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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Jonathan Bernis » Jonathan Bernis - The Chosen

Jonathan Bernis - The Chosen

Jonathan Bernis - The Chosen

Jonathan Bernis: Shalom and welcome to Jewish Voice. I wanna thank you for joining me today. I'm Jonathan Bernis. I'm joined again by my co-host, Ezra Benjamin. Well, one of the most popular faith-based shows over the last few years that you may be familiar with, actually, you're likely familiar with is called, "The chosen". It shows the life of Jesus, Yeshua, in his Jewish culture.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right. And Jonathan, as we're filming this today, over 108 million people have watched the chosen. And the show has really captured the hearts and minds of people all over the world in terms of thinking about Jesus, his life, his ministry, the people who he was ministering to in a Jewish context.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, I've had the opportunity to watch a good portion of the shows that have been released, Ezra, and I love how they've put the person of Jesus and the first disciples correctly into its Jewish culture.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: Jesus is clearly Jewish...

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: In this series. It's really for me a breakthrough in telling the life story of Jesus.

Ezra Benjamin: It's refreshing to not see Jesus depicted as a Norwegian blonde haired, you know, 7-foot, bright pink skin person. Which we know historically, he couldn't have been. But to really see a Jewish looking, a Mediterranean looking Jesus ministering to Jewish men and women. And we know from the scriptures Jesus says very clearly, "I haven't come but for the lost sheep of the house of Israel". Now, he came as the Savior of the whole world but his ministry on earth was primarily predominantly to Jewish men and women who were in need of God.

Jonathan Bernis: And the people that he touched didn't convert to another religion. You know, I'm saying this not because this is Jewish Voice or Ezra and I are Jewish believers, but because this is the biblical narrative. This is what we find in the gospels. And I feel, Ezra, so many read the gospels, read the scriptures with these blind spots. When these blind spots are removed, it's amazing because we see things that we've never seen, and realize they've been there the whole time.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly. And one of those blind spots that we wanna kind of shed some light on, pun slightly intended, in our program today is this idea of chosenness. And we are, of course, borrowing that from the title of the worldwide smash hit program we've been talking about the chosen. But the Jewish people, the people of Israel, both those living in the land of Israel and those living all over the world, like, here where we're filming in north America, Jonathan, are referred to as, "The chosen people". Right? This is one kind of the ways of referring to the Jewish people. Many may hear that and say, "What does it mean"? And I think a couple things may happen. One, we either say, "I don't understand what it means. I'll move on". Or two, I've actually, in my conversations with Christians, men and women who love Jesus, I've heard people say, "You know, I'm a little offended by that term because why would God choose one person? Does that mean he unchose the rest of us? Does that mean the Jewish people are somehow superior or they have this preference in God and everybody else is second priorities"? So, we wanna take a few minutes today and just unpack what the word chosen means.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah. Every time I hear the chosen people...

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Which it does refer to a very specific people, the children of Abraham. Something happens. I get a little bit, I get these butterflies in my stomach because I wanted to know, I was taught as a young man, I was probably eight or nine. And part of my responsibly growing up in a Jewish home was to go to services, to go to a religious school and it was drummed into us, we are the chosen people. And I raised my hand, and I asked my teacher, "What does that mean? What are we chosen for"? And my teacher sarcastically said, "Well, Jonathan, we were chosen to be persecuted". And sadly, that's a reality when you look at history over the last 3,500 years and in particularly over the last 2,000. Sadly, Christian antisemitism is a horrible history of atrocities against the Jewish people, rejection, ultimately the holocaust, and I remember thinking, "I don't want to be chosen".

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah.

Jonathan Bernis: So, when God got a hold of me in college and restored my identity as a Jew, I had to deal with that misconception.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: Chosen to be persecuted.

Ezra Benjamin: Right. My own grandma, Ruth, who passed away a couple years ago now, when I would say, "Grandma, we're the chosen people". She would say, "Chosen for what"? You know, when i, we laugh but it's also, I hope you can feel the sadness that we understand as a people for our whole lives we're chosen. But what were we chosen for and why were chosen? And as much as it's a mystery to many in the Christian community it's also not understood, it's misunderstood by the Jewish people by and large.

