Over the past few years I have been going through a questioning phase in my life, maybe it is part of the getting older and wondering why I do what I do, or whether or not it is me wanting to make a difference in the time I have. I am not sure why all of the questions about certain things, but questions nonetheless.
One of my ongoing questions deals with why we do certain things and why are we afraid to question those certain things- for example, I grew up in the North American church culture that gathers together on Sundays, not the Sabbath, we celebrate Easter, not Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread, we acknowledge the birth of Yeshua (Jesus’ real Hebrew name) on December 25, rather than during the Feast of Tabernacles (September/October); these are just the beginning of the examples in which I am in question of.
One of the major examples I am questioning gets me into trouble because it seems that we are more interested in denominational customs and traditions than maybe the truth of the matter. It starts- Matthew 1:1 “The book of genealogy of Yeshua ha-Mashiach, Ben-David, Ben Avraham.” Yeshua, whom Christians say to follow was a Hebrew, a Jew who grew up in the Jewish culture participating and celebrating the Appointed Times of God (Moadim) which He himself established (Leviticus 23). I think we forget that Yeshua not only was part of the Jewish culture, but in fact called Abraham and chose Abraham and his descendants as His chosen people (Genesis 15).
Out of this study of Yeshua as God in the flesh living as a Jewish man in the Jewish culture, celebrating the Appointed times of God, times that He established and set in motion (Genesis 1:14), I have to realize and understand that Yeshua whom I have chosen to believe as the Messiah, therefore making my faith stance as a Messianic Gentile, said and did things through the lens of the Jewish culture!
If that is our starting point in following Yeshua (which it should be-acknowledging that Yeshua was a Hebrew man living in a Jewish culture), it should make sense that what He did is filtered through that train of thought, not my denominational train of thought that has been filtered through 1000’s of years of changes (please do not mistake my writing as a slam or ignorance to denomination’s, that is not my intent, it is for me to follow Yeshua starting with the Greatest Commandment!) However, this is not my opinion I am writing about, but rather trying to get to the grassroots of my faith and questioning the results of that faith- I believe a smart man named Albert is attributed as saying that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.“
Now to the question at hand, one that stirs up defense, arguments, and traditional Christian customs: Matthew 26 (TLV)
26 Now while they were eating, Yeshua took matzah ; and after He offered the bracha, He broke and gave to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”27 And He took a cup; and after giving thanks, He gave to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the removal of sins.29 But I say to you, I will never drink of this fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
It is important to note that what Yeshua and His disciples are doing here is eating the Passover meal. The Pesach which had been observed by the Jews for some 1300 years prior to this Passover observance. It is this Passover event where “communion” or “the Lord’s supper” has originated from and has become a tradition/custom in the church age that we are part of. (To go into a deeper look at this read this article about the Breaking of Bread).
From what I observe at this Passover meal, knowing what I know about what happened over the course of the next 2-3 days, what Yeshua says in Luke 22:19,20 takes on a whole new meaning for the Passover meals from that point on.
19 And when He had taken matzah and offered the bracha, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, given for you. Do this in memory of Me.” 20 In the same way, He took the cup after the meal, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you.
What was the “Do This in Memory of Me” Yeshua was referring to??
Was it the breaking of bread and drinking of wine as referred to as a gathering for a meal? Or, was it rather, remember why we are celebrating this Passover event- because G-d passed over and spared you when He saw the blood stained door posts of your house in Egypt, but I am telling you that from this point on remember the blood stained cross in which I will be crucified on setting you free from death, sin, and freedom to live life to the fullest because I have become the Passover Lamb for the sin of the world. This Passover event in the future days- Do This in Memory of Me!
Ever since Jewish thought and culture has been driven out from the Gentile followers of Yeshua by the second century Roman Church, and then reinforced anti-Semitic thought during the Reformation which spurred the Protestant Church of today, we have so far removed any Jewish-ness of Yeshua that this thought that I have presented of Passover rather than communion has become heretical sounding to our white washed North Americanized Christian culture!
I am not giving up on Church, Yeshua gave us the greatest commission, I just think we should do it the way in which He did things, not that we Gentiles become Jews, but that we not forget that Yeshua was Hebrew, it was this context in which He came to this earth, there is freedom in Yeshua alone. We have a duty to do and we should do it to the best of our ability and in the truthfulness of what and how Yeshua did things, not in our man made constructs of what we think is right- I believe it is alright to question the way things are in the practices of followers of Yeshua, especially when the results are not what He said they would be!