One of the great leaders of the Jewish people was a man named Yeshua, a very common name for the ancient Hebrews. One day Yeshua was leading his troops into battle and when he was nearing the city they were about to lay siege to he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a sword drawn in his hadn. Yeshua asked him, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
“Neither,” the man replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.”
Then Yeshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
The commander of the LORD’s army replied “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.”
And Yeshua did so.
This story speaks to me in many ways, and one of the main things it teaches me is the need to be aware of the spiritual in every aspect and arena in life. A lot of times today religion has become a battle of “which side are you on?” My tradition teaches me that a more important question is, “Are you awake?” Do you really see what is going on around you at all times? Thoreau once remarked that he had never met a man who was fully awake.
Hundreds of years after this great leader Yeshua was leading his troops into a battle for the city of Jericho as described in Joshua chapter 5:13-15, a great Jewish sage, also named Yeshua (Jesus), began teaching in the Galilee. He taught his followers about sheep and goats (Matt. 25), and informed them that his followers were those people who fed him when he was hungry, and gave him shelter when he had none. When the listeners ask him what this meant he informed them that anything they did for the broken, hurting, marginalized, and oppressed they did for Yeshua (Jesus).
The rabbi Yeshua teaches us that his followers are people who are able to see that every encounter in life is an encounter with the divine. His followers are able to see and celebrate the divine mystery in every single encounter in life.
*See Joshua 5:13-15 for the story of Yeshua leading his troops into battle, and Matthew 25:31-46 for the story of Jesus teaching his followers about the sheep and goats.