Tree of Life Messianic Congregation

A Fellowship of Jewish and non-Jewish Believers in Yeshua

Month: December 2018

The Scepter Shall Not Pass From Judah

20181222 Parsha Vayechi – The Scepter Will Not Pass From Judah

Readings Genesis 49: 8-12
Matthew 1: 18-25

Today is 22 December 2018. I want to thank God for a miracle that occurred 28 years ago on this date. About 5pm I was working on a couple of wooden boxes for my boys and was cutting strips of hard maple and alternating with walnut. In an instant of inattention, I got my left hand too close to the table saw and instantly cut off three fingers. It is a long story that Pat would be happy to regale you with all the gory details. Suffice it to say, the prognosis was not good, infection, gangrene, amputation. But my heavenly Father had a different plan. Against all natural odds, he healed my fingers, much to the amazement of the surgeon. Just three months after the accident I was back on full duty. There is seldom a day goes by that I don’t thank God for this hand. There is a God in Israel and he is still in the healing business!

In today’s world we don’t do blessings on our children like was done by our forefathers. Perhaps something is lost as a result. We are much more legalistic and formal. We don’t lay our hands on our sons and pronounce a blessing/prophecy over them. No, we write out a will and let all the kids fight over our estate after we are gone.

You know the old saying. Where there’s a will there’s….relatives.

Our Parsha this week describes the blessings given to the sons of Jacob. The blessings were separate from birthright. Anyone could get a blessing. But generally speaking, the birthright was for the first born. That meant that he received a double portion of the father’s estate.

In the case of Jacob’s sons, they all received a blessing, but Joseph’s two sons Manasseh and Ephraim received the birthright. With Ephraim, the youngest, receiving the greater share.

The blessings outlined in Genesis Chapter 49 were actually quite prophetic. Reuben forfeited his natural position of prominence as the firstborn because of serious sin. The tribe of Reuben dwindled down to almost nothing.

Reuben not only lost his position as the head of the clan, he lost his position as the priest. Levi would eventually occupy that position after supporting Moses at Sinai.

Similarly, Simeon, because of his violent nature would eventually dwindle to almost nothing.

Genesis 49:8-12 Judah, so you are—your brothers will praise you: Your hand will be on your enemies’ neck. Your father’s sons will bow down to you. (9) A lion’s cub is Judah—from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He crouches, lies down like a lion, or like a lioness—who would rouse him? (10) The scepter will not pass from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs will come. To him will be the obedience of the peoples. (11) Binding his foal to the vine, his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he washes his garments in wine, and in the blood of grapes his robe. (12) His eyes are darker than wine, and teeth that are whiter than milk.

Judah was given a very good blessing. Whereas the three previous blessings prophesied problems for the recipients, Judah was all positive. Judah would become the leader of the tribes. He led all the other tribes when they would march from one place to another while in the wilderness.

However, Judah himself was not the most sterling of characters. Remember, he was the brother that suggested selling Joseph rather than killing him, so they could make a profit. Then later, he dealt unfaithfully with his daughter-in-law Tamar. But then he showed good character when he interceded and offered himself as a substitute for Benjamin. Overall, this blessing is an example of God’s grace to an undeserving individual.

This blessing/prophecy of Judah is a description of Judah’s greatest descendant, Yeshua HaMashiach. Charles Spurgeon said “The dying patriarch was speaking of his own son Judah; but while speaking of Judah he had a special eye to our Lord, who sprang from the tribe of Judah. Everything therefore which he says of Judah, the type, he means with regard to our greater Judah, the antitype, our Messiah Yeshua”.

Jacob continued his blessing. You are a lion…The scepter will not pass from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,…. To him will be the obedience of the peoples. Each of these refer to the ruling position Judah will have among his brethren. He inherited the leadership aspect of the firstborn’s inheritance. This leadership position among his brothers meant that the eventual kings of Israel would come from Judah and that the Messiah – God’s ultimate leader – would eventually come from the tribe of Judah.

The part about tying a donkey to a vine is a prophecy of the abundance and blessings that Judah would enjoy. No one would tie his donkey to a vine, (think grape vine) because the donkey would eat it. So, the ability to tie a donkey to one of your grapevines means that you have so many grape vines that you are not concerned with a donkey eating one of them. Washing garments in wine is also a metaphor for wealth in that Judah would be rich enough that wine was just as plentiful as water.

