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Jesus or Paul Part 4 (Only What People Do Counts)

Doing acts of tzedaqah are so much greater than just giving food, drink, clothes, etc. They were all done by one person for another person.

● Each act was a face-to-face experiencea personal expression of one’s concern for the shalom of the other. The giver “cared for” the receiver and the receiver felt “cared about” by the giver. The feelings of “being cared about” and “being able to care for someone else” are very valuable and powerful experiences.

● Each act was an act of acceptance – the giver “showed his or her acceptance of the receiver” and the receiver “felt the feeling of belonging.”

● Each act was an act of one community member for another community memberit was a demonstration of the values of their community. The receiver knew he or she was entitled to receive what was given and the giver knew it was his or her responsibility to give. The receiver knew he or she was not obligated to the giver in any way, but the receiver knew he or she was obligated to give what another person needed when “the shalom of the community was broken.”   

● Each act was actually two acts of love. The first was “the giver loving his or her neighbor.” The second was “the giver loving God by loving his or her neighbor. 

● Each act strengthened relationships -- the relationship of the giver and the receiver, their relationships to the community and their relationships to God.

Are you beginning to understand the chain of blessings and the community power unleashed when acts of tzedaqah are done? This was the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus proclaimed was right there in their midst. People saw its presence through their own eyes as the numbers of acts of tzedaqah increased all around them. So, did that also mean that the end of days and the Great Day of Judgment would soon follow?

That’s where something else he revealed in the Matthew 25 message became very important:

Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me . . . . And the cursed will go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous will enter into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

Jesus based his message on the words recorded in Isaiah 58:

Do these things (feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty . . .) then your light shall break forth as the dawn, your healing (redemption) shall quickly spring up, your acts of tzedaqah shall go before you and the glory of God shall gather you.

Jesus had previously taught part of the words above in a very famous saying of his:

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket – they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

The author of the Gospel of John taught the same connection between “doing good works” and “entering eternal life.”

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forththose who have done good to the resurrection of life. (John 5:28-29a)

Jesus taught – “It’s only what people have done that will ultimately count.” Do you disagree with him?

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