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Yeshua in Context » Applying the Gospels, Community in Yeshua, Discipleship - Formation, Teaching of Yeshua » Applying Yeshua Communally, Part 1

Applying Yeshua Communally, Part 1

This series is based on an attempt to apply some major themes in Yeshua’s teaching and example in our context. It combines concepts from Yeshua’s context with practical and theoretical ideas about what it means to be a person, to be in community, to have faith, to follow Yeshua together with others, and so on. I make no claim to perfection, but I do try to source my principles in Yeshua’s context and to be transparent.

STARTING POINT: To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, Mark 4:11.

How should this inform our model of Yeshua-community, of following Yeshua, and of being disciples?

RATIONALE: Mark 4:11 comes early in Yeshua’s instruction of his disciples. It concerns a major issue in his life and teaching and not a tangential point. Yeshua’s teaching was deliberately ambiguous, subject to multiple interpretations and ways of seeing what he had to say. The inner circle could gain greater understanding of specific meanings by close contact and frequent repetition and variation in Yeshua’s sayings and actions. Parables and difficult sayings characterized Yeshua’s teaching as well as his actions. His style was not to give simple answers but to further mystify inquirers and to challenge beyond common thinking.

PRINCIPLE: There are insiders and outsiders. Insiders remain close to Yeshua, hearing his words and seeing his actions. Insiders are in a group following together. Insiders are transformed by Yeshua’s vision and instruction.

APPLICATION #1: To be a congregation of Yeshua is to study his words, to live his words, and to frequently hear and be challenged by his words in an ongoing manner and to do so communally.

APPLICATION #2: The congregation of Yeshua should look to Yeshua’s words and actions as a model for its view of life, the world, people, God, and so on, in order to be changed and to do as Yeshua instructs.

APPLICATION #3: Those outside of Yeshua community should be viewed as needing “the secret of the kingdom of God” in order to become insiders. Note: Yeshua sent his disciples proclaiming and teaching the kingdom so that it is evident they were to bring outsiders inside.

INSIDERS (Summary): View life, God, and the world as Yeshua reveals them. A good summary is: happiness is defined by God and community working toward a vision of God’s rule on the earth. Note: This summary does not come out of the blue, but relies heavily on the Sermon on the Mount and other teachings.

OUTSIDERS (Summary): Happiness is defined by power and possessions which may or may not be combined with worship of God. Note: Outsiders included the religious and non-religious, though Yeshua mostly opposed the religious who were fixed and not open to God’s revelation. A study of outsiders in the gospels could confirm of modify this summary.

IMPLICATIONS: Yeshua’s teaching affects how we think about religion (church, synagogue, various expressions in society, politics, etc.). Congregations modeled on Yeshua’s call to group discipleship (not individual discipleship) should reflect his priorities. Religious groups that emphasize attaining a blissful afterlife do not meet the criteria of insiders. Religious groups that do not improve the lives of people (those in the community and also those outside) are not living up to Yeshua’s call. It remains to be specified what some of the specifics are about how to bring God’s Rule into the here and now, as Yeshua teaches (coming in Part 2).

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Filed under: Applying the Gospels, Community in Yeshua, Discipleship - Formation, Teaching of Yeshua

7 Responses to "Applying Yeshua Communally, Part 1"

  1. Eileen says:

    Yeshua, Jesus/. We have been given man’s written interpretations of Gods directives. We have but to live as he has directed. But to enter into everlasting is by the grace of God.

  2. yeshuain says:


    Just trying to understand what you mean. You say we have been given man’s written interpretations. I assume that by this you mean the Bible is man’s interpretation of God’s directives? Did I get that right?

    Then you say, “We have but to live as he directed.”

    What I don’t understand is how we can live “as he directed” if the Bible is only “man’s written interpretation.” Not criticizing your comment, just trying to see what you mean.

    Derek Leman

  3. James says:

    I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but sometimes I think you teach the same way as the Master, “not to give simple answers but to further mystify inquirers and to challenge beyond common thinking”, or is this your subtle way of saying I need to buy your book to interpret your blogs? ;-)

    Dovetailing off recent discussions on the Bilateral Ecclesiology topic in the Messianic blogosphere, your basic explanation of “Yeshua-community models” seems pretty generic. It sounds more like you’re talking about a core set of values such as feeding the hungry, clothing the “naked”, visiting the sick, and spreading the Good News of the Gospel. These behaviors can be performed as acts of community by either Jews or Non-Jews in “the movement” or in larger Judaism (apart from spreading the Gospel) and Christianity.

    1. yeshuain says:


      Yes, on this blog I don’t address matters of Jewish-gentile interaction in Messianic synagogues. I save that topic for Messianic Jewish Musings. Here I am talking about what Yeshua’s teaching says to congregations-churches-synagogues.

      And, yes, you need to buy my book so you can understand my blogs :-) . . . What’s wrong with that?

      Derek Leman

  4. Jim says:

    I look forward to reading more of these postings.

  5. James says:

    My bad. I didn’t understand the distinction between the two blogs.

    I’ll probably end up buying Yeshua in Context but I warn you, I’ll end up reviewing it. That said, my personal library may be undergoing an extensive overhaul in about 5 or 6 months, so I may end up gifting someone with your book, probably the local library, since they have zip Messianic books.

  6. yeshuain says:


    I’m never leery of a review on the internet of one of my books. Who knows? You might like it.

    And it would warm my heart to know if it ends up in the public library.

    Derek Leman

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