Jonathan Bernis: For sure, you know, chose someone else.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: I think it's important that you grasp this because it affects you in your walk, because you have actually been brought into and connected to God's call of chosen, God's chosenness.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: So, yes, you are chosen but let's talk about how that came to be.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: And you have to go, for me, it goes all the way back to Genesis 3:15, Ezra, where we have the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden and the decree that there would be a Messiah that would crush the head of the serpent, of satan. And we've been living in this state of separation. I'm talking about in this world from God, and satan has been living under a death sentence. And the key point is that "The seed of the woman will crush your head," the Messiah.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Well, that Messiah, that promise of the Messiah comes ultimately through Abraham and the child that he is to bring forth with Sarah, the chosen child Isaac, and then through Jacob. And that's the bloodline that we connect to as Jews, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But it doesn't end there. It continues on through a tumultuous history, but ultimately, a great point in history where you as a gentile, because most of you watching aren't Jewish, are then brought into this promise.

Ezra Benjamin: So, Jonathan, what I'm hearing is God already had a plan. He's not surprised by Adam's and eve's sin, and we know the scriptures say that Jesus, Yeshua, is the lamb slain from the foundations of the world. God didn't have to scramble and say, "What do we do now? Adam and Eve messed up". He already knew he was going to have to send a Savior and that that Savior would be born in a human body. The God of Israel made flesh. And so, we already see in Genesis 3.

Jonathan Bernis: It's the first Messianic prophecy in the Bible.

Ezra Benjamin: Genesis 3:15.

Jonathan Bernis: Genesis 3:15.

Ezra Benjamin: Right. And there's this idea there, in Hebrew, it's zera which literally is sperm, not just generically seed. So, God's saying literally, "Through your offspring, eve, is gonna come one who will crush the head of the enemy".

Jonathan Bernis: But I'll go one step further, why is this prophecy, and it is a prophecy, it's a declaration but it's a prophecy. Why is it so supernatural? It's supernatural because you correctly stated it is, the man impregnates the egg. Pregnantes the woman and the egg become an embryo or fetus life is born, but in this case it's not the seed of the man. It's the man who brings the seed. It's the seed of the woman. It makes no sense until you understand the virgin birth, that there is a virgin birth here. It doesn't go back to any later prophecy. So, it doesn't go back to Isaiah. It goes back to Genesis 3:15, "The seed of the woman". And that's a very odd statement.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right. And I'm thinking, I'm jumping ahead now, later in the Old Testament where David is saying, "Let me build a house for your worship, for your glory". And God says to him, "No. You can't build a house. But here's what I will do for you David, one in your offspring," again, this idea. Your literal, in your line, your ethnic lineage will come one who will reign on your throne forever. And that's why Jesus, Yeshua, is known as and actually called in the gospels, son of David. He's the Messiah, the son of David because there's a literal line. There's a family here chosen to bring forth the one who would rule.

Jonathan Bernis: So, I just, I think it's important again to highlight, this is not about favoritism. This is not about God loving one group more than another. It's about a divine plan that requires a people chosen to bring about that promise and that has never changed.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: But it has been added to.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Which we'll get to in a... I'm not gonna go any further. We'll do that in the next segment.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: It's a plan that God has been carrying out since the garden.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: God knows the before, he knows the after, he's outside the realm of time and he's committed to this. He's committed to redeeming the world, to restoring the world, and to setting up an everlasting kingdom and we get to be part of it. That's the great thing. We get to be part of it. We need to take a break. I don't wanna take a break. But Jewish Voice is proclaiming the gospel to the Jew first and then to the gentile in that order and we wanna ask you to partner with us to help proclaim Jesus to his chosen people around the world. So, we really need you to join us and be part of this effort together right now.

Jonathan Bernis: Welcome back. Thank you for tuning in today and for your prayers and support. It is so appreciated because we could not do what we do without you. Well, Ezra, we're talking about chosenness today and we left off with Genesis 3:15.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Where you have a prophecy that declares that God will right the wrong. He'll bridge the gap...

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: That Adam and Eve brought when they disobeyed God. And he says, "It's through the seed of a woman".

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: "Through the seed of the woman that the serpent would be crushed. And he'll bruise your head, but you'll crush his head, but you'll only bruise his heel," satan. To the serpent. And this is God's plan of healing the world, healing mankind.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: And then it jumps to Genesis 12. We have the condition of the world getting worse, and worse and worse. And then Genesis 12 introduces us to a man named Abraham.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: And Abraham is given a promise that if he'll leave his household, his family and go to the land that God would show him in faith, that he would be a blessing to the whole world, and in fact, all the families of the earth would be blessed through him.

