Last week we mused over Bob Dylan’s recent receipt of the Nobel Peace prize and were excited that knowledge of a celebrity Jewish believer in Yeshua, at least for a part of his life, may help Jewish people to see that there may be more Messianic Jews around than one would think. As that reality grows, Messianic Jews will more easily be able to practice their faith as part of normative Judaism, for heaven knows, that spectrum is exceedingly diverse and easily able to include this sect of Judaism. It is only human misperception and misunderstanding that have created this divide within our own Jewish community and fostered these misguided societal norms.
A different point is what each of us chooses to do with that truth. For those who do not recognize Yeshua as the Messiah, as is the case with the majority of our mainstream Jewish brothers and sisters, it’s an easy answer: presume those who do the victims of group think, undue influence, power of suggestion, temporary insanity, the list goes on. I do not know what Bob Dylan currently believes about Yeshua. But in my experience, for a person to whom the truth of Yeshua has been revealed, there is no going back. Each of us has a choice as to how to live out that truth in our lives – secretly or publicly – but the truth does not leave us, even when we try to hide it in order to fit in which unfortunately is the choice made by some, and perhaps by many who have not yet come out of the closet regarding this profound reality.
Artists and musicians express their souls in their works, so how is it even possible to create, once filled with the love of Yeshua, without that deep revelation pouring out through their art and music? Bob Dylan’s music during the early ’80s was greatly influenced by his belief in Yeshua as one would expect from a new believer in Yeshua.
Yet each of us has to pay our bills, and want acceptance, so unfortunately, due to the controversial nature of our faith, some choose to conceal their faith in Yeshua. Even Peter, and so many others over the ages, have struggled with this, so it’s understandable. Artists, too have to pay their bills. A musician who identified as a Messianic Jew would have a rough way to go with record sales vis-à-vis the mainstream Jewish community. Successful record sales require a critical mass of fans. And if a Messianic Jew performed songs resonating with a primarily Christian audience, wouldn’t that merely fortify the Jewish fear that a Jew who believes in Yeshua becomes assimilated and lost to his or her Jewish faith?
As Messianic Judaism resumes its place within its Jewish home, it becomes part of that larger critical mass, well at least to the extent that Judaism can be considered a significant size group. Perhaps the more complete picture is yet another step into the future as Jews and Christians can each relate to the special place held by Messianic Judaism in the larger picture, without identity angst. What a beautiful concert that will be!
As Messianic Jews become comfortable in their own skins understanding the profound depth of a Judaism that embraces Yeshua as its cornerstone, those in the public eye, as well as those who just want to be who they are within their Jewish communities, will be more able to walk out Jewish lives in Yeshua as I believe we are called to do.
Thank HaShem for the Christian community that preserved us through centuries for this is a battle and clearly one that many Jews who come to know Yeshua do not want to fight alone. Thank HaShem for giving us the strength to keep plodding on. And thank HaShem that there is movement in the Jewish community to recognize Messianic Judaism as part of Judaism, for to quote Bob Dylan once more, times, they are a changin’.