Glimpses of Jesus bar-David Part Two

This post is part of the l’Chaim! series on topics related to the Jewishness of the Messiah Jesus and how this can further our understanding and the living under the power of Holy Spirit in this generation.

As a Jew, Jesus was capable of acting in the role of rabbi. He knew every law and tradition, and could have certainly risen to the rank of chief priest, had this been His mission. However, the mission of Jesus went far beyond that of being a Jew, for Jesus bar-David was also Yeshua bar-Yahweh, or more appropriately, Yeshua bar-Elohim, the Son of God as well as the Son of Man. I believe this is why the Savior’s own Judaism in His earthly life has easily been overlooked, because He Himself explodes out of it. No culture can contain Him!

And yet, the Creator chose a people on earth to represent Him. Their mission was to be a light to the nations. So when He came to die for us, He came as a Jew, fulfilling all that His Father had intended in setting a people apart. As many Jews today will readily agree, Jews have never existed to hoard the goodness or the revelation of God, but to share it. In Jesus, our loving God has provided a new covenant, one which when received and lived frees anyone and everyone from the curses originating in the Fall in Genesis 3. This is the Blessing! The Blessing as promised to Abraham and to his seed through Isaac, the children who come through Faith.

There are many examples of how Jesus points to this mission to the entire world in His earthly ministry: His encounters with the non-Jews as written in the gospels are probably only a few of many more times when He offered them the same blessings He gave to His fellow Israelites. A centurion (one of the Roman oppressors, no less), a Samaritan, and a woman with enough faith to plead with Him on His own terms, “even the dogs get to eat the crumbs beneath the table,” she said. There are probably many others, those who in those days were known as God-fearers, people who believed in the God of the Jews, who read and revered their scriptures.

Returning to the prophetic decree declared over Simon Peter, if we look at this with a different lens, understanding that Jesus is not only bar-David but also bar-Elohim, the son of the Creator, we understand the astounding truth Jesus is proclaiming.

“‘And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’” MT 16:16-17

Here is a truth whoever believes on the Name of Jesus can stand on! It is not only for Jews but for everyone who accepts the grace offered in Jesus as the One Who represented us all on the cross! He makes us the Church, Jew and Gentile, male and female, barbarian, uneducated, ignorant, educated and civilized, all, all, all, all, all of us who believe, we have the promise that the gates of hell will give way, and are even flimsy, compared to the might that is within us.

My friend, I understand if churches have let you down. But churches are not the Kingdom of God, they are human organizations and they have flaws. You are the Church when you believe on Jesus in a way that produces evidence and substance. You have that power to tread on serpents and see the gates of hell cave as you advance upon them.

Still, if one can put a thousand to flight, two can vanquish 10,000! Our Lord’s purpose was to build you up as part of a body. Get to a fellowship where you can experience this Church blessing if at all possible. That is to say, find a Spirit-Filled, Bible-believing church which stands in the supernatural, the anointing and the blessing you can count on.

I find myself groping for a way to get across the full import of this promise which Jesus verbally proclaimed (and I SAY to you) to Simon Peter. How many know that when Jesus says something it’s scripture? This 40-second clip from a powerful sermon by Evangelist Rev. Daniel Kolenda conveys the immensity of the truth of what Peter received and which we inherit! I encourage you to study this topic out for yourselves. Tell me if it doesn’t make you hungry to learn from our Lord how to put this into practice in your own sphere of influence.

Receive everything that is yours, dear friend and family, as you pursue the One who is always pursuing you.

Glimpses of Jesus bar-David Part One

This post is part of the l’Chaim! series on topics related to the Jewishness of the Messiah Jesus and how this can further our understanding and the living under the power of Holy Spirit in this generation.

My Jewish father used to bring us kids to Brooklyn to visit his mother. Grandma Wolfe-Cole stood at 4’11. Having escaped Hitler’s armies by emigrating to NYC, she kept a kosher household. As soon as we crossed the threshold of her modest Flatbush apartment, she would place her hands on we children’s heads and mutter in Hebrew and Yiddish, a mixture of Hebrew and German often spoke by immigrant Jews in New York. My father stopped to allow this, just as anyone else in the house fell silent, honoring, observing and agreeing. “What did she say, Daddy?” I asked and in response to my query, he would translate the beautiful prayers my grandmother had declared, ordaining blessings and peace. The effect on me was a profound sense of Adonai’s Presence.

Interestingly, speaking blessings over the children is very much alive in today’s Jewish households. A Jew may or may not choose to extend their faith in other ways, but blessing the children is one tradition seen everywhere, from orthodox to non-practicing.

Another cultural attribute is to encourage PDAs. Jews hug, men hug men and they also hug women, everybody hugs everybody. They express their feelings. Jewish men are not afraid to cry. There is good evidence that this makes people stronger and healthier, as long as it is kept positive.

Another thing which is often practiced among Jews, including my Dad, is to catch someone being good. When there may be a need to correct, it is done in a way that is not shaming.

Jesus often displays these hallmarks of Jewish culture. He was kind yet no wimp, He could express affection. He understood the ramifications of His authority, not for oppression but for service. He was a teacher par excellence, a counselor to all. His Jewishness clothed Him like a coat of many colors and sometimes we can catch a glimpse of it in the nuances of the written gospels. Here’s one example from Matthew, also a Jew:

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He questioned His disciples: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon bar-Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven.  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Matthew 16:13-17

As many will know, “bar” is Aramaic for son. “Blessed are you, Simon bar-Jonah,” there is such warmth and brotherly, even fatherly, affection conveyed in this phrase. Imagine a tutor or an elder calling you by your full name and calling you blessed at the same time. This is Jesus gushing, it goes way beyond approval, it’s love and pride mixed together, it’s joy because here, Jesus is “catching” Simon Peter being good. He’s ecstatic to see the fruition of what He knew was in Peter.  The Savior then prophesies over him, bestowing upon him almost inconceivable honor and one of the most powerful calls anyone has ever received.

One does not need to be Jewish to see these qualities in Jesus, or to imitate them.