Ezra Benjamin: That's it. And if you quote one or the other part of that verse, you're missing something that we're getting to right now. We've kept you in suspense. What does it mean for the Jewish people, the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be the chosen people? And here we get the first taste of it, Jonathan. Not only chosen to eventually bring forth the Messiah, the one who would crush the head of satan, but here, chosen not just to be blessed as God's response to Abraham's faith but actually, to be made a blessing to all the families of the earth. So, what does it mean, if you're writing this down, write it down. What does it mean for Jewish people to be the chosen people? The first thing we see is to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. That's our calling as a people.

Jonathan Bernis: It is, it is indeed to bless every family of the earth.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Not to bless his lineage which is through Isaac, and then Jacob, and the twelve tribes, but to be a blessing to the world. And sadly, Ezra, I think that history shows that over the millennia we failed in that mission to a large degree.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure. Because that blessing to all the families of the earth can only happen as we believe God, right? It says Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. And the prophets are very clear, even a lot of Jesus' ministries speaking to Jewish leaders and elders is, you're doing all the right things, but you don't really believe God in the spirit of what he's saying. And that's where as a people generation after generation we've gone out of the way. That's why we need a redeemer and a Savior just like you do.

Jonathan Bernis: On the one hand, we fell short.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: On the other, if you look at the list of noble prize winners, for example, and you see it's disproportionally weighted to Jewish people. The progress that's been made in medicine, in economics, in technology very often is the contribution of Jewish people, people that are tied to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Not because they are better educated or more driven, maybe they are, but it's a result of the decree in Genesis 12 that, "Through you I'll bless all the families of the earth". More importantly though, it's a spiritual promise that is fulfilled in the Messiah that through you the Messiah will ultimately come, the son of Abraham.

Ezra Benjamin: Right. I'm thinking of the verse that says, "All of God's promises are yes in the Messiah," yes in Jesus. "And the amen," the so be it, "Is spoken by us to his glory". So, God made a promise to the descendants of Abraham and then Isaac and Jacob later in Genesis. "I'm gonna make you a blessing to all the families of the earth". That fulfilled for the Jewish people as we come to faith in the Messiah in Jesus. And Jonathan, the clock's ticking here so I wanna just highlight two more ways that the Jewish people are chosen, and we need to look at Isaiah 43 here. You know many of the sections of this chapter. I'm sure you do even if you don't know it by the address. But here in verse 10 this is what God says to Israel. He says, "'you are my witness,' declares the Lord, 'and my servant whom I have chosen,'" chosen people, okay? "So that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he". So, we know, I think we have to think almost of a courtroom here, right? You bring in the witness to say, "I've seen what it is that we're talking about". And that's what God's saying, "I've chosen you, Israel, not only to serve me to", and we serve God by worshipping him in holiness. He is a holy God, and we need to be holy to worship him alright. But he's saying, "I've also made you, my witnesses," right? God says, "Gather all the nations on the earth. Where is the people who can be eyewitnesses of what I've done, like the parting of the Red Sea, bringing out Egypt from slavery to freedom, walking them into the Promised Land and giving them victory over their enemies". God says, "There's no other people on earth who bares that eyewitness testimony but the Jewish people".

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah. Such a good point. Now, let me touch on one other thing.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: Why is this important to you?

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: "I'm not Jewish," you may say. "Why does this really matter"? And the answer is first, that it was the Jewish apostles that brought the gospels to the nations. So, you're a direct descendant of the testimony of the Jewish apostles. And I think the movie, the chosen, brings this out so clearly. But two, you've been grafted into the people of testimony, read Romans 11, and now, you are chosen. You're a royal priesthood. You're a holy generation. You're called to bring witness. And so, we're in this together

