Rabbi Schneider - Direct Access to God
The Holy Land. I'm gonna bring you now to three very powerful places in the land of Israel. We're gonna go to the Western Wall. We're gonna go the Garden Tomb. And we're gonna go to the Garden of Gethsemane. As a Jewish person myself, it's always such a blessing to be at the Western Wall because the culture of the Jewish people is so strong at the Western Wall, we see the Orthodox Jewish people coming to the wall every day to pray. The Western Wall is the retaining wall that held up the second temple that was upon the earth when Jesus was ministering. And Jewish people today feel so connected to that particular spot because it's the closest they can get to where the temple once stood. I think you'll feel some of what I felt as you see me there today ministering at the Western Wall. I love you. God bless you and thank you for joining me today on Discovering the Jewish Jesus.
I'm standing in Jerusalem outside the Western Wall. This is the retaining wall of the ancient temple that was destroyed in 70 A.D. It's amazing to me that in Matthew, chapter 24, Yeshua's disciples were marveling at the temple structure. And Jesus pointed to the temple that once stood right behind me and he said to his disciples, truly I say to you, not one stone of it's gonna be left standing upon another. And just as Jesus said, in 70 A.D. just a few years after Jesus died, the Romans came in and destroyed the temple. All that's left is this retaining wall here. In back of this retaining wall sits the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim shrine. Beloved ones, prophecy is being fulfilled just like Jesus said. Thank God it's not the end of the story. Jesus is coming back again, and when he does, beloved, a third temple's going to be re-built. The Book of Ezekiel tells us about it. Let's go inside now and take a closer look at this Western retaining wall.
So here we are. You can see these little papers right here. This is where Jews from all over the world come and stick their prayers. They believe that by sticking their prayers on the wall that somehow there's an extra connection to God because this is the most sacred place of real estate on the universe to them; very sacred spot, the most sacred spot for any Jew. And we believe, beloved, in traditional Judaism that right behind this wall is where the third temple is gonna be built. Behind me you can see the Orthodox Jewish men praying. People come from all over the world to pray here. I'm right outside the Western Wall in an area where you can see is very sacred as religious Jewish peoples and some less religious praying, seeking to connect with God. Of course Jesus came and said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh to God but through me.
Beloved ones, I'm so glad that the King of kings lives inside me. And because of that there's a river of life flowing out of me that I have direct access to the Father, to the Ruach HaKodesh, through the Spirit of God that's been given to me because of I've received Jesus Christ the righteous. So beloved ones, we've just seen the most beautiful spot on planet earth in the center of Jerusalem at the Temple Mount. But interestingly enough, Jesus gave us another paradigm to look through as well. I'm in the Gospel of John now, chapter number 4, beginning in verse number 21. Jesus is speaking to the woman at the well, and he said to her, Woman believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, listen to this, an hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for such the Father seeks to be His worshippers.
Beloved ones, because of our relationship with God the Father through receiving his only begotten Son and receiving the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, we now have direct access to the Father, and have an intimate relationship with God as our Father in spirit and in truth. This is Rabbi Schneider saying Shalom, I love you, from Jerusalem. I'm at a place outside of Jerusalem right now that some believe is the site of Jesus's crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Beloved, I don't know if this is the spot or not. Some archaeologists believe it. Others believe it's at the church of the Holy Sepulchre. At the end of the day, the exact spot isn't the important thing. This is really interesting, it wasn't the empty tomb that convinced the first believers that Jesus had risen. It was when he encountered them. They went into the tomb and they saw it was empty, but that wasn't enough to convince them. They weren't convinced that Yeshua had risen until Yeshua encountered them, until they experienced him for themselves.
And beloved ones, it's the same thing for you and I. We need an encounter with Jesus. He encounters each of us differently. For some of us it's a real, powerful crisis experience that happens all at once, a suddenly moment. Like with the Apostle Paul when the Lord knocked him off his horse as he was on his road to the road to Damascus to arrest any Jew that believed in Jesus. And suddenly a blinding light shone from heaven and blinded him, and Paul fell of his horse, and was on the ground. And he said, who are you, Lord? And the voice said, I'm Yeshua whom you're persecuting. I'm Jesus. Now get up and be told what you must do for me. Some encounter Jesus in that way, a blinding moment. But others of us, it happens slowly over time. But over time somehow, day by day, we just fall in love with Jesus and we just more and more become aware that he's alive. And even more than that, beloved, that he's living inside of us.
