Rabbi Schneider - Suffering with Christ
Isaiah chapter 61, verse one is a messianic prophecy that illuminates the work that Mashiach, that the Messiah would do. So, let's read it together now, hear the word of God. "The spirit of the Lord is upon me," it's Messiah himself speaking. It's being written in the book of Isaiah as if it's coming from the mouth of Messiah himself. It's coming from the first person. "The spirit of the Lord 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". So, I want you to consider that again, as we go to the book of Luke and consider Yeshua's reading of this scripture and how he applied it to himself. And we're going to get to the concept of all this, and how it applies to our lives and to the world today.
Luke four, beginning in verse 14, "And Yeshua, Jesus entered to Galilee in the power of the spirit, and news about him spread through all the surrounding district. And he began teaching in their synagogues, and was praised by all. And he came to Nazareth, where he'd been brought up. And as was his custom, he entered the synagogue on the sabbath and stood up to read". Think about this, all the eyes of those that were in the synagogue were upon them. He opens up to the portion of the scripture, it's called the Haftarah, the Torah reading for the day, which it's customary in every synagogue on Shabbat to read a portion from the Torah, the first five books of our Bible, the books of Moses, and to also read a portion from the prophets, or the haftarah.
So, Yeshua came to the bema. He came to the platform and he opened to the book of Isaiah chapter 61 verse one, he began to read and he opened the book and found the place where it was written. The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight, to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. He began to say to them, today, this scripture has been fulfilled, filled in your hearing.
Two things I want to focus your eyes on for moment. Number one, I want to focus your eyes on the type of ministry the Mashiach was prophesied to have, and which Yeshua in fact does have. It's a ministry of healing. He heals the brokenhearted. He heals those that need deliverance. He delivers those that are oppressed. This is a very personal ministry to an individual soul. The truth is, all of us are broken in many different ways and at many different levels. Everybody that comes into this world without being made whole by the power of God, through Messiah has a brokenness inside, an insecurity inside. It happened all the way back when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden and as soon as they ate from that forbidden tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, what happened to them? They suddenly realized they were naked. They felt afraid. They felt ashamed. They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves and they began to run. They tried to escape God. They tried to escape themselves.
What was their plight? What was their condition? They were broken. And you and I today, we enter in to the world as their offspring and we realize as we age, we are broken too. Deep insecurity inside, fears, all types of things going on in our life. We're not whole. We're so self-absorbed, we can't love other people. We see the sin in our life, the greed, the selfishness, the arrogance, the vanity, all the things that we as human beings are subject to, and in fact, it's part of our nature. So we all need healing. We all need forgiveness. We all need deliverance. It's a personal need that we have. And this is what the prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 61, Messiah would bring. He would bring liberation to the oppressed. He'd set prisoners free, free from our sin, and he'd make us whole again. Jesus said it, when he read that scripture today, this scripture is being fulfilled in your midst. Why? Because the one whom I say Isaiah said would do this had come, and Yeshua is that one.
I also want to make the point that if we're going to experience the fullness of what Yeshua wants to do for us, we need to give him ourselves totally. Remember what he said he wants to do. He wants to bring recovery of sight to the blind. He wants to bring freedom to the oppressed. He wants to deliver the poor. He wants to release the captives. He said he came to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. He wants to bring supernatural recovery into your life and make you whole, but in order for you and I to be made whole, we have to entirely, listen now, give ourselves to him. As long as we're trying to be made whole in Yeshua, but yet giving ourselves to the world, we'll never experience the supernatural completeness that Jesus wants to bring into our soul. In order for him to have his way with us, we need to, beloved ones, fully listen, abandon ourselves to him.
As long as we're double-minded, we will not be able to receive his ministry fully into our lives. James wrote about this. He said, let not the double minded person expect that he's going to receive anything from God and if we think that we can practice sin willfully, and when I speak all about practicing sin, I'm not talking about defining sin the way that the world defines sin or the way that you and I individually define sin. I'm talking about sin being defined by what scripture says is sin. If we think that we'll be able to experience the recovery, the wholeness, the freedom that Jesus proclaimed in the synagogue in Luke four, that he came to bring us into, if we think we can receive that and enter fully into it and enter into the joy of the Lord and yet at the same time, willfully live a lifestyle of sin, we are sadly mistaken.
You see, we need to consider the fact that Jesus is the Pearl of Great Price. He said that if you want the Pearl of Great Price, speaking of himself, you have to go out and sell everything else that you have in order to buy the Pearl of Great Price. I shared it earlier that there was a good man, by the world standards, that wanted Jesus in his life and he came to Jesus and he said, listen, I'm keeping all the commandments. What must I do? He said to Yeshua, to inherit eternal life? And Yeshua said, go sell everything you have. Remember this man was a rich man. Yeshua said one thing you lack, go sell everything you have and then come and follow me and you will receive eternal life. What was Yeshua doing there? He was bringing revelation to that man, but to all of us as well, that if we want to receive him and his fullness and enter into the eternal happiness that he has come to bring us, we need to sell everything, in the conceptual sense in our life, we need to put everything that we're clinging to in the world behind us, the vanity of the world, the things of the world, we need to stop looking to them to fulfill us. We need to stop bowing down to the world's pressure and we need to say, "Jesus, my goal in life is you alone".
Today, many people that call themselves believers are not willing to suffer for the name of Christ. They're not willing to identify themselves openly as believers when they're in the presence of non-believers because it's not politically correct. So they consider themselves believers, many that call themselves Christians, but they're not willing to openly identify themselves as believers in the greater world. In other words, their faith in Jesus is more silent than bold. Why? Because they're wanting to have one foot in the world and one foot in Yeshua. But Jesus said, he that's ashamed of me in this wicked and perverse generation, I'll be ashamed of him when I come again in the glory of my father.
