It’s great to be out on the streets again! This week we’re in Manchester telling both Jews and non-Jews about the Good News of Messiah Jesus. Here are some thoughts on the parasha this week:
“God is distant or non-existent, idly watching by indifferent to gross crime.” This is how people sometimes feel about God, indeed, we’ve heard words like this often. This week’s Haftorah portion most definitely vindicates God, as it describes His judgement of the nations. He has responded, he has declared His day of judgement:
Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come. I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” – Yeshayahu/Isaiah 63:1-6
Here we read that the Lord will exact his furious wrath on all His enemies. The language of Isaiah is most definitely poetic, as is all his writing, if not dramatic. The Lord ends His enemies in a show of strength. It must be great news to hear that God will finally level His justice against His enemies. That’s exactly what we want – we want bad people to finally get what they deserve. However, the bad news is that we have all sinned against God and that makes us all His enemies. That leaves us with a big problem! Thankfully, the Messiah is the solution. So how exactly does Messiah Yeshua acquit the guilty? It was through his sin-bearing death on the cross. So the natural question to ask is this: Have you opted in? Have you recognised your need for Yeshua’s offer of forgiveness, or are you persisting in disobedience? Why not do teshuvah before the terrifying day of the Lord’s vengeance?
But Yeshua doesn’t just bear our sin he accredits us with his perfect record. Isaiah writes again:
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. – Yeshayahu/Isaiah 53:11
Before God we are not only declared innocent, but appear before Him as if we had lived the perfect life. God will look upon us as if we have lived the perfect life because Yeshua gave us his perfect record.
Looking at the Torah itself, the parasha develops last week’s theme of blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. God sought obedience but finds none. But this week we discover than not even their disobedience will not stop God from delivering on his promises:
And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. – Dvarim/Deuteronomy 30:1-3
Here God told our Jewish ancestors that they would be punished, destroyed, judged, and that they would lose the land, but He left them with hope. Afterwards they would be blessed if they would return to the Lord. After judgement there will be hope. Today, not only can we as a Jewish nation return to Jesus, all the nations can. This week in Manchester is another opportunity for both Jews and non-Jews to seek the Lord. Please contact us if you’d like to find out more.
Bad News for Good People, Good News for Bad People