Thursday, October 29, 2015

Parashah Messiah: "Before Abraham Was, I AM"

Torah Portion: Vayera (Gen. 18:1-22:24)
Gospel Reading: John 8:48-59; Hebrews 11:8-19
Commentary by: Chris Knight

Vayera is translated as “He appeared” in English. In this week’s portion, it is in reference to the Lord, YHVH, appearing to Abraham at his tent. Interestingly enough, God’s appearance to Abraham takes the form of three “men” or “angels.” However, when reading this passage of the Torah in Hebrew, it becomes evidently clear that there is something distinctive about one of the three men in particular. In Genesis 18:1-3 we read, “Then YHVH appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, and said, 'My Lord (Adonai, singular), if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your (singular) servant.'

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Gospel in the Torah

How often I've heard in Messianic circles "Torah does not mean law." Yet, that's how we treat it. We obsess over obedience for obedience sake as we try to subject others to this new understanding of ours.

In a sense, the Torah is indeed law. But, in a sense, it is also gospel--good news. It is good news to the orphan and widow, for God has brought them justice. It is good news to the stranger, who is brought near in equal standing before God. It is good news to humanity, as rest is granted to us from our toil.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Parashah Messiah: Called to Follow

Torah Portion: Lekh Lekha (Gen. 12:1–17:27)
Gospel Reading: John 17:1–26
Commentary by: Kelsey Bryant

“Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I shall curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.’” (Gen. 12:1–3, NASB)

Thus begins Abraham’s story in Genesis 12. God has a history of choosing one specific individual or group to do a task, a mission that furthers God’s purposes for His kingdom. They must leave behind what they’ve known and try not to look back.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

An Introduction to Far From Home

How does one tell a story?

This is the question I am wrestling with today. Some tell their stories through artwork. Some through music. Some through a kind word or deed to a stranger. I tell my stories through written words. But even here there is much freedom and much challenge.

What is a story?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a story as "An account or recital of an event or a series of events, either true or fictitious." This is true in a literal sense. A story relates events. But why? What is the purpose (besides mere entertainment)?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Parashah Messiah: All Have Fallen

Torah Portion: Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32)
Gospel Reading: Romans 3:9-31
Commentary by: Matthew Day

In the last Torah portion, we ended with God's declaration of man's depravity: "The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen. 6:5). This is not unlike what we read in Romans when Paul declares that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Ever since the fall of man, this have been our condition. We were told that when we ate of the tree of knowledge we would reap death, and so we have been continually reaping death for the last six thousand years.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Parashah Messiah: The Word

Torah Portion: B'reisheet (Gen. 1:1-6:8)
Gospel Reading: John 1:1-18
Commentary by: Matthew Day

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" -- These are the opening words of the Gospel of John, the declaration of what his testimony is about. John mimics the opening words of Genesis, but he digs deeper. Whereas Genesis speaks of the creation, John speaks of the life and light behind the creation.