Sunday, 12 January 2020
Question of the day: "What happened to you?"
Answer: Occasionally, I get this question as I travel around Israel. When a non-believing Israeli learns that I am Jewish AND a believer in Yeshua, this is what they want to know, "What happened to you?"
Paul had to answer this question. In fact, we should all be ready to answer this question. 1 Peter 3:15 "Instead sanctify Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you".
Paul's answer is found here ... Acts 26:12-15 "While journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the ruling kohanim, at midday, O King, I saw on the road a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those traveling with me. When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against goads!' Then I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Yeshua - whom you are persecuting.'"
Every one of us who follow Yeshua have a story. It might not be a "Damascus Road" experience like Paul, but none of us arrived in the kingdom of God without revelation (not in our heads, but in our hearts).
What was Paul's message (it should be our message too)? Acts 26:20b "That they (both Jews and Gentiles) should repent and turn to God, performing deeds consistent with that repentance."
The Hebrew word for "repentance" is T'shuvah. It contains within it Shuv which itself means "turn." It is possible that in Hebrew "repent and turn" is a couplet made of the same word twice. This is how we express superlatives in Hebrew. It means "repent more," or "really repent."
2 Corinthians 7:1 "Therefore, since we have these promises, loved ones, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of body and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God ..."
For verse 10, I prefer the King James Version ... "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."
In other words, when God works in our hearts, we repent with a deeper repentance than what is available without the work of God. And when God works in our hearts, it leads us to salvation (Yeshua) and we don't have to repent for that.
If we only feel sorry (first level repentance), maybe we're just sorry we got caught, that leaves us with a death sentence. We need You, Lord. Isaiah 55:6-7 "Seek Adonai while He may be found, call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous one his thoughts, let him return to Adonai, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon."
And that's a wrap. Shalom beloved.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,