First published in 1896, Charles M. Sheldon wrote a book that a century later would become the foundation of a cultural movement. “What Would Jesus Do,” (aka: WWJD) became the anthem of a generation, sparking important dialogue as to the character of Christ and our human ability (or inability) to walk in His footsteps.
With that in mind, I often wonder what it would be like to take that premise one step further? Instead of asking myself, “What would Jesus DO?” what if I had the miraculous opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with Jesus? What would I ask Him?
In other words, “What would Jesus SAY?”
Seeking the Lord
It was the late 90s and I was in the middle of a Daniel fast (no rich or delectable foods) I was preparing a lesson for a teaching on the Words of Jesus. I had my Ryrie red-letter edition Bible and my Strong’s Concordance on the table. Ready to magnify His Word to my students. It was though a marvelous and extra-ordinary conversation ensued- one that continues even to this day.
In a Heavenly vision, I seemed to be transported to another time and another place. It wasn’t my hometown USA. It was a bit unfamiliar, but I began to recognize it none the less. I saw myself surrounded by high mountain desserts, scruffy trees and date palms, dusty roads, and the sounds of animals- sheep and goats. The language was foreign, the people were brown, dressed in long robes, head scarves and tunics. Long strings hung from the corners of the men’s garments; many women were veiled. There were people washing their feet, children playing in the streets, houses built of stone with people lounging on the roofs covered under what look like blankets or fabric tarps. There were serious holy men, priests looking over the balconies of a very majestic Temple. There was a large pool of water and many men and women coming out the pool completely wet, receiving a token and diligently walking up a long staircase with their tiny lambs to the altar above. In my mind’s eye I saw a man walking toward me with a large following of people behind him. As I gazed up to look in His eyes, he removed his headscarf, smiled at me and said:
“Shalom, My Name is Yeshua.”
Tears filled my eyes! Yeshua!
That very day I was introduced to my Savior in His own 1st Century context. It was though the 21st century became a distant past for me. I wanted to know Him in His world. His time. His language. Through Hebrew eyes. Something in me shifted!
At the time I didn’t know much Hebrew but after that day I purposed to learn it. I even took an Aramaic course as well as ancient and modern Hebrew. I enrolled into the Institute for Hebraic Christian Studies under the teachings of the Hebraic scholar, Dr. Richard Booker. I later finished my graduate classes at the Center for the Study of Biblical Research under the principal Scholar and the late Dr. William Bean.
I began the see the Jesus I thought I knew was so much more! I began to fall in love with His Land. The Land that He had placed His Name upon. His Holy City, the City that He will soon return to and set up His throne and government. I began to see the beauty of the Judean Hills and the peaceful tranquility of the Galilee region. My husband and I soon booked a flight to Israel to walk the streets and pathways of our Yeshua. We go at least once a year now if not twice taking others on tours of this astounding place of promise.
When I read His Words now, I hear them differently. I see every scenario through the lens of His ancient time. I hear His teachings expounding on age-long traditions of His people. I see His listeners hanging His Words on familiar Rabbinic stories of that time. His Words are colored with hues of ancient Middle Eastern culture and style that has turned my heart toward His covenant Fathers that are now mine as well. I have officially received my adoption. I want to learn of His ways, the ways of His family and to be submerged into His world. My heart wondrously turned with affection and longing toward my new family. The Patriarchs of old as well as the Jewish brothers and sisters of today – His modern family. The good and friendly ones who love Him, my other adopted brothers and sisters and the even the family members who have only heard of him but do not know him. They are now my family and I look forward to the latter day promise of Zechariah 12:9-10.
“When that day comes, I will seek to destroy all nations attacking Yerushalayim;
10 and I will pour out on the house of David and on those living in Yerushalayim
a spirit of grace and prayer; and they will look to me, whom they pierced.” They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son; they will be in bitterness on his behalf like the bitterness for a firstborn son.
I all too well remember the day I mourned for Yeshua, praying with a contrite heart and yielding to the Spirit of Grace He sent to me.
I trust in this promise of Zechariah to the House of David, that He will also pour out His Spirit upon His own kinsman. This Spirit of Grace and Supplication is also known as the Spirit of Elijah and we all are saved by this same trust. It is God that moves upon our hearts as He did with Abraham.
This Chaldean man chose to believed God and take a step to the Land that God would promise to him and the Messiah’s own family. A family that would become a strong nation by the power of God’s Right Arm. A nation that would be stewards of the Holy Land until He returns to dwell in it once again.
