Who Are These Messianic Jews?

A number of years ago, due to derogatory statements against the Messianic faith made by a Charlotte rabbi, the Charlotte Observer asked me to write an article explaining what Messianic Jews were all about. Since that would be a book rather than a short article, I briefly described some of what it means to be a Jewish follower of Yeshua the Messiah.

Here is the article with my original title. We hope that you will find it edifying and encouraging as you use whatever opportunity is available to you to share the Good News of Messiah.

Messianic Jews Are Still Jewish

Looking Back I Felt Insulted

He said “Yeshua”, but I knew who he really meant. When I first met “one of them,” I thought something must have been pathetically wrong; he surely had a Jewishly-deprived upbringing. If there’s anything that any Jew knows, it is this: Jews, by definition, do not believe in Jesus!

How dare he insult our intelligence! Haven’t we suffered enough because of this Jesus? But now, the indignity of a Jew claiming that this Jesus is the Messiah! But he insisted that it was true.

Looking At The Evidence

Since I was a real Jew, one who didn’t believe in this Jesus, I thought I would disprove this nonsense and help the guy out. As I looked in a ‘real’ Bible (not a Christian one) at the Scripture portions that they said pointed to Jesus, I had to admit (though not to them) that I could see where they might get such a misguided notion.

The more I looked into it, however, the more I secretly found their proofs convincing (though I would not give them the satisfaction of admitting as much). I even met with a local rabbi to get the real interpretation on the portions. Strangely, his explanation made less sense. Finally, after several months, I became convinced that…Oy, He is our Messiah!

Being A Messianic Jew

Though at the time I thought I was the only real Jew to believe such a thing, I soon found out that there were and are many other Jews, from all sorts of Jewish backgrounds who have accepted the Biblical evidence that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel. I also found out that His name in Hebrew is, in fact, Yeshua.

As a Jewish person who believes in Messiah, I understand what it means to be a Jewish follower of Yeshua. We have come to know the forgiveness, joy, peace, and new life that the Scriptures promise to all who will trust in Yeshua for atonement for sins and salvation for both Jew and non-Jew alike!

We prefer to be called Jewish believers or Messianic Jews, so no one would ever think that our faith in Yeshua means that we have ceased to identify with our people. Indeed, the reverse is true. Those who never felt any relevance to being Jewish now see the meaningful purpose God has for the Jewish people.

As Messianic Jews we see the importance for our lives in the celebration of the Festivals (Passover through Sukkot, Hanukkah and Purim too!). We mourn at Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance) even as Holocaust survivors, who have come to faith in Yeshua, testify to the grace of HaShem through it all.

Struggles

During Israel Independence Day, we reflect upon the promises of God to restore our nation and His commandment to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

We struggle alongside all people in maintaining faith in a secular world combatting anti-Semitism and all forms of racism. We struggle to maintain our Jewish identity in a community where fellow Jews are insulted by our existence, while many main line Christians suspect that we have compromised our faith in Jesus in order to maintain our Jewish testimony.

Ironically, other Christians, who apparently don’t accept the authority of Scripture, think that it is wrong for Messianic Jews to “insult the Jewish community” by our very existence.

We struggle to share the joy and forgiveness that Messiah has given to us with a world that increasingly sees any moral absolutes as narrow-mindedness and disrespect for others who differ. But, in all struggles, we find God’s grace in Yeshua is sufficient for our lives. Even in our struggles, we rejoice in Yeshua.

Worship at Hope of Israel Congregation

At Hope of Israel Congregation, our Messianic Shabbat (Saturday morning) worship services are different than most traditional Jewish or Christian services. They are more like celebrations of joy with both upbeat and subdued Jewish style worship music (with an Israeli style dance team on the side).

The purpose of our worship is to honor HaShem and to focus the congregation’s attention onto their full acceptance in Messiah. Since God is an “equal opportunity Savior”, we fully accept Jew and non-Jew alike into our fellowship. Our Scripture studies come from both the Tenach and Brit Chadashah (Old and New Covenants), with emphasis on the Jewish cultural background of the portions.

After all, it was Jewish writers who were inspired to produce both Covenants concerning the fulfillment of God’s promises and prophecies. In summary, we see ourselves as rather ordinary Jewish people that have found the love of an extraordinary God by faith in the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua. We become what it means to be a Jewish follower of Yeshua.

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7 Comments

  • Kimberly March 31, 2021 10:29 pm

    I’m grateful for these faithful reminders, encouraging me all the more of Yeshua’s all sufficiency in my life to continue commuting to this kingdom work. Yes, even as one from the nations that is part of the commonwealth of Israel, I too suffer many similar afflictions alongside my Jewish brethren from main line Christians even those who simply don’t understand. Thanks for sharing.

    • Marianela Leekley April 15, 2021 2:21 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Kimberly! Let us keep praying for Believers everywhere to understand their calling to the Jewish people to tell them the Good News of Yeshua, their Messiah.

  • Paul elder April 1, 2021 8:04 pm

    Amen. my brother in YeshuaQ

  • Margee Schwartz Thornton April 1, 2021 9:53 pm

    Very good explanation of what it means to be a Jewish follower of Yeshua or a Messianic Jewish believer. Just like all people, it takes a willingness to explore the Scriptures and embrace the Truth…an awakening of the spirit to new life…Nicodemus asked the right questions because he was willing to open his mind and heart to truth. We must be born again🙌

    • Marianela Leekley April 15, 2021 2:21 pm

      Amen!

  • Marvin Oshan April 8, 2021 4:09 pm

    I am Jewish and came to faith in Yeshua eight years ago through Jews for Jesus. I too have been confronted by others, mostly family. My simple answer to their accusations is: I am still very much Jewish. I believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. After reading both the pros and cons and studying the Bible, I truly believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. This belief does not make me less Jewish. In fact, it makes me more Jewish than I have ever been.

    • Marianela Leekley April 15, 2021 1:28 pm

      Amen, Marvin! The most Jewish thing you could do is to believe in Yeshua/Jesus, the Jewish Messiah! We will pray right now for your family to come to know Him!

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