From Israel’s kibbutzim, to the streets of New York, our Jewish people everywhere are united. Some argue our commonality is the core belief in God and rabbinic tradition; some argue it’s the sensory tradition such as frying latkes and lighting candles. Some argue you can believe anything you want, but you can’t be Jewish and believe in Jesus. However, in a post-diaspora world, even a post-modern one, it is not difficult to argue that the Jewish people are tied together by inheritance (genetic) in Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Rachel, and Leah. We are united by blood. Biblically it is how God set us apart from the nations. Those who have hated and persecuted our people, also recognize that as diverse as we are, we have this common bond and that it sets us apart.
Unfortunately, the greater Jewish community has been quick to reject Jewish believers in Jesus as Messiah, or Messianic Jews. We often face discrimination when attempting to make aliyah and our young people are excluded from almost every Birthright trip. (I know this firsthand.) However, a trip called Massah allows Jewish believers in Jesus to travel to Israel, and even to speak about the Messiah to those willing to engage. Last month, Bryan, an American Jewish college student, had a noteworthy experience of Jewish solidarity during his travels with Massah.
“The plan for the day was to travel with a couple Israeli friends that Naomi, [another girl on Massah,] and I know, Yaacov* and his girlfriend Sheer*. We left for the day excited and joyful. This lighthearted feeling quickly came to an end when an Israeli man drove up in a taxi asking, ‘Do any of you have the blood type A positive? An Israeli guy in the hospital that needs blood because he got into a bad motorcycle accident last night.’ We all rushed into the taxi. I do not fit the blood type, but Naomi did and the two others ended up having A positive blood. As soon as we arrived the laboratory nurse took all who were donating to the blood bank, while I stayed with the injured man, whose name happened to be Israel. There were two others there, one was a Breslov rabbi (follower of Rabbi Nachman) and the other was a man who was leaving in three days to go to Gaza and fight.
“While waiting for the blood, I prayed for Israel. After about three hours the blood was drawn and we were told that this would last Israel for a day or two. We left, already planning to return and donate again the next day. However, this hospital trip was not the end of God’s work this day. Directly after the hospital, Yaacov, Sheer, Naomi and I went to have dinner. While at dinner Naomi and I had an awesome opportunity to [share about God with] our two friends. Amazingly enough, when we got our food, they allowed me to pray and thank God for the food. God started to open their hearts to what we had to say. From then on we had a two-hour conversation about Yeshua and His messiahship. We had the opportunity to open up Isaiah 53 as well, and show them the prophecies and other gospel literature… Praise God!”
Bryan’s story shows how the common bond of Jewishness helped resolve a physical crisis quickly with the gift of blood. But the circumstances also allowed Bryan and Naomi to discuss one of the greatest blood sacrifices in world history. It is referenced in Isaiah 53, a foreshadowing of the death of a Messiah whose blood would be used to cover the sins of all people.
The ancient Hebrew temple was set up for animal sacrifices, which, in our time, seems archaic and savage. But God chose this system to illustrate what it takes to restore our broken relationship with him. It is our dependence on blood for life that makes it the appropriate covering for sin. There is great value in blood, as Bryan and his friends those that were with him were reminded. We can no more live—truly live—without God than we can live without blood. Without him we are spiritually dead.
Does this strike a nerve? Are you looking for resolution and restoration with the God who set apart Israel to show His glory? Explore more about this in our How to Know God resource.
*Not their real names