In Revelation 5:5 Yeshua is called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

The leadership prophecy took some 640 years to fulfill, in part with the reign of David, first of Judah’s dynasty of kings. The prophecy took some 1600 years to completely fulfill in Yeshua. Yeshua is referred to as Shiloh, the name meaning, He whose right it is or to Whom it belongs and a title anciently understood to speak of the Messiah.

From David until the Herods, a prince of Judah was head over Israel (even Daniel in captivity). The promise was that Israel would keep this scepter until Shiloh comes. Even under their foreign masters during this period, Israel had a limited right to self-rule, until 7CE. At that time, under Herod and the Romans, their right to capital punishment – a small but remaining element of their self-governance – was taken away.

At the time, the rabbis considered it a disaster of unfulfilled Scripture. Seemingly, the last vestige of the scepter had passed from Judah, and they did not see the Messiah. Reportedly, rabbis walked the streets of Jerusalem and said, “Woe unto us, for the scepter has been taken away from Judah, and Shiloh has not come.” Yet God’s word had not been broken.

In the blessing for Judah, Jacob is prophesying about Yeshua. This is the season where most of the Christian world and much of the secular world celebrates or at least acknowledges the birth of Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah.

We know for a variety of reasons that Yeshua was not born on the 25th of December.
1. It was too cold to be out in the fields with sheep.
2. The lambing season is in the springtime. Makes sense that the Lamb of God would be born when the lambs were being born.
3. Calculating the birth based on John the Immerser brings us to either Sukkot or the weeks prior to Pesach.

The Bible does not specify the day. I believe that was on purpose so that we would not begin to venerate the day and adding all sorts of secular customs that would obscure the significance of the earthly birth of the Son of God our Messiah. Oh, wait…that may have already happened….my bad.

On that very first night when the Messiah was born, an angelic choir turned out to celebrate and announce the auspicious occasion. Heaven celebrated Yeshua’s birth so should we.

We should acknowledge basic but critical aspects of prophecy that make His birth unique in all the universe.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore Adonai Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive. When she is giving birth to a son, she will call his name Immanuel.
Matthew 1:18-21 Now the birth of Yeshua the Messiah happened this way. When His mother Miriam was engaged to Joseph but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Ruach ha-Kodesh. (19) And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, made up his mind to dismiss her secretly. (20) But while he considered these things, behold, an angel of Adonai appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Miriam as your wife, for the Child conceived in her is from the Ruach ha-Kodesh. (21) She will give birth to a son; and you shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Micah 5:1 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah—least among the clans of Judah—from you will come out to Me One to be ruler in Israel, One whose goings forth are from of old, from days of eternity.

Matthew 2:1 Now after Yeshua was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, magi from the east came to Jerusalem,

Psalms 72:10 May kings of Tarshish and the islands bring tribute, kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts.

Matthew 2:11 And when they came into the house, they saw the Child with His mother Miriam; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

There are many more prophecies that point to Yeshua. Every book of the Bible prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. For these reasons I think we should celebrate the birth of the Messiah. Notice that I didn’t say celebrate Christmas. The observance we call Christmas has been diluted to the point that very little of it is recognizable.

Right now, our children are being taught about the birth of Yeshua. They are being taught straight out of the Bible. NO Santa, no reindeer, no decking the halls. Just Yeshua and his miraculous birth. This is the perfect time to give our children the truth, when they are being bombarded every day with the secular foolishness of this season.

Let me restate some ideas from my sermon last year.

For many Believers, especially those who grew up celebrating Christmas, the idea of abandoning the most popular of Christian holidays just leaves them empty. Some feel that not honoring the Messiah’s birth would be a sin. Of course, we know that it is not, but this is a real feeling for many.

What I tell people who ask if they must stop celebrating Christmas is that we as a congregation will not be putting on plays of the nativity, and singing “Oh Christmas Tree, oh Christmas Tree, but “In your home, by all means celebrate how you feel best. No one is going to judge you. We have no Messianic police!” I know many Messianic couples where one spouse is not Jewish. For the non-Jews, often there is an emptiness by not celebrating something with which they grew up—that was pure and honoring to God. Several have told me that in recent years they have quietly celebrated.

I would like to leave you with a couple of thoughts.

