Does His Priority = My Priority?
By Tim James
Once in a while, God gives you a tiny glimpse of how He is perfectly and intricately orchestrating events around you. In those moments, you see all the bits and pieces of your life, the fabric of what God has been shaping over the years, joined together to form a beautiful tapestry. This is something we can marvel at!
I had such a moment recently. Last month, I had the opportunity of joining Sam as he traveled to Columbia International University (CIU) where he was invited to present on Messiah in the Feast of Passover. What some of you may not know is that CIU is my alma mater. I met my wife Laurel there (that alone was worth the price of admission!), and was blessed beyond measure throughout my time studying. As a student at CIU, I encountered various people from diverse communities and ethnicities, students from all around the world. There I formed biblical beliefs about the Word of God and our blessed Messiah, and forged many skills for my God-given toolkit. I truly was blessed there.
Going back to my old-stomping grounds was a blessing as well. Being back in chapel, a building which can seat more than 1,000 students, brought back a flood of memories as I listened to Sam’s message.
Always on his game whether preaching in a small rural church, or speaking in the large auditorium of a significant Bible college in South Carolina, Sam brought a clear challenge to this young crowd, many of whom are future pastors and missionaries. You see, sharing about Messiah in the Passover is not just recounting how God redeemed His people from slavery (something He is very capable of doing still today!) No, sharing Passover is also about sharing a calling, the calling that every believer, whether Jewish or Gentile, is called to bear.
Although I grew up in a very loving, believing home environment, I had no understanding of what it meant to celebrate and rehearse God’s redemptive program through the Feasts of Israel. And because of this I missed out on so much. When we read about the Feasts in Leviticus 23 (or should I say, “IF we read Leviticus 23”…), we see that God has instituted something that was never meant to be ended. (The history of the church sadly did not help in this matter, but that is a different topic for a different article at a different time).
Though many of the CIU students in chapel have also never celebrated Passover, they are following hard after the Lord. Love God?…Check! Serve God?…Check! So what challenge could Sam bring to this group of passionate young and some not-so-young followers of the Messiah? What else would they need to hear? A challenge that every believer needs to hear and heed, the truth that it is written in the very DNA of every Gentile believer in Yeshua: our calling to make Israel jealous for the Messiah.
“Well, that’s not in my DNA,” you may say. Though you may not agree, Romans 11:11 states that this absolutely needs to be a part of your DNA, my DNA, and the DNA of every Gentile believer – “salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.” This is a fact that the early assembly of believers back in the First Century were very much aware of (Acts 20:6; 27:9).
Passover, along with the other Biblical Feasts, is meant to re-orient us to our redemption in Messiah on a yearly basis and is also meant to serve as a testimony to the outside world looking in. This is a New Covenant (New Testament) thing. At CIU, Sam echoed the same
words that Paul used to challenge the Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians 5:8 – “let us keep the feast.” Why? Because God’s redemptive program is written all over it. Because it testifies of God’s faithfulness first to the Jewish people and also to the Gentiles (Rom. 1:16-17)!
So brother and sister in the Lord, here is your challenge: will you allow God to so transform your heart that your DNA matches His DNA? By His grace, His priority can equal my practice.