Getting to know someone can be challenging. There is so much depth to every individual – strengths, weaknesses, personality traits, character, experiences, dreams, and passions. I was really close to my grandfather before he finished his time here on this earth. We spent time together working on his cattle farm and tinkering on cars. I feel like I got to know him pretty well.
“D-Daddy” was a quiet, thoughtful man. He never got angry and was always willing to listen. I remember hearing him talk to other people about how proud he was of me. It’s amazing what those words did to my young heart! I knew I was not perfect, but somehow I also knew that I was loved and accepted by him.
I got to know him best when he was in his own element. We would jump in his old, black, well-worn Ford pickup truck and ride out to the farm to check on the cows. He would call “sok, sok, sok,” and the cows would come running. After putting some feed out, we would watch the cows eat as D-Daddy sipped on his Dr. Pepper that he had dumped a bag of salted peanuts into.
It was amazing how well he knew vehicles. Once, after he had gotten older and less mobile, he sat in a camp chair in the garage and walked me through changing the water pump in our van. He described to a T what I was looking at and what needed to be done without being able to see anything himself.
It was in those moments that I learned who he was. There, out on his farm or in his garage, I learned his personality, character, dreams, and passions. He had built this mini-kingdom that was uniquely his. It all spoke of the man he was and it all worked together to enable him to fulfill his dreams.
As Christians, one of our greatest desires is to know God and to know Yeshua (Jesus), whom we have faith in as the Messiah. We want to know His will for us and His dreams for humanity, so that we can align ourselves with Him and see redemption, righteousness, and peace fill our world.
The phrase, “We have come to know Jesus,” is often used in our congregations. By that, we generally mean that we have put our faith in Jesus as the Messiah, and through His death and resurrection, He has cleansed us from our sins and reconciled us back to God. Many evangelists will approach unbelievers and ask the question, “Do you know Jesus?”
We are acutely aware of the miraculous salvation we have received and how it has changed our lives forever. In this way we have “come to know” Him. However, I have a question: Is it possible that we have focused more on how we have individually been affected by Jesus than we have on learning about who He is? Have we dedicated our lives to a King that we know little about? I believe that, in the same way I came to know my grandfather by being with him on his turf, we can learn much about the Kingdom of God through the Jewish people and the land of Israel.
Jesus was a Jew, one of God’s chosen people. He lived in Israel, God’s chosen land. He prayed, taught, and worshiped at His Father’s house in Jerusalem – the holy Temple (Matt 26:55, Mark 12:35, Luke 2:22, 42, 46, 21:37). Jesus was perfect, never transgressing one of His Fathers loving commandments of instruction given in the Torah (2 Corinthians 5:21). Yeshua’s dream is for Heaven to come to earth (Luke 11:2-4). Part of that same vision includes heaven’s earthly capital being the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (Mark 11:17).
The Jewish people relate to these biblical, Jewish elements and dreams. They are the owners, bearers, and defenders of them! We Christians have been so arrogant that we have focused on the ways we believe the Jewish people need to change instead of recognizing that we need them and what they have!
God is calling us to feast on the goodness that He is giving the world through a relationship with the people of Israel. I believe that if we humble ourselves and receive it, we will be blessed beyond our wildest dreams! Much of it will be totally unfamiliar and foreign to us. Maybe it will sound as strange as my grandfather drinking Dr. Pepper and peanuts…..but if this is of God, then this is what we want!
As I have developed relationships within the Jewish community, I found that they know the Tanach (Old Testament) even better than my grandfather knew cars! They will spontaneously quote whole passages of Scripture and give excellent, relevant, practical, and powerful insights. The Jewish people carry a message of biblical morality that we have lost in almost all of our Christian circles.
One of the Jewish things that Yeshua did was keep the feast of Passover (Luke 22:8). If you have not celebrated Passover, I encourage you to do what Yeshua did! Experience the “Yeshua-ness” of the Jewish culture and tradition by connecting with the land and people of Israel. If your experience is anything like mine has been, you will be left in awe of the depth of goodness that God is still emanating through the Jewish people! You can get to know Jesus by doing the things He did, with the people He did them with, in the culture He did them in.
Passover is a time of removing leaven from our houses, which represents removing sin from our lives. It’s a time of putting away our ways and ideas and embracing His.
“Let us join with the Apostle Paul who said “I must by all means keep this feast…” (Acts 18:21)”