You see people, and there are so many, I think our churches are full of these people. I think the majority of people in our churches today in America are of the kind that I'm describing. They consider themselves believers, but their faith is more silent in the world than it is public. Jesus said that our light should shine before men and that we shouldn't keep it silent so that people could see our lives and look up and give glory to God. It shouldn't be buried under a bushel. It should be on top of a mountain. Jesus said, you shall be my witnesses. Go into all the world, preach the gospel to all creation. But so many in our churches, if you look at their social relationship outside of their small nucleus of Christian friends or the people in their church, they're not talking about Jesus. They're not doing anything to be a witness. They're not talking about Jesus at work. They're not talking about Jesus to their friends or to their neighbors in their neighborhood. They're only talking about Jesus when it's safe, when they know the other people around them will affirm them. Why? Because they're more concerned about being affirmed by the world and they're more afraid of being rejected than they are afraid of walking rightly before the Lord.
And so Jesus said to the rich man, one thing you lack, go sell everything you have. That was the hardest thing that Yeshua could have asked him to do. But you see, Jesus was saying unless you give me your whole heart and let go of this other thing that you're hanging on to. In your case, it would be you're hanging on to wanting to be politically correct. Some of you are hanging on wanting to be accepted by the world. You're unwilling to suffer rejection. You're unwilling to be on the outside and you know that if you bring up Jesus, it's going to put you oftentimes on the outside, it's going to put you in the out-group, you're not going to be part of the in-group anymore. It may even cost you a job promotion. It may cost you some friends. It may cost you some relationships, but Jesus said, unless you're willing to give up the most important things in your life for me, unless you're willing to suffer for me, you cannot be my disciple.
So no wonder that we're not experiencing more of his reality in our life than we are, because we've made him our dessert rather than the main meal. Jesus will not be our dessert. He will not be simply a hobby for you. He has to be our everything. Paul said, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. There is no other way. That's why Jesus said strait and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it. Strive to enter in through the narrow way, Jesus said for many will seek to enter and not be able. So beloved, I've just got done proclaiming the ministry of Messiah into our individual souls, healing, deliverance, wholeness, freedom. Jesus said, I've come to bring freedom into your life, but you and I are not receiving more of it because we're not willing to pay the price. You see, the apostle Paul knew what it meant to pay the price and that's why he knew Jesus so well.
See, the apostle Paul had money. He had a political standing, he had religious standing. He was esteemed by everybody because of his religious position in society. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees, and he told us of his credentials in the book of Philippians. Born he said, circumcised the eighth day from the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews. Educated, he said under the leading Jewish Sage of his day, Gamaliel. But he said, whatever those things were to me, whatever gain those things worked to me, they gave me such clout in my society. They made me a leader amongst my people. And because of my business, the leadership, I had respect and money and position, he said, but when I came a believer in Jesus, it costs me all those things. He said, so whatever those things were, whatever gained to me they represented. He said, I count them as nothing. I count the fact that I had to give them up for a loss as nothing. He said, that I might listen, that I might, in other words, he had to give them up. If he was going to, I count them but nothing, he said, that I might gain Christ and know him in the power of his resurrection and in, beloved ones, the fellowship of his sufferings.
So consider this, Paul's goal was listen, to gain Christ that I might know him he said. And in order for me to know him, I needed to give up all those other things. I needed to give up the world. I lost my position. I lost my status. I lost my income, but I consider that which I gave up as rubbish when I compare it to knowing the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. Listen to what he said, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them but rubbish that I might know him in the power of his resurrection and in the fellowship of his sufferings. Now consider, Paul said, in order to gain this inheritance of knowing Jesus, he had to give everything else up but he didn't consider that he had given up these treasures, he said they were worthless to knowing Jesus. And when he spoke about knowing Jesus, he talked about knowing him, listen, two dimensionally. Number one, he said that I might know him in the power of his resurrection, but secondly he said, and in the fellowship, the fellowship of his sufferings. In other words, even as Jesus was rejected, Paul was rejected. Even as Jesus was ousted by the religious leaders, Paul was ousted by the religious leaders.
In order for you and I to really know Jesus, to be able to identify with him in deep fellowship, we have to walk the walk that he walked, we have to be willing to identify with him and when we identify with him beloved, it results in our suffering in this world for the same reasons that he suffered in this world. He suffered because he was doing the Lord's will and because he was doing the Lord's will, he was rejected. If you and I are going to truly walk in the will of God, guess what? We're going to be misunderstood. We're going to be condemned. We're going to be rejected. It's going to hurt our pride. But in being rejected, in being humiliated, in participating in the sufferings of Jesus, listen, we come to know him in such a deeper way. What an awesome privilege to be able to identify with Jesus in his sufferings.
So the point is, as we get back to our text, if we're not willing to suffer with him, if we're not willing to be rejected for him, if we're not willing to not be part of the in-crowd, if we're going to instead follow the way of political correctness, we'll never know him and we'll never experience what Jesus said he came to give. What did he say came to give in fulfillment of the messianic prophecy in Isaiah 61:1? He said he came to deliver the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind and to set the oppressed free. And so today I don't know about you, but I've got a great brokenness in my own life yet that I want to be healed, in my own soul that I want to be healed from. There's such a greater place of victory for us all to enter into, to be able to live with such security that we can continually love people without any thought of looking to them to give us some kind of affirmation back. When we can live in this world, whole in ourselves, because of our relationship with Jesus, knowing who we are to Him and as a result of that wholeness, freely be able to love all people, we will be free indeed.