This awesome faith that God accounted to Abraham as righteousness is the faith that moves God to action. My desire to know this mountain moving faith has turned my heart toward the example of our father, Abraham. How can I abandon my own ways like he did? How can I walk in a place that is unfamiliar to me? I’m reminded of some ancient wisdom of the prophet Jeremiah.
Thus says Adonai: “Stand in the roads and look. Ask for the ancient paths—
where the good way is—and walk in it. Then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We won’t walk in it.’ (TLV)Jeremiah 6:16
Israel’s reluctance to obey God cost them greatly. He, in fact, chose only one tribe (Judah and those connected to Judah in the Southern Kingdom) to be preserved for the sake of the Seed of the Messiah and King and for the sake of Jerusalem that He will reign from. (1Kings 11) All other tribes were exiled and simply lost and assimilated into the nations.
Many like myself are realizing that we must look back to our Fathers of the Faith for in them lie the true example of trust and belief.
And in turning our hearts to this faith like Abraham’s we are seeing the prophecy of Malachi come to pass:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the LORD. 6 And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Malachi 4:5-6
So, the thought came to my mind; why do I need to see Yeshua in His original context? Has our modern version of Him become so altered from that of the 1st century that we are missing something?
Inspired by the vision of Yeshua, I had a lot of questions for the Lord. I wanted to just sit down and have an interview with Him. And then it was as if I heard Him say; What do you want to know my child? I immediately pictured Him sitting under a tree outside the dusty city of Jerusalem and I with the wonder of a child I began to speak:
Shalom Yeshua. Ani Victoria. (I am Victoria)
Can I ask you a few questions on behalf of my friends from the nations and myself – so we can get to know you better?
Yes, I want them to know me – the One that was sent to all of you. (John 17:3)
What is your Name?
I AM Yeshua (God delivers or saves). I’m known by many names to man Yehoshuah, Jesus, Yesous, Isus, Yesu, Jesu, Isa to name a few. I’m also known as Nissi (Victory), Rophe (Shepherd), Yireh (Healer). These Names are quantified by what I do.
I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Many referred to me through the men to whom I have revealed myself.
And who do You say that You are?
I AM before all things were created. I was there. I am God and now I contain my glory in the mishkan of the Son of Man as I have become flesh and have dwelt among you in time and this I will do again.
Then Yeshua, You are the MOST HOLY GOD?
Only the Holy Spirit has revealed this to you concerning Me
And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD (Yud Hay Vav Hay) Shall be saved. Joel 2:32
My servant Paul quoted this very scripture to the religious leaders of his time.
“Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12
So You, Yeshua and the Yud, hay, Vav, Hay (or Yahaveh- the Holiest Name of God) are One and the same?
If you can believe this.
And the body you dwell in – that you call a Mishchan (a container of your glory) – Where was the birthplace of your mishchan?
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. 2 Therefore He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth. Then the remnant of His brothers will return to Bnei-Yisrael. Micah 5:1-2
Was there a specific place in Bethlehem?
“And you, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, even the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.” – Micah 4:8
What is the tower of the flock?
In Hebrew it is Migdal Eder and it is the place where the priestly trained shepherds watched over and cared for the royal sheep. The ones that were without blemish and used for Temple Sacrifice.
These sheep were born in lower floor of the Tower, inspected and wrapped in swaddling strips of linen, laid in a hewn stone manger or trough until they were calm. Then they were released with the other yearlings to pasture in the warmer seasons. The location of the tower of the Flock is in the Shepherd’s Field near the gravesite of Rachel. It is located just a few miles from Jerusalem, a Sabbath’s walk to the Temple.
What language did you speak?
I was known to speak several languages. The Lengua Franca at the time was Greek. Aramaic was the common language among the Hebrews. But in the context of most Scripture and the readings in the Temple I communicated in the ancient Holy language of Hebrew.
Why do You teach in parables?
It was common at the time to teach spiritual principles in word pictures or metaphors that people could relate to. The Hebrew mind thinks differently than the Greek or Roman mind like yours. We think in block fashion not so much linearly like you do. We connect many things together in principle and concepts. The Hebrew language is rich, colorful, and multi-dimensional with many idiomatic phrases through out every book of the bible. For instance, someone with a “good eye” meant they were a generous person, seeing needs of others and filling those needs generously.
The interview went on and on and continues from time to time. I love “interviewing” the Lord in this way. The questions, I believe are inspired by His Spirit so that I will call on Him to inquire of His Wisdom and seek His good pleasure…. And so that He can answer me. His desire is to reveal the deep things of the Spirit. He truly wants you to know Him.
Wise men still seek Him!