“And Yeshua went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am’?” - Mark 8:27
As the months have passed, 2020 has brought to all of us challenges as well as twists and turns which no one anticipated or even, ahead of time conceived were ever possible. Of these events, none stand out with greater impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on culture, our economy and our perceptions of reality. In some cases, this deadly virus has shaped how government, travel, the job market and even in some cases how some approach faith and that of human responsibility.
During the early months of the year, prognosticators warned that soon many if not all of us would know someone who have contracted the disease, and at the time we all doubted - with only to become true! Yet with truthful reporting, there has also been lies and deception mingled in by the Adversary to produce fear, anxiety and doubt in even the most mature believer. Even with the spread of the disease, other factors have arisen to exploit and play upon these fears and anxieties, causing many believers and non-believers alike to question God’s faithfulness and strip away from us a sense of security and in wondering what the future might hold? During the late-spring and summer months we saw forced shut downs and when we thought things could not get any worse, riots and unlawful acts of violence spread the nation and world - and in some cases, even went completely unchecked!
When reading our nations and the worlds headlines, we are nevertheless reminded that there is nothing new under the sun and we have all seen this before. In this, our age of COVID and unrest is easily reminiscent of the first-century, as Rome ruled unlawfully in Jerusalem and that of ancient-Israel. For many, this was a time of great fear, uncertainly and injustice and where life was cheap and very little value. Yet, in the perfect moment of God’s impeccable and divine timing he sent Yeshua our Messiah to live and die and rise again. He came to us declaring the Good News and asking us as he did his talmidim, “Who do you say that I am?”
In the “Tale of Two Cities” we are initially told that “It was the best of time, it was the worst of times,” and with COVID-19, it is as if Dickens is speaking again where I believe that Adonai has been speaking clearly and loudly about our calling as the Body of Messiah during this terrible pandemic in reminding that despite the anxieties, fears and uncertainties of the world - that this could in fact be our finest hour!
Friends, it is always in times of deepest destress and greatest worries that the Lord speaks with that still small voice and reveals both words of comfort, revelation and assures that we are never alone. This reminds us of Hebrews 1:3 in stating,
“The Son is the radiance of the Sh’khinah, the very expression of God’s essence, upholding all that exists by his powerful word …,”
In this, Yeshua our Messiah is the very presence of Almighty God - and his glory dwells in us as we go in his name declaring Restoration in Yeshua’s name to our hurting and broken city and unto the entire world!
Yes, this year has brought changes and uncertainties like no other in recent years - but the calling of God upon us is now ever greater than ever before and with every step we are called to go in God’s love, proclaiming freedom and deliverance and with our lives - in going we are asking the world, “Who do you say that Yeshua is?”
Rabbi Mark Rantz
Shabbat ~ November 21. 2020, 5th of Kislev - 5781
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