What’s Your Jesus Like?
by Lonnie Lane
We had an interesting discussion in my Kosher Bible Study group this week which led to prayer for some healing of emotions with regard to our attitudes toward what we allow ourselves to enjoy and love. “I keep trying to die to things of the flesh,” one woman said, “until I feel dead inside and without real joy.” Another told of how she never went into rooms that she had decorated so beautifully because of some idea that it was sinful to enjoy them. These are precious women who with all their hearts want to please God. What’s wrong here? Is there a misperception of some of the things the Lord wants for and from us?
Maybe this struck a chord inside of you too. Let’s see what God may be saying. I can ‘feel’ someone’s hope daring to rise up inside of you as you read this. Yes, there is hope, dear one. There’s always hope in Yeshua.
We were studying in Mark 8. Yeshua had just fed thousands and His disciples still didn’t get it. Get what, you may ask? They didn’t take the events of the miracles and apply them to their understanding of Who He was (is!). We know this because when they were in the boat without bread after He fed all those many folks, they thought He was talking about them having forgotten to take lunch when He said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod and they began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread: (:15, 16). Like He couldn’t have provided bread for all the Pharisees and Herod too. They missed the supreme point.
A short time later, Yeshua came into a town. “And they brought a blind man to Him, and entreated Him to touch him” (:22). Now, what was the motive of these people? Were they family who so wished to see the man receive his sight? Or had they heard of miracles and wanted to see one? Were they testing Yeshua to see for themselves if He could heal him? Whatever their motive Yeshua took the man by the hand and led him all the way out of the village, away from the townsfolk. How come?
Well, we know there were times when “He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 123:58). This might be a clue. If there’s unbelief or lack of faith, if the Lord wants to do a work in someone and heal them, He may have to take them out of their spiritual environment to do it. This point led us to discuss how sometimes we want more from Yeshua than our spiritual environments may allow for. Not everyone in the church has faith for healing. Does the fact that there are no healings or miracles mean, as the church believed for centuries, that “God doesn’t do those things anymore, that they ended with the original apostles”? Not at all. “Messiah Yeshua is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 24:8).
We must be careful not to reinterpret Scripture based upon our experience — or lack of experience.
“I can only have real faith when my Yeshua is the Yeshua of the Bible.”
Our faith must conform to Scripture. After all, it is by faith that we receive anything from the Lord. And that faith isn’t faith in our faith, incidentally. For years I constantly checked to see if I really had enough faith, but I was checking me, not Him. I was looking to see if I “felt” faith, not if He was worthy of trusting in Him. When we have faith in our faith, that’s works, not relying on Him to be Who the Bible tells us He is. I can only have real faith when my Yeshua is the Yeshua of the Bible.
When we don’t expect Yeshua to be our healer, or for that matter any of the other attributes which are reflective in His various names: Adonai Tzidkenu (the Lord our Righteousness), or Adonai Shalom (the Lord our peace), or Adonai Raffa (the Lord our healer), for instance, then we are believing in a different Yeshua than the real Yeshua. We have come to a lesser Yeshua than He wants to be to us. It’s not just the Gospel of which we are believing only a part, but it is the Lord Himself we are only partially believing in. We have an incomplete Yeshua, not all of Him. So is it any wonder if we’re living in only partial Kingdom victory?
Back to the blind man who is no longer blind because Yeshua healed him. Yeshua did something unusual, something that would maybe not be seen as “kosher” or acceptable. Weird even. He spit on his eyes! What? Can you imagine how that would go over in some of our more “proper” churches? Sometimes the Holy Spirit will cause something to take place that is outside of our “proper” box, not what we expect of our Yeshua, our Jesus. That’s when we have to decide if it’s from God or not, even if it stretches how we see Him.
And that’s what happened. The man was now able to “see” Him. The first person the no-longer-blind man saw clearly was Yeshua. When I said that last sentence in the Bible class, I said His name kind of lovingly, more like I sang it — “Y’shoo-ah.” The way I said it made others repeat it the same way after me. It was like one of those mini-worship moments, when you just say the name of your Beloved and it says all that’s in your heart at that moment. Yeshua.
