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Unleashing the Power of Yeshua’s Key Words - Tzedaqah

TZEDAQAH is the transliteration of the Hebrew word above; ZAH-DAKH-AH is how it sounds. It is one of the most important words Yeshua taught. Yeshua said:

1. Those who do tzedaqah will enter eternal life.

2. Unless your acts of tzedaqah are greater than the scribes and Pharisees you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

3. You love and serve God by doing tzedaqah.

4. Those who pursue opportunities to do tzedaqah are blessed.

5. People that do tzedaqah will let their light shine before people and glorify God.

6. Doing acts of tzedaqah will lay up treasures in Heaven.

What does tzedaqah mean? For Yeshua and many Jewish teachers of his time period, the answer to that question was found in many places in their Scriptures from the first chapter of Genesis to the last book. The Scriptures provide us with an important key to understanding tzedaqah -- view God’s relationship with mankind as that of “a shepherd to a flock of sheep.” Think about how shepherds must continually pay close attention to the animals in their flocks. What are they looking for?

The good shepherd is theme that was very important to Ezekiel. He describes good and evil shepherds. Below are some of the acts of tzedaqah he describes that the shepherd does:

● feeds them

● strengthens the weak

● heals the sick

● binds the broken

● brings back those driven away

seeks the lost

protects them from predators

builds sheepfolds

guides them

For humans, God’s shepherds must also be aware of these human needs:

love

acceptance

teaching and mentoring

emotional support

affection

happiness

meaning

Yeshua saw the Kingdom of Heaven as being “a Kingdom of God’s shepherds.”  The acts of tzedaqah Yeshua describes in his most famous teaching – the Great Day of Judgment (Matthew 25:34-36) – are listed below:

gave the hungry food

● gave the thirsty drink

took the stranger in

clothed the naked

visited the sick

came to those in prison

Each of the above acts of tzedaqah involved personal interactions between the one doing tzedaqah and the one receiving it. First the shepherd must spot the need.

A lot of people seem to think by “feeding the hungry” he meant “feeding poor people who are starving to death.” Sure, Yeshua wants those people fed, but he didn’t single out that specific group. He said feed the hungry. Have you been hungry lately? If someone happened to notice it and take you to eat -- they did tzedaqah! Feeding the hungry in our world today often provides people with much more than food.

Feeding the hungry in Yeshua’s world wasn’t taking them to local a restaurant or a drive-through window. It meant bringing them to your home, cooking the meal and eating with them. It would be a time for visiting and learning about each other. Besides providing food, the person would experience acceptance, emotional support and being treated with dignity. It also did something else – seeing the image of God revealed through the one doing tzedaqah.

This is what Yeshua taught and envisioned his followers doing. He taught his followers to actively seek out people in need of tzedaqah. He believed that as the news of growing numbers of people doing tzedaqah spread, so would the news of the Kingdom of Heavenand it would go viral. He saw the Kingdom of Heaven spreading from Israel to all nations!

We believe that Yeshua’s message has the power to impact the world today -- even more than it did almost 2,000 years ago. Many people today are isolated and longing for real relationships, as well as ways of giving their lives real meaning.

Tzedaqah was Yeshua’s salvation message. There was no other salvation message. Sadly, after the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE, Yeshua’s message was lost. Viewing Yeshua aka Jesus in his Jewish culture teaching his followers in the Hebrew language is essential to accurately understanding his words and movement.

The next blog will be about another Key Word of Yeshua and it is linked to tzedaqah. That word is SHALOM. Isaiah explains their relationship this way:

The work of tzedaqah is shalom!

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