I am a Christian, and I am a follower of Jesus. However, two weeks ago I drove to a town an hour away from my home to have a meeting with a Jewish Rabbi.
Have you ever felt like you needed to do something, and you simply could not rest until it was done? Have you ever felt like a complete weirdo while you were doing it? I have.
An overwhelming curiosity arose within me recently, and caused me to evaluate the common ground that lies between Christians and Jews. I wondered how we could have such an important theology in common, monotheism, believing that there is one true God, and that He made us and everything around us; Yet, be so different at the same time.
So many things line up between us. Except one thing, the most important thing, the belief that Jesus is The Messiah or “The Anointed One.”
There are so many beautiful things about Judaism. The way they exalt God, and honor Him by keeping His laws is truly awe inspiring. The Rabbi described God as this, “When I open my eyes in the morning I see God. God is the knowledge I have learned. He is everywhere, all the time, all at once.” People of the Jewish faith dedicate years of their life going to Torah school to learn Hebrew, and memorize God’s word. There is something about their discipline that fascinates me, and humbles me.
I often wonder how different my life would be if I, as a Christian, would have spent more of my time being that disciplined.
I thought God was taking me to a Jewish Temple to learn more about Judaism. After all Jesus was born Jewish, and I claim to be one of His followers. I did learn, a lot. However, I think the real lesson God was trying to teach me was on obedience.
God clearly states in Mark 12 that the two greatest commandments are to first love God, and second to love our neighbors. How can we truly love our neighbors if we do not take the time to understand them?
Did I feel crazy going to meet with a Rabbi? You bet. Was it uncomfortable sharing my faith about Jesus, whom I believe in the depths of my soul is the one true Messiah who came to save the world, with someone who strongly rejects this claim? ABSOLUTELY.
I think sometimes God wants us to obey Him even when we are confused. He wants us to become comfortable sharing our faith in extremely uncomfortable situations. Does God call us to stay in our comfort zones? No, He doesn’t.
Will anything ever come from my two and a half hour long meeting with my new friend the Rabbi? Maybe. Maybe not. One thing that did transpire was me getting out of my Christian bubble. It caused me to realize not everyone believes the way I do. It made my heart break for the 8,000 Jewish individuals who live one hour from me who may not have a personal relationship with Jesus.
It caused me to be thankful that even though He knew many would reject Him, Jesus died a brutally horrific and painful death to know ALL OF US.
So I want to challenge my fellow Christian brothers and sisters, “be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” LOVE YOUR NEIGHBORS. Get to know them, especially if they are different than you. And if God stirs up something inside of you, leading you to email a Rabbi that you don’t know, DO IT. You will be so glad you did.