Your family is the most important physical entity you have been given on earth. All of us had a mother and father. Some of us had siblings, aunts and uncles, and cousins. Do all your relatives know Yeshua? Are they living a holy life before the Lord? Instead of isolating yourself from them, would getting together with them give you an opportunity to be a witness of the goodness of Adonai? Look at every family get together as one more chance to win the lost. Don’t let a division in beliefs rob you (and them) of a blessing.

Your particular belief regarding Christmas should not be a platform from which you can theologically pummel poor old aunt Bertha and Uncle Al. The particular day Yeshua was born is not a salvation issue. The FACT that he was born IS a salvation issue. I wish we would celebrate the birth and life of Yeshua every day with the fervor we see at Christmas. If we did, perhaps we would see more people born into the kingdom of God.

Recognizing the Redeemer

20181218 Parsha Vayigash – Recognizing the Redeemer

Genesis 44:18-47:27
Luke 24:30-48

This week’s Parsha is Vayigash. That means “He approached”. In the last Parsha we saw Joseph coming to power in Egypt. Egypt was just about the most powerful nation in the world at that time. Joseph was the number two man there after interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams. He was elevated to the position in order to implement a plan that would mitigate the effects of a coming famine that would devastate the Middle East in 7 years. During the first seven years of this plan, Joseph built enormous storehouses and taxed the produce of the Egyptian farmers. The tax was in the form of grain which was collected and stored in the huge granaries.

After seven years of great harvests, the drought and famine set in. Joseph’s father Jacob and his eleven brothers were living in Canaan making a living as shepherds. When the drought began there was no food accumulated for them since they were shepherds and not farmers. Also, God’ plan for 7 fat years followed by 7 years of famine had not been revealed to them. Therefore, after a year of famine, Jacob and family were out of food. Their flocks were in bad shape. There was simply not enough grass to support all the flock. As is the case when drought strikes, the flock is diminished through natural attrition and reduced birthrates.

Eventually, Jacob realized that they had to do something or die of starvation. They heard that there was food in Egypt so, Jacob sent ten of his sons to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph immediately recognized his brothers but kept it to himself. Joseph would have been dressed like the Egyptian Prime Minister that he was. He had been in Egypt for 17 years and spoke to his brothers through an interpreter.

Joseph tested his brothers through a series of events in order to see if they were still the same as they had been 17 years earlier. They would talk among themselves not knowing that the Egyptian ruler in their midst was their own brother. Joseph would just sit back and listen. After several tests Joseph couldn’t go on. He had to tell them who he was.

There were several things that happened to the brothers when they were reintroduced to their long-lost brother.

Their association changed.

What I mean by association is the way they associated with Joseph. Their relationship changed. Before they were afraid of Joseph. Because of Joseph’s position in Egypt and their need for food, the brothers were extremely dependent upon the good graces of the Egyptian Ruler. The tests devised by Joseph were more reason for fear among the brothers, because they thought they would be imprisoned or executed as a result of the various accusations against them.

Remember Joseph’s dream? The brothers would bow before him. Well they did exactly that. They had to bow before their younger brother.

So what happened when Joseph revealed who he was? Fear, panic, terror? I would imagine all of that when through their minds as they replayed that awful day 17 years earlier when they would have killed Joseph but sold him into slavery. They now realized that this could be a terrible day of judgment for them.

But it didn’t happen that way. Joseph wept before them. He called Benjamin to him and embraced him and cried. Joseph had a lot of emotion bottled up inside him. He then called his brothers to him. They all had a big group hug. I’m sure there were a lot of “I’m sorrys” blurted out.

The brothers went from being fearful supplicants to brothers of the ruler. Their relationship with this ruler of Egypt changed.

Their Attitude changed.

Before there was fear and dread. That fear was well placed in their minds because of the evil they perpetrated on Joseph. There was guilt from deeds long ago. All that was wiped away in a few moments of heartfelt repentance and forgiveness. The jealousy and envy was gone and replaced with brotherly love.

Their Actions changed.

No longer were the brothers plotting and scheming because of perceived slights. No more attempts to do harm to their brother. The brothers whose actions almost sent an innocent man to an early death and indeed sentenced their own brother to years of agony in an Egyptian prison, these men were changed.

Fast forward about 1800 years to 1st Century Israel.

