Messianic Judaism is a prophetic movement uniting Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah to proclaim salvation in Jesus and announce the second coming of the Lord. “For He is our shalom, the One who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation. Within His flesh He made powerless the hostility” (Ephesians 3:14 TLV).
The Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah is for all nations. For the Jews, it reveals Yeshua the Messiah. For Gentiles, it deepens his faith in Yeshua (Jesus).
The Jewish People are descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Gentiles mean “of the nations”, that is anyone who is not Jewish by birth. In Jesus, Jews and Gentiles are brought together as one (aka “one new man”) as noted in Ephesians 2:14-19 (NLT):
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us… So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.
Being made “one” raises the question of identity.
When a Jewish person acknowledges Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah do they stop being Jewish? When a Gentile person acknowledges Jesus as their Savior do they become Jewish since Jesus is Jewish?
Jews do not have to sever their Jewish identity and biblical practices when they acknowledge and desire to serve Yeshua the Messiah. Gentile Christians don’t need to become Jewish when confessing the Jewish Jesus as their savior.
Salvation is the same for everyone, for both Jews and Gentiles. We are all saved by grace through faith in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah. Paul the apostle explains it best in Romans 10:9-13 (NLT):
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Jewish believers should continue to practice the instructions God gave them through Moses such as keeping Shabbat, Passover, and the other biblical feasts. They do not need to stop practicing the customs that make them distinctly Jewish. In Yeshua, they now have the benefit of the Holy Spirit leading and empowering them to keep the Commandments.
Gentiles have the opportunity to restore the Jewishness of their faith and honor the biblical feasts. We, too, are empowered by the Holy Spirit to keep His commandments. Jesus said: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15 TLV).
Honoring Israel and celebrating the Jewish festivals is not to get “more saved” or score brownie points with God. How we choose to express embracing the Jewish roots of our faith (i.e., honoring Shabbat, celebrating Passover, fasting on Yom Kippur) is a Spirit-led conviction for each believer to follow in humility, while not criticizing those who don’t.
Studying the origins of our faith enriches our personal relationship with Jesus and adds depth to our faith. This applies to all followers of Jesus. Gentile believers are grafted into the Olive Tree (Israel) and thus can enjoy the fullness of our rich spiritual heritage that Jesus made possible for us.
Every step we take to deepen our faith in Jesus must be done from a place of love not obligation as the Spirit guides each person. When we do, we can receive the blessings that God promised in his Word.
One example is found in Isaiah 56:6-7 (NLT) which clarifies God’s promises to Gentiles who choose to honor Shabbat:
I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord, who serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to my covenant. I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.
The Messianic movement is not new.
It is a first-century movement that began with Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah himself. He did not come to establish a new religion. Rather, He came to fulfill the prophecies that spoke of Him found in the Bible.
Gentile Christians who love Jesus do well to embrace this prophetic movement that brings together Jewish and Gentile believers with the hope to usher in the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah.
May we join in the prophetic move of God by embracing one another and focusing on what unites us: our faith in Jesus the Messiah.
Both Jewish and Gentile believers do well to heed Paul the apostle’s plea noted in Ephesians 4:2-6 (NLT):
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.