The bottom line is that Jesus loves you and I, and he said, I'm standing at the door of your heart and knocking. And if any man will open up his heart and ask me to come in, I will come in and live inside him, and have fellowship with him, and he with I. Maybe you're watching today and you don't really know Jesus, that you're wondering is he real. Is he alive? Can I really be certain? Well I want to tell you, beloved, Jesus is alive and if you'll seek him you'll find him. If you'll invite him to come into your heart he'll come and live inside you. If you turn to him to follow him, you're going to encounter the living resurrected Lord Jesus.
Beloved, so far today on today's program we've seen the Western Wall and the Garden Tomb. Before we go on, I want to make a few additional comments about the Western Wall. As I indicated, the Western Wall is the retaining wall that held up the wall, beloved, where the temple once stood. Well many Jews today and Christians alike believe that there will soon be a third temple in that exact spot. In fact, there's an organization in Israel right now that's re-creating the furniture that was in the original temple so that as soon as they can start, they'll be able to re-build the third temple and they'll have the furniture already in place and ready to go. One of the pieces of furniture that they have already re-created, beloved, is the temple Menorah. They've re-created it to the exact specifications of the original golden Menorah that stood in both the first and second temples. It was made out of pure gold, one piece hammered to form seven different branches. Those branches, beloved, number seven, seven of them, represents the Holy Spirit that is before the throne of the Lord right now.
And so the Western Wall is not just a place that was, but many believe, beloved, it's also the place that is because the temple will be re-built again. We're looking forward, beloved, for the kingdom of God to come fully to earth again. Of course the blood of bulls and goats is no longer needed because Jesus has been sacrificed once and for all. But some believe that the third temple will be re-created only to show a figure of all that Jesus has accomplished for it. Well I want you to know, this is such an exciting thing to see, how the God of the universe really did enter into space and time and walked upon that land of Israel. We're gonna continue our journey today in the second half of the program, exploring more of this sacred land. Beloved, as I've said, God is married to this place called Israel today in the geographical sense. In other words, his presence is married to the physical land of Israel in a way that is unique on planet earth. I'm glad, beloved, that we could share it together today through these special broadcasts right here on Discovering the Jewish Jesus.
I'm at the Garden of Gethsemane right outside Jerusalem where Jesus came to pray right before the crucifixion. I'm gonna begin now in Matthew, 26, where we read about what happened. Beginning in verse number 36: Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, Sit here while I go over there and pray. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Now I want to think about this for a second. A lot of times Christians today all they want to do is be happy. They don't have a place in their Christian walk for understanding that we can't always be happy. Listen as it continues what happened. Then He Said to them, My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me. I mean this was agonizing.
Again, sometimes the mentality today for the optimal Christian experience is that we just go to worship services where we're hearing this fantastic worship music playing. We raise our hands and we feel good, and we sing songs to God. And that's what people think the Christian experience is. But beloved, the Christian experience is about truth. The Christian experience is about obedience. Jesus said, I do nothing except that which the Father gives me. So here we see Jesus walking through a portion of the journey that the Father had given him to walk. It was a hard time for him. He was grieved in his Spirit. He even began to, the Bible says, sweat drops of blood here.
So let's continue on: And He went a little farther with them and fell on His face and prayed, saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will. So now Jesus comes to a crisis in the will. He said, Father, oh gosh this is so hard. If it's possible, Father, can this cup pass from me. Father, do I have to go to the cross? Father, do I have to go through this, getting the nails in my hands and in my feet, and having my soul poured out to the point of death? Jesus said, Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass from me. But then he went further. He said, but not my will, but thy will be done.
It was a crisis of the will. Jesus wasn't operating in his feelings. He was operating, beloved, in truth, committed to truth, committed to his Father, and then willing, choosing to do what was right despite the fact that he felt. And this is mature Christian experience. I wonder how many of us that are listening to this broadcast today have not got to this point of operating in truth and of operating by volition of our will as opposed to just operating by feelings. In other words, when we're feeling connected to God, we're able to live in obedience. But when the feeling of God's intimacy leaves us, if we wake up in the morning one day and don't feel connected to him, if we're not feeling peace or if we're not feeling joy, then sometimes we drift away, and we stop practicing obedience. But notice, beloved, Jesus continued to be obedient even through such hardship that his soul was, his soul was grieved to the point of death.
Here's what I'm trying to say to you. If you're gonna get strong in God, you're gonna have to continue to be obedient even when you don't feel like it. You're gonna have to continue to choose truth and to practice obedience even when God feels far away. You see, beloved, feelings come and go. Sometimes we feel connected to God, sometimes we don't. Sometimes we're seeing God's blessing in our circumstances, other times we need to learn to walk through hard times. And we're never gonna get strong unless we continue to walk with God through the hard times, and continue to do what's right, putting one foot in front of the other foot, even when times are hard. So here we see Jesus saying, Father, this is really hard. If I don't have to go through this, Lord, let me be able to pass around it. But if I have to go through it, Jesus said, not my will but thy will be done.
