Morning Psalm 18:1-20; Evening Psalm 18:21-50
Isaiah 2:12-22; 1 Thess. 3:1-13; Luke 20:27-40
I don’t recall when the concept of the Messiah first entered into my consciousness, but once it did, I couldn’t shake it. The idea that a Jewish hero would be coming to reign and I would be part of the “in crowd” had a lot of appeal. Centuries of history that included one group after another persecuting the Jews would be wiped away and we would be on top. Heady stuff for a child; especially for a Jewish child whose mother was ill and unable to take care of herself or her family.
Lots of questions came with waiting for the Messiah. How would I know that He had arrived? How would the kingdom be established? Would I be in charge of something special? Would my mother be healed? Would the world be set straight and would happiness become the watchword for me? So many questions- no answers. So I waited and hoped that the answers would include the word, “Soon.”
Wearing a dark suit and walking along a major California boulevard a couple of miles every Saturday felt strange and very exposed. The Synagogue was a refuge for a few hours, going through the service that was basically the same one that had been used for centuries. There was a sense of comfort being with others who I thought had the same hope for the coming Messiah. Walking home, tie undone in the noontime heat felt heavy. Come Messiah. Come.
As I got older, my identity as a Jew was reinforced by the Rabbi’s belief that I would become a Rabbi or a Cantor – the worship leader. We kept a kosher home even as my mother’s illness worsened. I was the only target for a small group of middle school “Nazis” because I was the only one that they knew who was really Jewish. Being Jewish became increasingly important to me as a source for my identity, but I was able to see that for many of my fellow Jews, a coming Messiah was not something in which to believe. Yet I couldn’t give it up. Still I waited.
My freshman year of college I was introduced to some Old Testament passages with which I was not familiar. Isaiah 53 hit home the hardest. My years of waiting for the Reigning King had not come to end, but I had discovered the Suffering Servant. Yeshua Ha’Mashiach–Jesus the Messiah had entered my world and the years of waiting no longer mattered. My journey as a Jew was complete.