Sitting here on this rainy Sunday afternoon, I’ve been talking to the Lord about the state of the church. You see the more I learn about our Jewish roots, the more my heart breaks for those of us who call ourselves followers of Christ.
I hear a lot of talk in churches about getting back to biblical Christianity. Churches boast how their government is set up like that of the early church. They take pride in their worship and teaching, truly believing it all lines up with that of the early church. But is that true?
What did the early church look like?
As I read through the book of Acts, I can’t help but see a very Jewish community meeting in the Temple for the times of prayer and in synagogues to hear Moses preached (the Torah read and taught). And I see them doing something very Jewish – meeting in homes to break bread together (enjoy a Sabbath meal, which includes discussion of Torah.)
I also hear a lot of talk about being a follower of Jesus, wanting to look like Him, act like Him, be His ambassador. But do we really want that?
Jesus was the Living Word, the Living Torah. He obeyed the commandments of the Torah and taught others to do so. (Remember His words, “Whoever breaks the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven.”)
Jesus did not see God’s Torah as burdensome, but as life giving. It is a tree of life to those who take hold of it; happy are those who retain it. Its ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace.
And His disciples, including Paul, believed the same thing. As Paul points out, the commandment that was intended to bring life was found to be bringing death. Why? Well certainly not because the Torah is bad, but because the old sin nature loves to disobey. Yet how quickly we forget that we have been made into a new creature, one that wants to be obedient to God’s Word.
And you really can’t talk about God’s Word as something separate from His Torah. They are one and the same.
So back to my original questions – do we really look like the early church? They lived their lives within the framework of Torah. Do we?
Do we really look like our Jewish Messiah who said, “Until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or stroke will pass from the Torah”?