In which I am reminded of a fact Christians too often miss…

by Craig on November 18, 2010

My ongoing adventure in the Book of James continues…

James 1:1 “James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, greetings.

The factoids:

  • Couldn’t be plainer, it’s a letter to Jewish Christians.
  • It’s called “a Diaspora letter”.  Jewish leaders sent these out to the Jews scattered throughout the Roman Empire. James the Just followed suit.

The Thing:

I don’t have much to add. It’s just a greeting. But there is this.

When I was a new Christian I saw a Chuck Norris movie…

I know

…stick with me…

There was one scene that would stay in my head a long time. It’s still there 24 years later. It was 1986 and I was sitting in a theater watching a terrorist takeover of a Boeing 707. It was vivid, like being there inside the plane.

At this point in the film the terrorists have already pulled out weapons and have full control. They then order the German Flight Attendant to select all of the Passports with Jewish names. A roll call begins:

There are two videos for this movie because of the way the videos were cut. In the first one it’s a two minute watch from the 6 minute mark to the end. You could watch the whole thing – there is some really interesting stuff. But it’s 8 minutes long, there’s some violence, and one bad word, and some Oscar level Chuck Norris acting, as his team is assembled to save the day. So you could start from the beginning – or scoot to the 6 minute mark. Your call.

By the way, the first man to go forward had a tattoo. It identified him as a Concentration Camp survivor. In 1986 there were more of them among us than there are now.

In this second one there are 3 more minutes to watch – from the beginning until the blue curtain is closed. It’s just after the 3 minute mark. You will know when the point is made…I promise. Just go till the blue curtain is closed – then just pause the video. There’s nothing good to see after that – and if you are anything like me – you’ll need an emotional break there anyway.

It stunned me when I first saw it – it still floors me now.

The counterpoint between the one Christian man who want’s nothing to do with the label  – and the other one demanding the label is sharp.

If I am Christian, I am Jew.

This Book of James is a letter to Jewish Christians scattered everywhere – among the Jews that were strewn about the Roman Empire.

I am a member of the 12 tribes in the dispersion. I am a Jew. I am a member of a family line that goes back thousands of years. No genealogy search needed – it’s all in the thick book with the thin pages.

Do you have anything to share about this? I really need to hear other views. Are you a Jew too? Does it change anything to think this way? If you know anyone who might want to have this reminder please tell them where they can visit me. Did that video get to you the way it got to me? Did you notice a detail I  missed? How does this speak to you?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa November 18, 2010 at 11:07 am

This video brought me to tears. The actions of the priest made me think of Jesus dying in our place. The Bible makes it clear that through Christ we (the gentiles) have been grafted in. The God of Abraham is our God. The promises of Abraham are ours as well. We have been restored to God’s family as co-heirs with Christ–our inheritance is so much more that we can think or imagine, and supersedes all earthly blessings. I believe that when we are born of the Spirit our nationality is left behind–we become citizens of a higher government–that of the kingdom, one nation of many nations. But I still look at the Jewish people as brothers and sisters, and I love them–just as I do with other nations. We are all one in Christ.

I was deep in prayer once and heard someone whistle out loud (or so it seemed–it made me jump out of my chair), and I saw a vision of tribes of people being called out by name (in a language I couldn’t understand) and organized into groups by a lion. I knew this was the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and He was calling out the diaspora of His people. I went to the Scriptures and found all the places where God said He was scattering His people like seed, but there would come the day when He would gather them to Him–a remnant. I believe we are in that day. I think about the 10 lost tribes who were scattered among the pagans, and I think there is a possibility that we all might have Jewish blood in some way. But in Christ we can know for sure we belong to God as His children, as His Spirit cries out Abba, Father in us.

Blessings!

Reply

Craig November 18, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Melissa,

Thank you so much. That is a powerful comment. Deep. You have it so right and explained it so well. That’s a powerful theological grasp you have there. ANd you sent me to Scripiture for a verse that hit me a whole new way. Iron sharpens iron :)

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise.” (GAL 3:28) In the losing of the “label” we become a true Jew – a child of the promise of faith – through faith. That has a new ring to it now because of you – Thank You.

And that video still brings me to tears too. Thanks for making me feel like I’m not the only one. And thank you for reading me.

God Bless

Reply

Anonymuss November 18, 2010 at 11:43 pm

What a profoundly silencing action…the priest in the movie!!!

Craig, I never ‘saw’ Gal. 3:29!!!! There is something really really good about that-like reading a long lost will from a great uncle. It makes me want to read the bible all over again from the perspective of being a grafted-and therefore fully entitled-heir! I like that there is no fine print that says women inherit less.

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Craig November 19, 2010 at 12:09 am

I see you are still anonymuss :)

That’s fine, today I wanted to be that too. Today I wish I was – but I wasn’t.

I am blessed that you came back. Really pleased to see you here. Thank you.

The fact that the verse makes you smile – MAKES ME SMILE.

And if we are Christian, if we accept the sacrifice – then become a living sacrifice (imperfect but then there’s Grace) then we are fully entitled heirs. fully entitled. You as much as – and maybe even more so than me. (but probably EXACTLY the same) :)

Thank you for this comment – you made me smile – and I really needed a smile.

And that’s really well put by the way, “a profoundly silencing action” – wish I had said it as well. :)

Reply

Linda Kruschke November 18, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Craig, I rarely watch videos on blogs because I am either at work during my lunch (and it is soooo quiet in my office suite that I don’t want to bother others), or I am at home and the TV or music is playing. But I made an exception with this one and I’m glad I did. Who knew such a profound concept could be hidden in the middle of a Chuck Norris movie! Thanks for sharing this. Peace, Linda

Reply

Craig November 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm

I know Linda. The rest of it was a shootemup movie but this has stayed with me for a quarter of a century – probably about as long as you’ve been alive. Thank you for leaving this comment. It was a blessing.

Reply

Debbie November 18, 2010 at 7:23 pm

I love to find parts like that in movies or books that maybe weren’t meant to carry the impact that they do. I’m going to need to think about this for awhile. And that is a good thing! For some reason, He has me sensitive to Israel and Jewish people. I “know” a Jewish believer, and I’m going to run this by her and see what she thinks. Might be an interesting perspective. :) Thanks for making us think today!

Reply

Craig November 19, 2010 at 12:13 am

Deb,

My first visit to your site there was some stuff about that sensitivity you have to Israel. I remember it well. Can’t wait to hear about your conversation with your friend.

Gos Bless

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