Obligation and Opportunity

For most of our nation the hoopla of easter is over, as children are forgetting about hunting eggs, and all the candy is gone. For those of us who observe and celebrate Pesach/Passover, we are still experiencing and embracing the impact of what it means to be delivered and set out on a journey into the unknown. We are still observing Chag haMatzot, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, munching on the plain, unsalted cracker bread of Matza. We’ve smeared it with butter, honey, peanut butter, cheese, pizza sauce, and chicken salad to improve the experience, but it remains that our bread these days is simple, basic, but enduring.

Beyond the matza, we who acknowledge Y’shuah haNetzari/of Nazereth as our Messiah yet have the fresh image in our minds of what He has accomplished for us. The more common thoughts are of Y’shuah revealing the purpose of the Pesach Lamb. As He shed His blood and gave His life in behalf of Yisrael, He showed the effective role of the Pesach offering, protecting their first-born priesthood, and signaling the eve of their deliverance. Y’shuah has indeed raised us from our fallenness and restored our priestly standing before the Throne of YHWH. He has indeed given Himself to redeem a people from apathy and slavery to the world’s system of living. And the tomb, wherever it might actually be, is empty of His body. He has been raised up from the grip of death, becoming the first fruits of the resurrection. He now lives to give us hope of life beyond the physical realm’s limitations, and to give us hope of breaking the authority of our own fleshly inclinations. We now can choose to live in the power of His resurrection, being raised up to a higher purpose than our choices or desires might elect.

A higher purpose. A greater motivation. An elevated desire for something of exceeding merit or worth. Consider the image of Y’shuah, alone, praying with almost agonizing intensity. His face is sweating, His words selected and uttered through almost clenched teeth. Our Messiah is wrestling and struggling over a deeper issue than fear of death or the threat of betrayal. He has already acknowledged to His student followers that He is to go to Jerusalem and “…to suffer much from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and to be raised again the third day.” [Mattithyahu 16:21] I believe His travail in prayer was over His motivation for dying.

Y’shuah was born in accordance with the Prophet’s words; in Netzaret, to an Almah/yes I believe a virgin maiden, during the Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot, of the lineage of David. He acknowledged that Moshe and the Prophets spoke of Him, being the Prophet like Moshe, the Branch of David, and Shepherd that Jeremiah promised. He cried out for His people to make teshuvah/to repent and return to the teachings of Moshe and walk in heartfelt righteousness. He was affirmed on multiple occasions by Yah’s Voice from the Heavens as Ben Elohim. This was His moment. But was this His obligation or His opportunity?

Did Y’shuah of Netzaret die on the tree for us out of obligation as the Son of Elohim, because this was His purpose and calling, because it was the Father’s will for Him? Or did He appeal to something higher, more intentioned, and elevated? Could it not be that Y’shuah focused His heart to reach for a goal greater than following through with His obligation as the Lamb Who takes away the sin of the world, slain from the world’s foundations, to seize His opportunity instead? To be obligated and accomplish what is expected is worthy of merit and honor. It is doing one’s duty; one’s whole duty, even unto death. For such ones we give medals and parades, but I believe Y’shuah sought something higher.

To seize an opportunity is to recognize a moment that will not come again, to lay hold of something because of the worth it offers. Knowing Who He was and realizing the immensity of our need, drove Him to look beyond calling to lay hold of our deliverance. He chose to give Himself. There was no other way, even though He asked if it were possible. So He seized this moment, this opportunity to grant our release from sin and fallenness. The time was NOW if this was to be done. He was the One Who could accomplish our need. More than duty, this was compassion for,  yearning for, and defending a people who desperately needed Him. For a reason higher than duty, He loved us and chose the tree.

We can follow Y’shuah’s example. We may possess gifts and callings that we feel obligate us to fill certain roles. We lead worship because we play instruments and sing. We lead congregations because we speak well, organize effectively or because we know the most information. We give money and support because we earn a good living. We love our spouses because we’re married to them or our children because we’re their parents. We care for our families when hurt and needy because others can’t or are not available. We feel obligated and we do our duty. But through a different perspective, we can realize the Father has given us an opportunity to be His Hands, His Voice, His Passion and Praise, His compassionate leadership. We can love our spouses and children because it’s our opportunity to give them our hearts and the love of Yah for them through us. We can choose to lead because we want to seize our moment to grow people to a place beyond where they are now. Do what your hand finds to do by seizing your opportunity, not because somebody has to do it and no one else can or will. This is Y’shuah’s heart; looking beyond expectation to find elevation. I hope you find it my friend. I hope I do too.

Barry