Ezra Benjamin: Amen. And that's, you know, I'm smiling here because a significant of the New Testament, Jonathan, is first, people like Peter saying, "What has the God of Israel to do with the gentiles"? And God says, "No, no. You misunderstand. My salvation is available to all". And he sends people like, first Peter, but then Paul, his whole ministry is to the gentiles. And then as the number of non-Jewish believers in the Ecclesia grows people like the faith community in Rome turn around and go, "What have we to do with the Jews? They seem to reject Jesus". And Paul says, "No, no. Don't misunderstand. God's able to graft them back in". And it's all a message about being in this inseparable relationship, Jewish believers and gentile believers united in Jesus the Jewish Messiah. That's the message.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah. It's a beautiful message and it's such a clear proclamation. We are called to be one. We're called to do this together. "God loved the world that he gave his son". We get that. I wanna make it clear. Jewish Voice is not just about reaching the Jewish people only, it's about the redemption of the world. But we believe that there is a divine order and it's a divine order that he's calling the church to follow. Romans 1:16, "I'm not ashamed of the gospel. It's the power of God unto salvation to all who believe". It's not dot, dot, dot. It continues on and says, "To the Jew first and then to the gentile". That's a divine priority, and when we follow that priory we see redemption, we see life spreading to the nations.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: And that matters. And that's why it's important to you.

Ezra Benjamin: Or at least, it should be important to you. And what do we mean by that? We've talked about Israel's chosenness, right, to be a blessing to all the families of the earth, to be eyewitnesses of the glorious things he's done and to be his servants. And yet, Jonathan, you know and I know, and we want you at home to know that by and large, the Jewish community worldwide is unable to fulfill our calling, our chosen calling to be a blessing to all the families of the earth because in large part we're blind to the one God has sent through whom all his promises are yes. We're blind to the Messiahship of Jesus. And that's the other reason this should be important to you. That's where you come in. You've been, as Jonathan, as you've said, "Grafted into this commonwealth of Israel," right. You've been grafted in to be a chosen priested or royal generation the scripture say. And yet, now that you're a part of that olive tree, God's saying, "But some who were a part of it in the beginning, some of my chosen people I had to cut off in unbelief, but I want them back, and more than desire I am able to graft them in again". And that's where you come in. You have a responsibility not only to pray for the salvation of Israel, of the Jewish people living in Israel and around the world, but also to display your faith boldly to Jewish friends, to Jewish family members, coworkers, in a way that they say it and they go, "There's something there that belongs to me. There's something there. I need to get back in touch with what it means for us to be the chosen people".

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah. And I'll just add one more thing that if you will be faithful to do that, then you are joining yourself to God's plan of redemption not for Israel but for the world. Back to Genesis 3:15, when you take your place as a follower of the Messiah as a true believer in the same calling that God gave to the children of Abraham, you're helping bring about the redemption of the world. I love in acts where Peter is proclaiming that this is the promised Messiah that you've rejected and he's waiting in the heavenlies. He is actually waiting to return until the restoration of all things, and that's so overlooked. What's the restoration of all things? It's about a restoration that comes to the church in a large part to provoke the Jews to jealousy, to take your role as part of the royal priesthood, and to proclaim the good news, and to pray for God's plan of redemption. So, we called to be part of it. I have so much more I wanna say but we need to take a break so you can hear about opportunities available to you to help us, to join with us in proclaiming the gospel directly to hurting Jewish people around the world and how you can be a blessing to them. So, stay tuned because then we're going to pray together for your needs and that's right after the break. We'll be back.

Jonathan Bernis: Ezra, we close every program in prayer, certainly try to. We just have a little time left. Would you lead us in prayer?

Ezra Benjamin: I'd be delighted to. Let's pray. Well, Lord, we thank you that your word says, as you said to your disciples, "You haven't chosen me, but I have chosen you, that you should go and bear much fruit". So, Lord, we bless our viewers today. Thank you that the prayers that they've been praying faithfully that you've heard them, and that you will answer, Lord. And we pray that their lives, and their work on your behalf, and their testimonies, and the prayers prayed for family and community would bear much fruit. You're the one who hears and answers prayer. Lord, we thank you for the gift of faith to believe you at your word and to persevere in prayer and that you'll meet everyone with the health, and the protection, and the provision that they need. We thank you for it in Yeshua's name. Amen.

Jonathan Bernis: Amen and amen. If you'd like more information about our ministry, you can log on to our website. It's One word,, and you'll find many helpful resources as well as being able to send your prayer request to us right from our website. If you need any prayer, just know we'll be praying for you faithfully. I also want you to pray for the peace of Jerusalem this week because that is a mandate. Psalm 122:6 says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May they prosper who love thee". And so, if you wanna prosper this week, pray for Israel. I want you to know that God loves you and we do too. And thank you, Ezra, for joining me today and until next time, this is Jonathan Bernis saying shalom and God bless you.
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