If you have been around the Messianic Jewish Movement for a while you know that you are forever having to explaining yourself to the rest of the world. It starts in elementary school when friends ask you “what are you?” When you get a little older – and for the rest of your life you get the inevitable follow up question, “How can you be Jewish and believe in Jesus” or “Why do you go to a Jewish service if you are not Jewish?” We are a misunderstood people. While we might look forward to the day when Messianic Judaism is so mainstream that our synagogues are full and everyone knows who we are, may I suggest that we are exactly in the right place. We should not be on the defensive or lamenting our position but rather rejoicing in the Lord! We have always been a nation of “aliens and sojourners.” In the wilderness, God warned us not to be like the people around us – Egyptians where we came from or like the Canaanites where we were going (see Le. 18:3) but to be a unique people. But even within Israel, the remnant,(the prophets and those who believed them), were in the minority and quite misunderstood. When Yeshua came it was no different. He was considered a rebel, a radical and was rejected by most but not all of the Jewish world. We should not be frustrated or disappointed that we are not embraced by either the rest of the Jewish community or the community at large. I will suggest that God has called us to be in the margins. Yeshua came to change the status quo of the mainstream community – not to simply join it! That is what he wants us to do. This is done from the margins of the community – at the edges but within the community. We are called to be a witness of the presence of Yeshua the Messiah within the Jewish community. We do this through our words and actions. We speak into the community with the messianic claims of Yeshua and we live in community with like minded messiah followers in order to manifest the life of Yeshua to those around us. But we are not a ghetto. We must take Yeshua out of the synagogue and into the community. This means getting involved in the larger Jewish world and the world at large and displaying the life of Messiah in all of our interactions. But we must be intentional. In other words, if we are going to change the status quo – if we are going to be radical – if we are going to be like Yeshua we must be forthright about his claims and the difference he has made in our lives. We must exhibit the radical joy; the radical love; the radical servanthood of Messiah and the satisfaction that he provides. The result will be spiritual growth in our own lives and communities as we fulfill our calling and we will see some people will heed the message and become messiah followers.
Let us remember that while we may be misunderstood we will find those who are sympathetic and friendly. In addition and most importantly, we are a “segulah” a treasured possession to the Lord. Let us focus on being pleasing to him in all things – in our holiness, our joy and in our calling to bring Yeshua to our people and to the world.