There are many who actually believe that Messianic Judaism is an exclusively Jewish movement. They believe passionately the Gentile believers in Messiah are brothers and sisters, but that they should stay in their own churches, among their own people. They believe they should keep their own religious holidays including a different weekly worship day (Sunday) rather than the Lord’s day (Shabbat). We have our congregations and you have yours. This mantra sounds a bit like “Equal but Separate”. It reminds me of the dilemma addressed in Acts 15. Before I posit for your prayerful consideration my reasoning for “Equal and United”, allow me to give you a quote from one of the largest Messianic Jewish Organizations today.
My understanding of this cardinal statement may be mistaken, but I believe this assertion clearly states that Messianic Judaism is a movement of committed Jews who believe in Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah of Israel. While I concur this is true in part, it misses two requisite truths concerning Yeshua’s Messiah-ship.
A. Yeshua is not only the Messiah of Israel He is the Messiah of the entire world!
B. Messiah Yeshua’s Judaism (Messianic Judaism) has given birth to a movement of committed people (read Jews and Gentiles) who believe He is the one and true Messiah of Israel and all the nations of the world.
I will not spend time on the first indispensable truth due to its general universal acceptance. However, the latter statement summons our attention. Let’s begin with some working definitions:
A. Judaism: Generally speaking, the religion of the Jewish people.
B. Messianic: Of or relating to the Messiah.
To The Point
Messianic Judaism is simply but profoundly the Judaism of the Messiah. Not only is Yeshua the Messiah, He established His own denomination of Judaism in the common-era which his contemporaries labeled the sect of the Nazarene (see Acts 24:5). He even invited his own Jewish brothers and sisters to join His new and revolutionary movement saying,
28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” NAS Matthew 11:28-30.
His movement had its own yoke, His yoke (Yoke: a prioritization and application of the written Torah by a sect of Judaism). It was a different yoke than that of the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Samaritans, and other sects of Judaism. It was different than the Judaism’s of the first century and it's different than the Judaism’s we have today. Suffice it to say, Messianic Judaism is the Judaism of Messiah.
What about the Gentiles? Yeshua stated,
“16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” NAS John 10:16
Messianic Judaism or shall we say, the Judaism of Yeshua the Messiah, is different than many Judaisms in that it invites and embraces in its fold, the Gentiles as Gentiles. Conversion is not needed. There is one fold where Jews and Gentiles experience the redemption of God, which He had promised to Abraham long ago. One congregation where Jews and Gentiles worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. One redeemed people that has the Torah of Moses written on their hearts. A new humanity comprised of Jews and Gentiles in the Messiah who are empowered by His Spirit to walk the Torah out by faith and through love.
In Messianic Judaism, No conversion is necessary to participate in the covenants of promise
In the Judaism of the Messiah, the emphasis is on Covenant Status not Ethnic Status. (re-read Eph. 1-3 and Rom. 9-11). Therefore, we see Jews as Jews, and Gentiles as Gentiles, walking together in the Torah as the practical expression of the righteousness of God, which He gave all of us as a gift in Messiah. As the Jewish Apostle so aptly stated,
“19 Circumcision [Jewish ethnic status] is nothing, and uncircumcision [Gentile ethnic status] is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.” NAS 1st Cor. 7:19
The Judaism of Messiah (Messianic Judaism) is inclusive of all people not just Jewish souls. This makes His movement a Jewish/Gentile movement. That’s right, Messianic Judaism is a movement made up of Jewish and Gentile believers in Messiah Yeshua. It could never be an exclusively Jewish movement (MJAA? UMJC?) any more than it could be an exclusively Gentile movement (institutionalized Christianity). He came to redeem the Jew and the Gentile, to bless Israel and the Nations. He died to atone for the sin of the world (Jew and Gentile sin)! We are all equally worth saving for we all are made in His image! And in Him we are equal and now united as one new man (one new humanity). Yes, Equal and United! This is Messianic Judaism; Jews and Gentiles worshiping the one true God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. Each of us comfortable in our own “skins” knowing we are equal and united in Yeshua, the Savior of the World! Each of us participating and partaking together in the covenants of promise (Eph. 3) as we live out the one, same, and only Torah which, He has written on all our (Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles) hearts by the Holy Spirit (see Heb 8 & 10).
Isn’t it time we acknowledge the fact that Messianic Judaism is not a exclusively Jewish movement, but a Jewish and Gentile movement? Isn’t it time we emphasize a covenant-centric faith versus an ethno-centric faith? And isn't time that we focus on the one new man (humanity), equal and united, in Messiah? In light of this and on behalf of my Messianic Gentile colleagues, I say to the Messianic Jewish leadership in this movement:
LET MY PEOPLE IN!