A man named Yeshua who was thought by many to be the long-promised Messiah had been cruelly executed on a Roman cross. His disciples had scattered when he was arrested. His most vocal adherent, Shimon Kefa, had denied even knowing him.

Many had big hopes and dreams for Yeshua. He would certainly be the one who could rid Israel of the harsh rule of Imperial Rome. Why else would there be a Messiah? After all, wasn’t that what the Messiah was supposed to do?
It was just 200 years earlier that a ragged band of priests put down The Book and picked up the sword waging a three year campaign for freedom. Judah Maccabee was not a warrior but a priest, so why couldn’t Yeshua, the craftsman become another “Hammer”? Why couldn’t he lead a rebellion against the hated Romans?

Our Brit Chadashah reading this morning picks up the story of Yeshua on the day of his resurrection. Luke records that two of Yeshua’s disciples were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a distance of about 7 miles. As could be expected, these two followers of Yeshua, were discussing all the events surrounding the arrest, trial, and Crucifixion of who they thought would be their Redeemer.

They were puzzled over the storm of the last week. They didn’t understand how the Redeemer of all mankind could be tried by the Sanhedrin, condemned and executed. It didn’t make sense.

While they were walking along, they were joined by Yeshua. Luke said their eyes were kept from recognizing him. Yeshua asked them what it was that they were discussing. They stopped in their tracks and just looked at Yeshua. One of the disciples named Cleopas asked him if he was the only person in Jerusalem that didn’t know what had gone on in the last three days.

Yeshua asked them what kind of things? Well the things about Yeshua from Natzeret. He was a prophet, very powerful in his actions and his speaking. They explained how the Sanhedrin had tried him and turned him over to the Romans for execution.

They then revealed how their minds were working. They hoped Yeshua was going to be the Hope of Israel, the Messiah. But then he died. I have heard that same argument from Jewish people with whom I am discussing Yeshua. They ask how could he possibly have been the Messiah? He died and was buried. In the minds of the Jewish people, 2000 years ago as well as today, the Messiah would not have died.

Then came the curious part. Just that morning, some women went to his tomb to anoint his body, but Yeshua was not there! The women reported that angels had told them he was alive! Yeshua had risen from the dead!

Starting in verse 25, Yeshua said, “Oh foolish ones, so slow of heart to put your trust in all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary for Messiah to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”

Yeshua started explaining, beginning with Moses, all the prophesies that pointed to his sacrificial death.

By the time Yeshua had completed his explanation, they were at Emmaus so the disciples urged him to spend the night with them because it was almost dark. Yeshua agreed and as they were reclining at the supper table, Yeshua took matza (it was still during the feast of unleavened bread) and said, “Baruch ata, Adonai, Eloheinu, Melech haolam. Hamotzi lechem min ha aretz.” He broke the matza and gave it to the two men. A that time, their eyes were opened and they recognized their Redeemer. Immediately Yeshua disappeared.

So what happened to these men?

Their association with the Redeemer changed.

On the road to Emmaus these disciples were cut off and confused. Just a few days before, they had been with the Master or had seen him up close. Perhaps they had thrown down their cloaks before Yeshua as he rode a donkey into Jerusalem. And now they were estranged. Once they were close but now Yeshua was just a painful memory.

But then they recognized their Redeemer and everything changed. They were no longer estranged, cutoff, separated from their hopes for Israel. Yeshua was alive.

Their Attitude changed.

Luke said they were gloomy. That was an example of understatement. These guys had been following a man who they strongly believed would be the Messiah of Israel. He would free them from Roman oppression, and now he was dead and gone. But when they recognized their Redeemer, they were changed. Their hearts burned within them even before they knew who he was. They were beginning to understand in their mind and training, who the Messiah was. It didn’t fit their model, but Yeshua was alive!

Their Actions changed.

They had obviously been up since early that morning and walked seven miles to Emmaus. It was a long day. It was time for bed. But they had just met the Master. He was alive. They immediately packed up and headed back to Jerusalem to tell the others that they had seen Yeshua and He was alive. They went from retreat and defeat to advancement and victory. They could not wait until morning to tell the good news.

What about today? I think there is a real lesson for us in these to Biblical accounts. Joseph is often called the foreshadowing of the Messiah. So it is appropriate that we look at the account of Joseph in Egypt and compare it favorably to Yeshua.

The lesson for us here today is that when we find the Messiah. When we recognize who He truly is. Then We have a change in our relationship with him.

