©October 29, 2011 Revive Israel MinistriesLove Involves Pain
Love is the highest value of the kingdom (I Corinthians 13:13). It is the central motivation of all the commandments (Mark 12:30-31). It is the character of God Himself (I John 4:8). It is the motivation behind the life mission of Yeshua (John 3:16). And it involves pain.
Love involves a relationship, which in turn involves another human being. All of us human beings cause trouble. We sin. Sin hurts other people. If we love people, we have to deal with the pain that sin causes.
I have wonderful, loving, faithful relationships with people in all spheres of my life – marriage, family, work, congregation, partners and friends. Yet they all involve pain. Faithfulness and patience means bearing the pain of relationships over a long period of time. The beauty of love is well worth the pain involved, but it does cost the price. Pain is the price of love.
The pain of loving relationships comes in several dimensions. First we bear the weight when those we are in relationship with are weak. They cannot do all they should, so we need to "make up the difference." Here there is no intended harm meant. It is more of a weight than a pain.
The second dimension is that we feel vicariously the pains of others. Yeshua would weep in His daily prayer times (Hebrews 5:7) as He felt the suffering of others. Paul (Saul) said that he felt the suffering of those in the congregations under his authority. This pain is a spiritual pain; not your own pain. It is the loving identification of compassion and intercession.
The third dimension of pain is when someone you love hurts you. Here the pain is more direct. The depth of love is intimacy. Intimacy demands openness. Openness makes for vulnerability. That means you can be hurt or wounded. When we are hurt, we have the grace of Yeshua to help us forgive, overlook, communicate and receive healing. Yet the process still hurts.
Yeshua suffered the pain of the crucifixion in order to maintain a relationship with us. Our sin and His love caused the pain. Unfortunately, we are still causing Him pain. He forgave us on the cross. He continues to forgive us today.
We are called to follow in Yeshua's footsteps. We act as He did on the cross. As He forgave us, we forgive others. He paid the price to continue in relationship with us. He suffered pain in order to love us. We suffer pain in order to love others. We walk by faith in the kind of sacrificial love that Yeshua had for us.
Who Ate Lunch with Abraham?
The main idea for this book was developed not only in years of study in the Hebrew texts, but also in real life experiences of sharing the gospel with Orthodox Jews in Israel. (Not to mention a lot of prayer and intercession.)
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(From the introduction to the book, Who Ate Lunch with Abraham?)
I grew up in a liberal Jewish home and attended a conservative synagogue in my youth. During my college years, I found myself on a search for spiritual truth. My personal search and my studies in psychology, philosophy and ancient literatures at Harvard did not lead me to anything that satisfied my soul.
I tried all kinds of spiritual experiences and experiments. The one thing that I was not willing to consider was Jesus. However, in an effort to be consistent in my search for truth, I realized that I had to read the gospels at least one time (even though I was convinced beforehand that there would be nothing very good in them).
The first time I read the gospels in 1977, I was surprised at how positive they were. The person of Yeshua, His life and His teachings, inspired both love and awe. It was difficult not to “fall in love” with that inspiring figure.
The second time I read the gospels in 1978, I had a second surprise. I realized how “Jewish” the book was. Everyone in it was Jewish, including Yeshua Himself and all the disciples. More than that, the entire world view about the kingdom of God was taken from the Hebrew Prophets.
Because of the first surprise, I dedicated my life to be a follower of Yeshua. Because of the second surprise, I found myself as part of what is popularly called “Messianic Judaism.” At that point, I continued studies, not only in the Bible, but also in Christian literature and in Rabbinic writings. (As part of those studies, I completed in the early 1980s two masters’ degrees, one in Jewish Studies from Baltimore Hebrew University, and one in theology from Messiah Biblical Institute.)
There are many issues concerning the Jewish roots of Christianity. One of the most challenging is the figure of the Angel of the Lord in the Torah (Law) and Prophets. This book hopes to deal with those issues.
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