A Rabbi’s thoughts….
All Judaism is #Messianic. This unrefutable position is so well known it is pointless even trying to undermine it. Contrary to popular opinion across most of the world, the concept of a Messiah (Mashiach) has only Jewish soil to grow in, and without the Hebraic understanding which is drawn from the thousands of years of Jewish Scripture the figure of Messiah would have no definition and no function. It has been the Jewish longing of centuries and continues unabated to this day. In Yeshua’s day one of the most popular questions asked him was ‘are you the one who is to come?’ Messianic expectation was high in the first century, and for good reason. All the time indications offered by the Tanach were coming together into a nexus of excitement that the time was right. As we know, our Sages and Rabbis later had their thoughts transcribed, thoughts that were laden with the sadness and disappointment that apparently Messiah had not come. Yet of course, in Messianic Judaism we know that ‘in due season’ and at the right time, exactly on schedule, Messiah was indeed born to a Jewish family in Israel of the first century.
The correlation to today is intriguing. The very expectation surrounding the coming of Mashiach in the first century drove the crowds to search for his presence, indeed we may argue the expectation itself had some role in creating the spiritual environment into which Mashiach could be born. We have a record of one man, Shimon, who according to the texts was a (Jewishly) pious and righteous man. He was ‘waiting for the Consolation of Israel’ and upon seeing Yeshua declared ‘my eyes have seen Your salvation’. Today too, the expectation is once more growing that Mashiach’s arrival is immanent. Whether in the preparations for the rebuilding of the Temple, the birth of red heifers or more generally in the shifting of the scenery on the geopolitical world stage, expectation is growing that Messiah is coming soon.
Nothing demonstrates this expectation more than a radio play put on by Radio Kol Chai in Jerusalem shortly after Tish b’av a couple of weeks ago (link). Designed to impact in a similar way that the ‘War of the Worlds’ was designed, it most certainly had the same effect. People phoned the radio studio in droves, so realistic was the ‘live’ coverage of Messiah’s arrival in Jerusalem. Many wanted to know what they should do now Messiah was here. The aim of the play? To heighten awareness of the possible ‘any moment’ arrival of the one we have waited so long for. Intriguing too that the dialogue connected with so many of the Messianic prophetic expectations in the Tanach, including the transport used on Messiah’s coming: “It is still unclear whether he will be riding on a donkey or descend on a cloud from heaven,” the on-site report continued, addressing an ancient debate on the method of the Messiah’s arrival. “The emotion is at a peak and we are especially high.”
For Messianic Jews of course none of this is new. Our own expectations are high because we can read the signs of the times and know the birth pangs are well under way. His return is on schedule and in due season we shall see Him revealed once more, this time to rule and reign as King David and not the broken and ‘hidden’ Yosef. May Mashiach come soon and in or day. Amen.