Our Association with Yeshua changes.

We were once lost in our sins but after meeting Yeshua, our sins are washed away and we are grafted in to the true vine of Israel. We are no longer outsiders, but mishpochah, family. Yeshua said that we can say Abba, a very intimate Aramaic term for Father. I can address the Creator of the Universe as “Daddy”. That’s a change of association.

We have a change in Attitude.

Before we met Yeshua, many of us had a real attitude. And I imagine it wasn’t a good attitude. When we are not followers of Yeshua, many of us are angry, frustrated, depressed, the list goes one. Paul called “those who have no hope”. But with Yeshua we can have hope. We know in part what the future holds. I tell people all the time that I don’t worry too much about world circumstances that involves politics, wars, the foolishness of man-made global warming, or the mark of the beast. I’ve read the back of the book and I see who wins. It is Yeshua and His followers. That’s an attitude changer.

We have a change in Action.

When we encounter Yeshua, our actions shift from me, me, me to Hineni. Here I am Lord. What do you need for me to do? The direction of our lives change. Our faith should be seen in our mitzvot, our works. Our works won’t save us but are indicative of the fact that we are saved. The things we say, the things we do are different when we know Yeshua.

Where are you this morning? Do you know and recognize Yeshua? Do you need a change in your relationship with Him and with others? Do you need a change in attitude? And finally, do you need a change in action and direction? Are you headed the wrong way? Yeshua is the answer.

The Nature of Light

20181208 Parsha Miketz – The Nature of Light Sermon

Torah Portion Genesis Chapter 41-44
B’rit Chadashah – Matt 5:13-16

In this week’s Parsha we continue our story of Joseph how he correctly interprets Pharaoh’s dreams and ascends from prison to the second highest position in Egypt. It is a remarkable turn of events for Joseph that proves God’s hand in directing his life. We see how the dreams he had as a teenager are now coming to fruition as the scene is set for his brothers to have to come to him with hat in hand trying to get food for their families. It is an amazing story of prophecy fulfilled for the purpose of physical salvation of the Israelite people. Joseph was taken from the darkness of prison into the light of God’s purpose. I encourage each of you to take time out this week to read Genesis Chapter 41-44.

But since we are celebrating Hanukkah this week, I wanted to speak on the subject of light. Hanukkah has several names and several spellings. It is known as the Feast of Dedication as evidenced in John 10:22. But it is also popularly known as the Festival of Lights because we light candles each night to commemorate the miracle of the Menorah staying lit for eight nights. I spoke of that miraculous history at length last week.

Today I want to speak on the Nature of Light. What is light? What are its properties? What did Yeshua say about Light?

What is Light? Light is electromagnetic radiation that can be detected by the human eye. Electromagnetic radiation occurs over an extremely wide range of wavelengths, from gamma rays with wavelengths less than about 1 × 10−11 meter to radio waves measured in meters. Within that broad spectrum the wavelengths visible to humans occupy a very narrow band, from about 700 nanometers (nm; billionths of a meter) for red light down to about 400 nm for violet light.

Visible Light is made of many wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. It takes all those wavelengths from infra-red to ultra-violet to give us a product that allows us to walk across the living room floor in the middle of the night without rearranging our toes.

The spectral regions adjacent to the visible band are often referred to as light also, infrared at the one end and ultraviolet at the other. The speed of light in a vacuum is a fundamental physical constant, the currently accepted value of which is exactly 299,792,458 meters per second, or about 186,282 miles per second.

Since light is a constant, we use it for measuring vast distances. For instance, the distance to the nearest star outside of our own little solar system is 4.22 light years away. That means that if you could travel at the speed of light it would take you 4.22 years to reach Proxima Centauri, the closest star in the Alpha Centauri system.

Light also produces heat.

I’m not going to bore you with the physics behind all those little particles called photons bouncing around hitting each other. There are a couple of reasons why I’m not going to explain this in detail. First of all, it would take too long to adequately plumb the depths of quantum physics in the few minutes allotted to this sermon. But the most important reason I will not be expounding on how light produces heat is…..I don’t have a clue how it produces heat. I just know that if you touch a light bulb even if it has been lit for only a few seconds, it will be warm. Just remember, light produces heat.

Why is all this important? Let’s look at what Yeshua says about light.

In several scriptures He states that he is the light of the world.

