Disciple Like a Hebrew - Part 1

179294735I know the Internet was nonexistent in the first century, but the concept of hyperlinks was everywhere. I first met the late Dwight Pryor, founder of Judaic Christian Studies, at a Haverim school in Dayton, Ohio. The subject of the four-day retreat I was attending was “The Messiah and the Apostle,” in which we were comparing Jesus’ theology in the Gospels to Paul’s theology in the Epistles. My roommate for the week was a completed Jewish rabbi who believed in Yeshua as his Messiah. His understanding and knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures was unparalleled. As you can imagine, I was overjoyed by the room assignments. He, however, was unaware of what was coming. For the next three days, he entertained questions from a young, eager-to-learn seminary student. The first night, he caught me off guard with a question, “How do you share the Gospel with a lost person?” I rattled off a few chapters and verses from the Romans Road that would have earned me an iron-on patch in AWANA. When I turned the question back around to him, he said, “I start with the fall in Genesis and continue through the Old Testament.” “Really?” I asked. “Of course!” he replied. “We both have the same goal: to communicate the Gospel. The only difference is our starting point. You begin in the New Testament with Paul’s Epistles. I share the Gospel the way Jesus would have.” I had nothing more to say. Stunned, I turned the lights off and marinated on his words all night. My interest was piqued. For the remainder of our time together, I watched as this man identified keshers, as Pryor called them, in the New Testament that referred back to particular verses and chapters from the Old, something I was unable to do because of my limited Biblical knowledge. Have you noticed how when Jesus mentioned a word or phrase, His audience seemed to instinctively know what He was talking about? Unlike most western Christians, Jews committed the Scriptures to memory at an early age and could recall them effortlessly. Keshers, connections or linkages to the Old Testament, are sprinkled all throughout the New Testament. Think of them as hyperlinks on a webpage—hover over a link and your arrow turns into a hand. As soon as you click on the link, you are instantly transported to a different page. Allow an example. Suppose I said to you, “Twas the night before Christmas,” what would you say? You’d likely follow: “And all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” Let’s do it again: “Our father, who art in heaven.” You’d probably respond: “Hallowed be thy name.” One more: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.” Without missing a beat, you sing, “That saved a wretch like me.” What does this have to do with discipleship? Everything. Check back next week for part 2, Can you do me a favor? If these ideas resonate with you, would you:   • REACT. Do something.   • RESPOND. Leave a comment on this post.   • REPOST. Repost this link on Twitter, Facebook or your blog.