Father, right now I just speak over your people now that love you; that Father, your Spirit is bearing witness with their heart; that these words that are speaking, that I'm speaking to them are truth. Those Father, that need to be raised up to the next level of walking in obedience, and walking in strength, even when they don't have feelings supporting them or optimal circumstances. Father, I just pray that you'll strengthen us all to walk in obedience to you even when our feelings aren't propping us up, and even through the hard times just like Jesus did.
Let's continue the text, beloved, in Matthew, chapter 26: And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, So you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again a second time and prayed, Father, if this cannot pass from me unless I drink it, Your will be done. And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. What Jesus was teaching here is if we learn to live by the spirit, denying the flesh, which in this case, beloved ones, is sleeping, if we'll choose to live by the spirit rather than by the flesh and yielding to sleep, we're gonna be blessed. You see, beloved, if we sow to the spirit, we're gonna reap from the Spirit love and peace. And this right here has to do with the law of first fruits. God wants us to give him the first of our talent, the first of our treasure, but also get it now, the first of our time. Here Jesus was asking his disciples for the first of their time. Don't yield to sleep, he said. You know, sleep is overrated. Sometimes we think unless we get eight hours we're not gonna be able to function. But Jesus often times stayed up all night and prayed.
Now what is prayer? It can take many different forms. It changes seasons of time will change the way that you spend that first part of the day. But beloved ones, don't yield to sleep. The spirit's willing. You want to pray but often times the flesh is weak. And if you yield to the flesh and just sleep and don't make time to pray, you're not gonna get the victory to the degree that God wants you to have it. Beloved, spiritual discipline is a Godly thing. Paul said if bodily discipline is profitable, in other words, if we discipline ourself in our bodily means, things like what we eat, getting exercise, things like that, he said if bodily discipline is profitable, how much more is spiritual discipline because spiritual discipline has promise not just for this age but also for the age to come.
Beloved, the lesson that we see here in the Garden of Gethsemane is twofold. Number one, that Jesus didn't always feel like obeying the Father. His soul was grieved and he said, Father, if it's possible let this cup pass from me. He didn't always feel like obeying the Father, but he put his feelings aside and he said, but Father, not my will but thy will be done. And he obeyed even when he didn't feel like it. What about you? If we're gonna get to the top of the mountain, we're gonna have to obey Father even when we don't feel like it. And the second application here, beloved ones, is this. If we want to get strong, we're gonna have to pray. Jesus said his disciples couldn't cast the demon out because they hadn't prayed enough. Unless we pray enough, we're not gonna get as strong as we need to be. I want to strongly encourage you and challenge you, make time to pray, even when it means sacrificing a little bit of sleep. This is Rabbi Schneider saying I love you and Shalom to you from the Garden of Gethsemane right outside Jerusalem.
Well we see a lot we can learn from as we read the story of what happened at the Garden of Gethsemane. First of all we see how Jesus's total focus, spirit, soul, mind and body, was put into fulfilling the Father's mission; that he was about to face something so hard. He didn't want to face it. Father, if it's possible let this cup pass from me. But he knew he had to go through it. And it took so much effort to go through it that the Scripture says that the anguish that he experienced was resulting in him praying with drops of blood coming from his being. The other thing that we see there, of course, is the disciples. They were supposed to be praying with him, but instead they fell asleep. I want to ask you today, is Jesus calling you to prayer, but rather than being in prayer you're sleeping? I want to encourage you, beloved one, if you're not already, have a time in the morning where you're waking up a little bit earlier to have that time instead of sleeping spent with God. Put together for yourself a curriculum. Put together some type of a structure.
First of all decide how long you'll do it. I don't want to be legalistic, but it's good to have structure, because when we have a commitment that we understand, we can stick to the commitment by the grace of God. You might want to start out if you're not familiar with doing this, with just 15 minutes. Other of you are able to do more, an hour, half hour, or whatever it is. But first of all make a commitment how long you're gonna give to prayer unto the Lord every morning. Prayer is simply a reaching out to God. Prayer can take the form, beloved, of singing to God. It can take the form of talking to God. It can take the form of just meditating on his Word. It can take the form of confessing Scripture. It can take the form of reading his Word. It can take the form of just talking to his heart. As long, as long as you're reaching out to him, beloved, you're in prayer. Let's make a commitment, beloved, to give ourselves to the Father in prayer just like Jesus did, just like Jesus did and it cost him something. I want to encourage you, beloved, make the sacrifice. Begin your day by spending time in prayer with God, and I promise you, it will be a blessing in your life and you'll be happier because of it, in Jesus's name.