John 8:12 Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows Me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 9:5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

John 12:46 As light I have come into the world, so that everyone who trusts in Me should not remain in darkness.

That is easy for us as Believers to accept. Yes He is a great light for all of us to follow.

But then He also says something extraordinary.

Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt should lose its flavor, how shall it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. (14) You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all in the house. (16) In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

He says that we are salt of the earth and light of the world. How can we be the light of the world if He is the light of the world? Those are some big sandals to fill. There are some important principles here that bring us back to the properties of light.

Light is a constant.

The speed of light doesn’t change. It is always the same. We can use it to measure to wide expanses of the universe. Yeshua never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His standard of holiness never changes. What was immoral 2000 years ago is still immoral today, regardless of what modern society tries to foist on us.

When Yeshua tells us that we are the light of the world, we are to be emitting the same morality, the same standard of holiness, the same level of “Chesed” or lovingkindness that He displayed. If we can be invisible believers, you know what I’m talking about. The invisible Believer is one that can go through his daily routine and no one suspects he is a Believer. If you can live your life so that people don’t realize that you are a follower of Yeshua, then I would submit that maybe you are not. You need to get plugged in to the power of Yeshua. If you are a light to the world, then people should see that light.

The world should see that there is “something different” about us. How do you react to offense? Do you bow up like a junk yard dog, ready to fight at a moment’s notice?

How do you react when confronted with genuine need? Are you too busy to help? Too turned off by physical appearances? Or do you show compassion like the Good Samaritan?

It is something to think about.

Yeshua also mentioned being the salt of the earth. We often hear of good, down to earth people as being “salt of the earth”. But what does that mean? Salt was very important in the Middle Eastern culture of the 1st century.

First, because of the lack of refrigeration, salt was used to preserve food, especially meat, which would quickly spoil in the desert environment. Believers in Yeshua are preservatives to the world, preserving it from the evil inherent in the society of ungodly men whose unredeemed natures are corrupted by sin.

Second, salt was used then, as now, as a flavor enhancer. In the same way that salt enhances the flavor of the food it seasons, the followers of Yeshua stand out as those who “enhance” the flavor of life in this world. Believers, living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to the Lord, will inevitably influence the world for good, as salt has a positive influence on the flavor of the food it seasons. Where there is strife, we are to be peacemakers; where there is sorrow, we are to be the ministers of the Messiah, binding up wounds, and where there is hatred, we are to exemplify the love of God, returning good for evil.

Let me ask you a question. Can you hold salt in your hand? Can you see it? Can you taste it? Of course you can. Salt is a tangible commodity. It has physical properties that are readily apparent to our senses.

By the same token, can we hold light in our hand? Can we taste it? No, but….we can see light if enough of the right wavelengths of electro-magnetic energy is present in the right quantity and intensity.

We can feel light. One of the most pleasant sensations for me is to feel the radiant warmth of the sun on my body. Remember, light produces heat and with heat we produce work. Think steam engines, jet engines, cooking stoves.

Yeshua is telling us to be a light to the world. He is telling us to emit some heat. Do some work.

Notice He said we are salt of the earth and light to the world. What’s the difference? Salt of the earth. Something tangible you can hold in your hand. Doing works that can be measured. Works are important. Yaakov, the brother of Yeshua said in the second chapter of his epistle, that you show your faith by your works. In fact, your faith is non-existent without works.

Yeshua that we should let our light shine so that men can see our good works, or rather, the evidence of our faith, and thereby glorifying God the Father.

Our works are tied to earth, flesh and blood, wood, stone, etc. But the light is beyond time and space. How do you measure love, compassion, lovingkindness? It is hard to know if we are a quart low on loving our neighbor. How about 3 meters of compassion?

When Yeshua tells us we are the light of the world, He is telling us that there should be no limit or boundaries to our love and compassion. His love was limitless. It was infinite. I see no reason why we should be different. He said that we could do greater things because we have the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit to guide us and sustain us.

Today as we continue to celebrate the Festival of Lights, I want to encourage each of you to consider the Nature of Light.

It is a constant. Remember God never changes.

It produces heat that leads to a work product. The Lord calls us to work, not sit.

It produces a visible light by which the world can see our mitzvot (our good works) and thereby glorify God in heaven.

Are we fulfilling Yeshua’s expectations of us to be light to the world?