Thursday, August 25, 2016

Parashah Messiah: Circumcision of the Heart

Torah Portion: Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)
Gospel Reading: Romans 2
Commentary by: Matthew Day

Many of us when we joined the Messianic movement were surprised to find grace in the Old Testament, that Israel was not saved by works, and that circumcision of the heart is actually in the Torah. No where is this more explicit in the Torah than in this week's portion. Moses warned the children of Israel not to say "It is because of my righteousness" (Deut. 9:4 ESV). On the contrary, Israel was a stubborn people. Even after seeing the ten plagues, the splitting of the Red Sea, the destruction of the Egyptians, and receiving the ten commandments, they still turned around and built an idol. And continued to test God time after time after time. Moses reminded them of all of this. No, it was not because of Israel's righteousness, but because of God's faithfulness to His covenant.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Parashah Messiah: Who Is My Neighbor?

Torah Portion: V’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)
Gospel Reading: Mark 12:29-33, Luke 10:30-37
Commentary by: Chris Mumford
Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (​Mark 12:29-33 NASB)
V’etchanan is a heavy portion regarding theological material. Moses is continuing his pep talk and stern warning before Israel enters the promised land. The parsha contains the Ten Commandments and the Shema. I want to contrast the stories of Yeshua’s teaching on the greatest commandments and the context from which the mitzvot are given. Yeshua had this portion in mind when he was asked what is the greatest commandment. What is intriguing about his connection of Leviticus 19:18 to this parsha is context of both. The word for neighbor in Hebrew is “rea,” literally reysh ayin, and the word from which Ruth’s name is derived. The word is actually pretty general and can take on meanings ranging from intimate friend to strangers. In Luke’s Gospel Yeshua is asked directly who is a neighbor. He responds with my favorite parable.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Parashah Messiah: The Retelling of Faith

Torah Portion: Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)
Gospel Reading: Hebrews 12:1-11
Commentary by: Chris Knight

This week we begin the book of Deuteronomy with Parshat Devarim. Deuteronomy is unique in that the generation that left Egypt has passed away. All except Moses. Now Moses is recounting all the events, challenges, failures, and victories their parents had faced before arriving here at the bank of the Jordan. Moses hopes to inspire this generation to trust in God’s faithfulness, to obey the Torah, and to not make the same mistakes that their fathers had made before them.

One of the biggest challenges the previous generation had faced was their lack of faith in being able to conquer the land of Canaan. In fact, this is the reason why they could not enter the land and had to die in the wilderness, leaving the promise to their children. When they had spied out the land, they saw the enemy as too great, too powerful, too strong for them to overcome. They looked at their own might rather than God’s faithfulness to His word. Moses hopes this new generation won’t make the same mistake and says to Joshua in chapter three,

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Parashah Messiah: Refuge to Resurrection

Torah Portion: Mattot/Massei (Numbers 30:1-36:13)
Gospel Reading: 1 Corinthians 15
Commentary by: Kelsey Bryant

One of the best Torah illustrations of the Gospel is found in Massei, the second of this week’s double parashot. Numbers 35:9-34 explains the vital institution of the cities of refuge…and supplies us a lot of food for thought about our redemption through Yeshua.