Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Don’t Be Hard On Jews – Romans, part 26
Rabbi Trail: Happy Valentine’s Day. I’m not really in love with Valentine’s Day, I’m trying to subtly remind any of you forgetful men out there, that you may want to take care of your responsibilities by honoring your beloved on this non-biblical, made up custom called Valentine’s Day. No matter what you think of man made holidays, anytime is a good time to express your love. And look, there it is, on the calendar for today. End RT.
Last Friday we ended our study of Romans chapter 2. It ended with a dozen verses on the horrors of hypocrisy most of which used Jews as the bad example. For example… Romans 2:17 But if you call yourself Jewish and rely upon the Torah and boast in God…. 21a you then who teach another, do you not teach yourself? 23 You who take pride in the Torah, through your violation of the Torah, do you dishonor God?
That’s really hard on Jewish people. So, it only makes sense that Paul would begin chapter 3 (I wonder if he wrote originally in chapters or, as I suspect, they were added later by editors.) with a couple of questions. Romans 3:1 Then what is the advantage of being Jewish? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Paul answers his own question… Romans 3:2a Much in every way. I’ve listened to many a sermon that makes it sound like Paul answered his own question, “No how, no way!”
“Christ killers” is a label that has shaped Jewish-Christian relations for 2,000 years. It presents a barrier to salvation for Jewish people that God never intended. Yeshua, Himself, was hard on scribes and pharisees, and for good reason. His objection to them was their hypocrisy. We must all be careful not to fall into that trap.
This is my issue today. When we ridicule Jewish people for being Jewish, we are in league with the devil, who wants Jewish people alienated from their own Messiah. Let me ask you a question, “Does God love Jewish people?” (Notice I didn’t say “the” Jewish people. Why should we objectify Jews as a group in that way? God’s love through Yeshua is available to individuals, not to groups.) Paul himself answers that question at the beginning of Romans 11.
Romans 11:1a I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be!
Now that we have established that there are advantages to being Jewish, let’s wait one day, until tomorrow, to provide some details and descriptions. Until then, shalom, shalom.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Tue 14-Feb-2023 23rd of Sh’vat, 5783
Ex 22:5-27(4-26) 2 Ki 9 Ps 134-135 Jn 10 (2 Ti 1)