 2:5-7). The Son of God emptied Himself by voluntarily giving up His attributes of omnipotence (being all-powerful), omnipresence (the ability to be everywhere at once), and omniscience (having all-knowledge). The Son of God laid aside His divine majesty and became a human being – not a king or emperor, but a servant. That’s amazing, and that’s the kind of humble attitude we need to imitate.
The fourth thing I like about the Son of God is that He was willing to be sent by His Father on a very dangerous and costly rescue mission: Because of the Fall of Man – because Adam and Eve, made in the image of God, joined the great rebellion of the fallen angels – humanity became subject to the forces of Satan, sin and death. Out of His great love, mercy and grace, the Three-In-One God was willing to rescue a remnant of humanity; and so God the Father sent God the Son on a great mission. The Son knew that in order to save human beings, He would need to become a human being – small and weak and limited. He knew that He would have to suffer a lot. Like young David with no armor and the most primitive weapon facing the giant Goliath, who had armor and much more powerful weapons, the Son of God would have to face the powerful god of this world and the hosts of Hell alone and unarmed. In spite of the danger and suffering involved in this rescue operation, the Son of God willingly volunteered to go. And danger and temptation He faced, and conflict He experienced, and suffer He did. But He overcame them all, won a marvelous victory, completed the rescue operation and returned to Heaven! Now from the right hand of God the Father, the Son asks us to continue His same mission. We are to tell people the Good News about the possibility of living forever in the kingdom of God. We are to teach those who are interested. We are to do good things for people to give people a taste of the reality and goodness of God. And God the Son will help us accomplish this mission. He transforms us and empowers us, He equips us, and He supports us. He provides friends to encourage us, a community to support us, a Bible to teach us, the Spirit to empower us and guide us, and a wonderful hope to sustain us. Just as the Son of God volunteered to go on this rescue operation, He is now asking for us to volunteer for that same mission. Have you volunteered? Will you give it your all – like He did?
The fifth thing I like about the Son of God is that He lived a perfect life.Messiah is the only human being who never sinned, who never did anything wrong, who perfectly kept God’s Law. Every other human being has, at times, yielded to the various temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the sinful pride of life. Only Messiah resisted them all! He was tested in all ways as we are, yet He never sinned. He always honored His Father, always put God’s will above His will. He always did what was right, even when it was very costly to Himself. He alone of all humanity could ask: Which one of you convicts Me of sin? – and not get a response. And, as the spotless lamb of God, He and He alone could perfectly atone for the sins of humanity, make a perfect sacrifice that would bring in everlasting redemption. As a perfect Redeemer, He can bring us to perfection. Hallelu-Yah! What a Savior!
The sixth thing I like about the Son of God is that His values are so different from the world’s values. Even as a child I sensed that there was something very wrong with the world and its values. I didn’t know what the right values were, but I knew that the world’s values weren’t good. Unlike me, Messiah understood not only the problem with the world’s values, but also the right values. He taught us that it’s not sophisticated adults who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the child-like. The first will be last, and the last will be first. Not, it’s better to receive, but it’s better to give than to receive. It’s more important to serve than be served. Blessed are the poor, not blessed are the rich. Blessed are the poor in spirit, who are aware of their spiritual poverty and their need for the salvation that God alone is able to provide, not blessed are the rich in spirit who assume that they’re doing fine when they are not right with God and will lose everything. Blessed are the merciful and gentle, not blessed are the aggressive and the powerful. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who long to get into a right relationship with the Living God and who desperately want to do the right things, not blessed are those who want money, power, fame, status and success. Blessed are those who are persecuted and insulted for courageously standing for God and for the truth, not blessed are those who are popular among men. Blessed are those who mourn, who grieve that humanity is broken, who are saddened by our alienation from God and our loss of eternal life, not blessed are those who are happy and having a lot of fun. Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Messiah’s sake and for the sake of the Good News will save it. The one who rejects living for self and for the world will live forever, while the one who lives for self and a corrupt and temporary world will not. Thank God for the Son of God, who rejected this world’s corrupt values, and taught God-honoring ethics to live by that will result in eternal life!
The seventh thing I like about the Son of God is His grace, love, mercy, forgiveness: The rich and powerful often become detached and uncaring from the rest of humanity. Not so the Son of God. Even though He is the One through whom the universe and everything in it was made, and the great King and a just judge, Messiah is the epitome of unmerited favor, undeserved mercy, kindness, love and compassion. And, He is an unending source of these amazing graces. We have all received from the fullness of His grace. When one undeserved thing that Yeshua does for us runs out, another one is right there to take its place! Even though He is the Righteous One and the Holy One of Israel, He befriended social outcasts, touched a leper, ate with tax collectors, helped a Samaritan woman who had had five husbands and was living with another man – things no other rabbi would do. He loved His enemies. He prayed for those who persecuted Him. As He was being nailed to a cross, He could pray for His enemies and torturers and executioners: “Father, forgive them.” He taught us to follow His example – to turn the other cheek; when forced to go one mile, to go two miles; to graciously give when we are asked; when c