We Are Messianic Disciples

And Yeshua came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20

Matthew 28:18-20 tells us what a faithful disciple of Messiah Yeshua is: someone who makes more disciples of Messiah. Someone who teaches others to do all that Messiah commanded, immersing them into Messiah Yeshua, as His disciples. We recognize that as faithful Jews, Yeshua and His first disciples were blameless in obedience to all of Scripture – even that which later variations of Christianity rejected as the “Old Testament.”

With regard to historical Christianity’s practical abandonment of three fourths of the Bible, we “Messianics” might immediately say that we are not therefore disciples of Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics, or any other Christian sect.

However, there is another concern with whom some “Messianics” align themselves. We are not disciples of Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Chasidic, Talmudic, or Mishnaic Judaism either.

We are disciples of Yeshua.

We recognize from Matthew 16:19 that Messiah’s first disciples are our Sages. We are not disciples of Hillel, Shammai, Akiva, Meir, Judah the Prince, RASHI, RAMBAN, RAMBAM, the Ba’al Shem Tov, Nachman of Breslov, or Schneur Zalman of Liadi.

We are not Baptists, Catholics, or Lutherans. Nor are we Breslovers, or Lubavitchers.

We are disciples of Yeshua.

While we may admire and even study men and women from various backgrounds, and attempt to emulate them, we are not their disciples.

We are disciples of Yeshua.

How do we know that Yeshua is the Messiah? How do we know in Whom we continue to place our faith? It is only through the full revelation of Scripture. Yes, we share great affinity and high regard for the Sages of Judaism. We also share affinity and high regard for some of the Sages of Historical Christianity.

And yet, only one group of men can tell us what it means to be disciples of Yeshua: His first disciples. The Apostolic Scriptures [the New Testament], as a part of the whole of Scripture, are what defines who we are, what we believe, and what we do.

While various extra-biblical texts can provide us with the context sometimes necessary to best understand the Apostolic Scriptures; they do not even distantly approach their clarity and authority.

Beloved, we do not define ourselves as opposed to other forms of Judaism. However, we must understand that we do have two very important differences:

RAMBAM cannot explain Messiah better than the Apostolic Scriptures. Nor can RASHI or the Ba’al Shem Tov.
Some “Messianics” may think that all they need is the Torah. They have the same error as those who think that all they need is the New Testament. We need the entire Bible: from Genesis to Revelation.

And while some might think that a foray into the rules of the Shulchan Aruch will have them soon living lives of ultimate piety, our Master, the living King of Righteousness told His disciples:

For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:20

If your standard for righteousness is the Shulchan Aruch or another tradition, your aim is woefully off mark.

Invariably, those who begin to excise parts of Scripture will turn somewhere else for information. Historically, Christianity turned to the works of Plato and other philosophers to fill in what they saw as gaps in the “philosophy” of the Old Testament. Judaism added a plethora of traditional texts, which became as binding as Scripture. Both sides are incorrect. We have been given a complete revelation on how we are to live as disciples of Messiah Yeshua; nothing from the Shulchan Aruch or Augustine can add to it.

Are you a disciple of Yeshua? Do you accept His words as binding and authoritative in your life? Are you making disciples for Him, or for the local church or local synagogue? Are you teaching others to follow Him with boldness and kindness, or are you making eventual disciples for the local Orthodox synagogue or Chabad house?

Learn and study well, but do not be deceived. We have one Master to follow. He is alive and active in our lives. So when He is less important to us than the latest book from David Jeremiah, or the latest installment from Shalom Arush, then you can know this: you have abandoned your first love.

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Revelation 2:4-6

We need to remember and act like we are disciples of Yeshua.