However the people in the town perceived Yeshua, this man now “saw” Him as his healer. Yeshua then instructed him not to go back into the town. This may be a word for someone. Sometimes Yeshua has to take you out of your spiritual environment in order for you to be able to “see” Him for Who He really is. He may lead you out to where He can give you revelation of Himself that exceeds what those around you can hear. And then He may instruct you not to go back in order to hold onto your healing or revelation of Him. He may lead you to where you can be among people who see more of Who He is to us.
One additional point to keep in mind. Sometimes we can be so awed by the healing itself that we miss the supreme point, like the disciples did about the bread. We can see the healing but not apply it to how we see Yeshua. We don’t go on to know Him more deeply because of it. If the healing fills our vision and not Him, we may be healed but we could miss the opportunity to grow in our revelation of Yeshua Himself and in deeper relationship with Him. Ask Him, “Lord, show me what I can learn about You from this situation.” It doesn’t have to be a healing for us, it can be any situation you find yourself in. He is always the goal, no matter what the events or circumstances are. Seek to know Him. Yeshua.
Following this, Yeshua poses two very important questions to His disciples, questions which I believe He would put to us today. The first is, “Who do people say that I am?” (:27). “They told Him, saying, “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.” (:28). It is interesting that each one of these men were already dead, so there would have had to have been some kind of resurrection for Him to have been any of these. So evidently the Holy Spirit was stirring up among the Jewish people some kind of expectation that resurrection is at least possible according to the Bible. The very last prophet Israel heard from 400 years earlier had spoken for God saying, “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And he will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers….” (Malachi 4:5,6). They definitely had some expectation that God was up to something and that would mean possibly that Elijah would reappear before them, however that would happen. That’s why they thought perhaps Yeshua was Elijah.
We each have expectations of Yeshua. We’ve all been taught about Yeshua and Who He is and what
“When we are born again, we have to begin anew to learn God’s ways…”
we can expect from Him in our lives and how we are to respond to Him. That’s what discipleship is — to learn the ways of Yeshua even if we’ve been raised in a church environment. When we are born again, we have to begin anew to learn God’s ways, just as Israel had to learn God’s ways as a nation. But sometimes we’re taught only a partial Gospel. Sometimes the Yeshua we’ve come to trust and believe in isn’t really Who He is. Who do your people say Yeshua is? What have you been taught about Him if what you’ve been taught has not allowed you to fully trust in Him, or has not allowed you to live in the freedom and liberty of the Holy Spirit?
Yeshua quoted from one of the major Messianic passages in the Tenach (Old Testament) when He read, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners” (Is 61:1; Luke 4:18, my emphasis). So what do you think about this? If we are still broken-hearted about something or someone, or if we are suffering afflictions of some kind, or if our liberty or freedom in the Lord is hindered, even perhaps with regard to believing Him for the liberty or healing, are we not possibly believing in a lesser or “another Jesus”?
Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully” (2 Cor. 11:4 my emphasis). If we inherited somewhat of a misperception of Yeshua in some ways, it may account for why we’re not all walking in “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”? ( Romans 14:17)
Peter, who had to learn this too, has told us, “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3 my emphasis). “Everything”? How much is everything? It sure seemed like our brothers and sisters living in the Acts of the Apostles “saw” Him this way, doesn’t it? I want the true knowledge of Him regardless of the cost, should there be one. Don’t you?
Accordingly, the next question Yeshua may be presenting to each one of us is, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29). Who is your Yeshua to you? Do you only know Him according to what others have taught you about Him. Do you only have a borrowed Yeshua? Or is He yours and you are His? I believe the Lord is saying to us today, in these times in which we live, that He would take us each by the hand and lead us off by ourselves to where we can “see” Him looking into our eyes, and to where He can open our spiritual eyes to see Him clearly. It says about the no-longer-blind-man, that “he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly.” (Mark 8:25). When we begin to see Yeshua clearly, when we look intently toward Him, He will restore us, first to Himself in a greater depth of revelation and relationship, and that will affect how we see everything else in our lives. We will “see everything clearly” when we see it in relationship to Him.
