It's happened before when the realization of who I am, where I am, and what I'm doing seem to hit with an overwhelming velocity.
Me...a very common, not extremely gifted, fairly simple-minded woman, with a few ordinary life-stories (I do have a "BUT GOD," to my benefit)...
Standing...in places I would never have seen myself - not in my WILDEST imagination.
SPEAKING (seriously, I stumble over my words on a GOOD DAY)...to a group of women about the ONE who has been in the business of changing my life since the beginning of time.
I was in JERUSALEM (me)!
(overlooking the city from Mt. Scopus)
(the old city)
(the market in the Muslim Quarter of the old city)
(overlooking Jerusalem from the Prayer Tower at King of Kings Community Church)
Jerusalem (!), the place, where in all actuality, the story of my life as I know it today BEGAN just over 2000 years ago.
...and I, I was the one honored to GET to talk about HIM, the Son of God, Savior, Life-changer...
I had asked the Lord, and sought for weeks, what He would say, in this Age-of-Today, to the women from this particular congregation.
As is not-so-uncommon, I sensed only bits and pieces of the message over the course of those weeks, until just a few days prior to the event. Then, the Spirit of the Lord opened my eyes to a simple quote that was like putting all the pieces of the puzzle together in a flash. So...as far as what I knew I was to speak, there wasn't a question.
HOWEVER, I hadn't done my research on this particular congregation.
It's comprised of a lot of internationals, along with many Messianic followers.
So, what was the problem...after all, these were women who all loved Jesus (from many backgrounds, yes, and diverse in age)?
What I didn't realize is that there is an entirely different "culture," and "language," that surrounds the worship-preferences of Messianic Jews.
So, in the course of my sharing the very message the Lord placed on my heart for these gals, I used some terminology that failed to impart their faith in ways consistent with their Jewish heritage. In fact, the words I used carried negative historical baggage.
I was clueless.
When I finally inquired (a little-too-late) of the pastor's wife why something seemed a bit "off," she (very graciously) apologized for not making me more culturally aware before the speaking session began.
She assumed my cross-cultural background bore understanding I had not acquired.
I assumed I was among people-of-like-mind and could speak my common-to-me spiritual language freely.
As it was, a couple of older women in attendance, insulted, began to walk out.
This sweet pastor's wife, as she put it, "Talked them down from the ledge."
They ended up enjoying the day.
In fact, I had the privilege of washing, massaging, and painting the toe nails, on the feet of one of those women.
So what has been my take away after pondering the last few weeks?
(By the way, click on this link if you want to see an abbreviated dictionary of correct Messianic Terminology.)
John writes his stories-of-life-with-Jesus for a specific audience and for a specific reason (each of the Gospel writers do).
Here's what I noticed right from the get-go.
John begins with The Name.
You see, one of my faux pas was to use the name "Jesus."
A very precious name to me.
Yet not to these gals.
The name Jesus hits raw nerves...Through the centuries, our Jewish friends have suffered persecution in "the name of Jesus." Consequently, using this name brings to mind hatred and anti-semitism. The preferred name is the one Jesus used as He walked on earth: Yeshua (salvation).
While Jesus is the most BEAUTIFUL NAME (link to song here) that crosses my lips, John-the-Beloved doesn't just start right out with this Name-above-all-Names, nor does he call Him Yeshua.
He begins with this name: WORD.
John knew his audience...and he knew this was the name they needed to hear.
At the beginning of this Christmas season, we all need to be reminded of the same.
What I discovered in Jerusalem that day: A NAME MATTERS!!!
(Shakespeare was wrong.)
So, John wants us all to remember that before He was Jesus, or Yeshua, He was the WORD (Logos).
It didn't matter what the angel had told Joseph and Mary to name the babe.
What matters most is that all of us who read John's stories (from the day his hand penned them to today) would KNOW THIS TRUTH:
The WORD (who was with God in the beginning and was God) wrapped Himself in flesh to become the DIVINE EXPRESSION of THE I AM!
That's what matters more than the name Jesus, or Yeshua...
...and, that's when it resonated with me.
We can only know Jesus/Yeshua (Salvation) when we truly believe and receive He was first, and is always, the WORD-Made-Flesh.
This gives us the right to be children of the God-Most-High (cf. John 1:12).
So, this Christmas season may we filter every thought about the Christ-child through this one truth:
That babe born in the manger was born-to-be GOD'S DIVINE EXPRESSION, so you and I could know Him by whatever Name matters most to us.
Let's Remember that
His Name Matters.
He was the WORD.
For, this is the WHY of a
...that which is used
aroused in the mind and heart;
that which, when mentioned,
brings to mind