Sabbath Meditation, Walking As He Walked

I hope your table will be as joyous as mine tonight. I have new friends and old coming. I have a fresh supply of wine, six bottles (don’t worry, we won’t drink them all tonight). I have my seven kids around the table as well. One of my great joys is seeing my 1 1/2 year old. When Linda gets out the candles, little Miriam puts her tiny hands in front of her eyes, mimicking the traditional posture. May your joy equal or exceed ours and may your home be filled with the Spirit and with Yeshua.

My mind is on the concept of walking as Yeshua walked.

I’ve been greatly moved by several things I’ve read on blogs recently. One is a somewhat technical paper on the Emerging Church movement, by Scot McKnight, a professor at North Park Seminary in Illinois. McKnight is one of the scholars friendly to the Emerging Church conversation (though he has some reservations and cautions). Other than his commentary on Galatians (which I found disappointingly Reformed), I appreciate his scholarship and writings, including a volume on Second Temple Judaism and the practice of proselytizing Gentiles.

The second blog article that drove me to this topic is by Emily Hunter McGowin, a young writer, seminary student, and a bit of a prodigy (she had work published in some reputable places in her early twenties!). She is still quite young (not sure, but twenties still). Her blog is always well worth reading. She has an article today on the meaning of discipleship as Yeshua taught it.

The Issue: What it Means to Follow Yeshua?
This is not, apparently, as simple as it sounds. One great idea for following Yeshua would be to read his words and follow what he says. THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT WHAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF CHURCHES AND PASTORS WOULD TELL YOU TO DO. In fact, it’s thought heresy by many.

You see, we have in modern Christianity an army of gatekeepers who define Christian faith by their denominational traditions. For the most part, their thinking is that following Jesus is all about . . . CONVERSION. Being born again is the height of everything God gave us to do in this world. YES, I’M EXAGGERATING, BUT ONLY SLIGHTLY.

For me, and I hope for many others, reading and practicing the words of Moses, the prophets, the sages and poets, Yeshua, and the apostles, is what the faith is all about. That is, the Bible is our guide and not Christian history, systematic theologies, or religious gatekeepers with clergy posts. (By the way, I’m not meaning to be harsh on pastors — a significant number would agree with me).

Emily Hunter McGowin considers the many statements of Yeshua about following him, such as:
1. Hate your father and mother.
2. Carry your cross.
3. Count the cost before you follow me.
4. Don’t lose your saltiness or you’ll be worthless.
5. Hate your own life.
6. See Luke 14:25-35 for more.

I really like Emily’s summary:

In my opinion, the main idea of Luke 14:25-35 is as follows: To be a disciple of Jesus Christ, one must abandon all of one’s resources, including family heritage, social standing, material possessions, and physical life itself. These resources are ultimately inadequate, and one’s retention of them means one’s exclusion from discipleship and, by implication, the Kingdom of God.

By the way, we’re not talking here about vows of poverty, but, better: a life of simplicity and singular devotion. You don’t have to become a poor friar with nothing but the clothes on your back begging for bread. BUT YESHUA NEVER SAID, “EXPERIENCE CONVERSION AND LIVE LIKE YOU WANT TO AND YOU WILL BE MY DISCIPLE.”

Emerging Theology and Yeshua-Faith

Scot McKnight describes the general tendencies of a group of leaders and a movement of followers in what is known as the Emerging Church. Mostly it is a reaction and like all reactions, the Emerging conversation sometimes goes too far. I am not endorsing the entire movement. BUT NEITHER CAN I ENDORSE THE STATUS-QUO IN CHRISTIANITY AND MESSIANIC JUDAISM REGARDING THE MEANING OF YESHUA-FAITH.

Scot describes the emerging view of what Yeshua-faith means:

Jesus, emerging folk are quite proud to remind us, said that we will be
judged (according to the parable of the sheep and goats) on how we treat the
least of these (Matt. 25:31-46), and that the wise man is one who practices the
words of Jesus (Matt. 7:24-27). On top of this, some are quite fond of reminding
us that Jesus didn’t offer a doctrinal statement but a way of life, and that he
called people to follow him and not just to get their theology right. And they
are not beyond saying that every judgment scene in the Bible is a judgment
based on works, and no judgment scene seems like a theological articulation
test. And they may be willing to say that no one has ever believed
everything just right – not Origen and not Athanasius and not Augustine and
not Aquinas and – to end the little “a” roll here – not Calvin and not Luther
and not Menno Simons or John Wesley.

Walking as Yeshua Walked

This is supposed to be a meditation, not an academic discussion. Yet I showed you Scot and Emily’s thoughts because so many of us reading this are infected with the easy-believism disease of modern American church life:
1. Become born-again.
2. Attend a local church (this one is becoming optional).
3. You’ve graduated.

I have a better idea. Let’s live as Yeshua lived. In community. Loving neighbor. Loving God. Sacrificing his own needs. Seeing others with compassion. Not overlooking the least of these. Befriending sinners. Drawing others to God with winsomeness and not judgment. Laying down his life for his friends.

Let’s consider a new definition of Yeshua-faith. It’s not from a denomination. It’s not what the gatekeepers have been saying. I think you’ll like it:

whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:6.

Good Shabbes, all!


About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Christian, Messianic Jewish, Sabbath, Yeshua. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Sabbath Meditation, Walking As He Walked

  1. “One of my great joys is seeing my 1 1/2 year old. When Linda gets out the candles, little Miriam puts her tiny hands in front of her eyes, mimicking the traditional posture.”

    If you don’t have a picture(s) of this, I recommend you get them, quickly, before she stops doing it. This is one of those memories you will want on film. I know my mother treasures pics like that from when we were kids, and I’m sure Dad would too, if he could see.

    Plus, you could post them on your blog and we could all share in your nachus!

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