As for my friends in the Bible study group, as we talked about this, we realized how we are not all walking out our lives in freedom in some areas, despite our love for Yeshua. As reported above, one woman said she worked so hard on “dying to sin” that she felt dead inside, not being excited or emoting about much at all, despite loving the Lord. Yeshua said He left us with His joy. Was His joy lost in her continual attempt to try and be free of what she was seeing as her sins? If so, then what is she believing about Him dying so that she could be forgiven for her sins? Is “her Jesus” not The Jesus? Subtle, isn’t it? (Do you think The Liar, satan, might have something to do with messing with how we “see” Yeshua?” Undoubtedly.)
We then talked about how we are to consider as truth that we are already dead to sin by our faith in Messiah Yeshua. When we are born again through faith and trust in Yeshua’s atonement, our sins are washed away by His Blood. We’re forgiven. We’re no longer in the category of people whose sins separate them from God because the separation is done away with as long as we continue to follow God. Can we walk away from Him? Yes, we have that freedom to do so and Hebrews 6:5-7 tells us what those consequences could be. But most of us who are the Lord’s are more troubled by how to get closer to Him than ever considering walking away from Him. Why would you want to when He is all that is good? If we are not seeing the Lord as good, it is because we are believing in “another Jesus,” not because He’s not good or fully trustworthy.
We may have been taught that we need to continue to try and stay dead to sin, but I’d like to suggest that it’s the wrong focus. It puts our eyes on ourselves and our sinful nature and not on Yeshua and His righteousness. We do have two natures within us still, Adam and Messiah. Our sin nature resides in our Adam-like (Adamic) nature. If we keep trying to resurrect Adam and make him righteous, it ain’t gonna happen. Resurrection power only happens when our faith is in the Resurrected One, Yeshua. It is only through trusting that He made an end to our separation from God which exited because of our sins, that we can live in this glorious life He’s given to us. That was the whole point of His becoming a man and dying, wasn’t it? If we stay in our sin, or even if we stay sin-conscious rather than righteousness conscious, are we following the real Yeshua? Our eyes need to be on Him, seeing Him clearly! Let’s consider a few truths about this.
- “He (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).
- “Even when we were dead in our transgressions, (He) made us alive together with Messiah (Eph 2:5)
- “We have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4) It is through our identification with Yeshua that we are counted by God as sinless.
- “If anyone is in Messiah, they are a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come” (2 Cor 5:17). Leave the old things of Adam behind and live in your new nature as a fully accepted child of God.
- We are then, among those “who put on the new self, which in the likeness of God (which) has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph 5:24).
- “So consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Messiah Yeshua” (Rom 6:11).
- For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:5,6).
May I add that trying to die to sin is works and doesn’t get us to righteousness. It leaves us continually frustrated and not living in His joy nor able to draw close to Him as we desire. But His grace has made a way! And He has drawn us ever so close to Himself. Yeshua.
We prayed in our group and asked the Lord to…. Wait, I think He would have us pray together. Would you pray with me?
Abba, We want to worship you in Spirit and in Truth. We long to be fully one with You in every area of our lives. We trust You, Lord, but we have learned some things that have misrepresented Who You really are. We ask together that You would take us by the hand and lead us to where we can see you and hear You for ourselves. Would you please remove the wrong understandings we have of You and reveal Yourself to us as You truly are so we can love you with all our hearts and minds and strength. We wish to see Yeshua! In His name, we pray together and agree, Amen.
As for my friend who was afraid to enjoy the creativity God had given her for fear it would be worldly, trust me, this lady isn’t worldly. She’s a precious daughter of the King and He would have her enjoy the beauty He’s allowed her to create and that He would have her share with others. The world can be a dark and dreary place. But He is the God of beauty when it’s in righteousness and peace and when we offer them up unto Him in thanksgiving. We ended with this thought.
- “For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph 2:8-10.
What “good works” does your Yeshua have for you to enjoy with Him today? And every day?
Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2009.
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.