I have long believed that when Y’shua is quoted as saying, “I Am” he was actually saying “The I Am” an easy misinterpretation, as the jot that indicates the word “the” is small, and easily missed. However, that changes much of the gist of what he was saying. Looking at one of his best remembered teachings, let’s look at what that little jot would do.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
If you read that as, “The I Am is the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in the vine and the vine remains in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from the vine, you can do nothing. If you do not remain in the Vine, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in the vine, and the Vine’s teachings remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be disciples of the I Am.”
Yes, that took a fair amount of rewording, but makes more sense in a world where to claim to be God would get you stoned. There are other factors that have made me wonder if this was the gist of so many of Y’shua’s teachings. The I Am is the very now, very here presence of God Very God, in Jewish teachings. This makes the “I Am” a very powerful, very present force in the life of the individual. We must remember that Y’shua was not talking to Gentiles like most of us, he was talking to the faithful of the Nation of Israel. The thrust of his ministry was, from the very outset, to make the individual aware of the very real presence of God the Father in their lives.
It is not my belief that he was teaching his followers to disobey the laws of Moses, for he said to them that not one jot or tittle would pass away from the law until all had been fulfilled. I actually believe that he was teaching that the law was written for humans to learn to get along with one another, and show compassion at every turn, rather than taking a legalistic approach to their faith. I believe he also taught that humans were not created to fulfill the law, but to live wonderful, dynamic lives within the framework of a body of law brought forth to guide and direct them in their day to day living. If that is the case, it may be incumbent upon those of us who were not born Jewish to abide by the Noachide laws.
This is a set of laws within the entire body of Jewish law that guides us in living in a fashion that honors God in all of creation. These are also easily fulfilled if we live by Y’shua’s Law of Love. It may be that the mitzvot are all easily obeyed once we live by the Law of Love. I realize this makes me one of those who feels that the Jewish roots of the Christian faith are more important than have been observed in past history, and therefore at odds with much of the current thinking on Y’shua’s teaching, but one of the things I have found in my exploration of Jewish faith, is that many of Y’shua’s comments and stories make sense only from this vantage point.
Separating him from his Jewish roots, and setting him on top of the monument Paul used in Athens, has so paganized the church and it’s teachings as to make Paul’s letters more important than all that is recorded of Y’shua’s words. It is this that has distressed me in my journey toward finding a way to live with the voices. There are too many places in the New Testament where Paul and those who wrote letters in his name prove their humanness. Paul did not understand the lack of choice faced by most homosexuals, society lacked the science to explain it, which is why I believe Y’shua left that aspect of life alone. Paul could not admit openly that he was wrong in listening to rumors regarding the church at Corinth. A letter attributed to Paul, but probably written by another places women once again in the position where their usefulness is only as mules to carry the unborn. “GACK!” ( BTW, it’s an honor to be a baby carrier myself, glad for the job, just not my only point of usefulness) Y’shua’s treatment of women was much more compassionate than that!
The scholars cannot agree as to the true roots of most faiths, as much has been lost in the generations since the original teachers.It is basically for this reason that I consider all who practice compassion, what amounts to obedience to the Law of Love, as my brothers and sisters in this walk of life, no matter their perspective. I realize this leaves room for those who follow a humanist perspective, I am not sure it matters. I am sure it matters very much that we live compassionately, beyond that, it may be that we must let God sort it out.