There will be many who will take Tzedakah Ministries to task for the liberty that I am about to take with the words regarding Maimonides’ the greatest act of charity. For, indeed, Maimonides (also known as Rambam) was one of the greatest opponents to the idea of Jesus being the Messiah for the Jewish people. However, I believe that there is a certain amount of irony when one considers the words that one finds in Rambam’s Mishneh Torah (8:10) about the urgency and necessity of redeeming the captives…
The redemption of captives held for ransom takes precedence over sustaining the poor and clothing them. You do not find a mitzvah greater than the redemption of captives, for captivity is in the same category as famine, drought, or exposure, and one stands in danger to one’s life. One who averts his eyes from redeeming [the captive] transgresses [the commandment], (Deut. 15:7) Do not harden your heart and shut your hand, and (Lev. 19:16) Do not stand upon the blood of your neighbor, and (Lev. 25:53) He shall not rule ruthlessly over him in your sight, and nullifies the commandment (Deut. 15:8) You must open your hand, and the commandment, (Lev. 25:36) Let him live by your side as your kinsman, and (Lev. 19:18) Love your fellow as yourself, and (Proverbs 24:11) If you refrained from rescuing those taken off to death, [those condemned to slaughter–if you say, “We knew nothing of it,” surely He who fathoms hearts will discern], and many such sayings. You cannot find a greater mitzvah than the redemption of captives.
For I agree completely with Maimonides’ statement in its original context BUT I also want to take certain liberties and interpretative additions to Rambam’s statement. For I have been to Maimonides’ “gravesite” in Tiberias, Israel (see picture to the right), and he is dead. I have also been to an empty tomb in Jerusalem and I want to share with you some thoughts about what it truly means to redeem captives not just from physical bonds/slavery but from spiritual and eternal captivity…
John 8:31-36 — Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him,”We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
Galatians 4:1-7 — Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave , though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Messiah [Jesus].
Ephesians 4:7-10 — But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Messiah’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive , And gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended” — what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) PLEASE NOTE: This is a reference to Psalm 68:17-18 which states “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, Even thousands of thousands; The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place. You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts among men, Even from the rebellious, That the LORD God might dwell there.
After all the Scripture that has been listed and the statement from Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, there is a lot of information to consider. A lot of Scripture has been presented for evaluation, including a passage from the New Testament that has a connection to the Hebrew Scriptures. Therefore, this post concludes with questions for two groups of people …
For the Jewish Searchers Who Are Reading This Post —
What is the greatest act of charity that has ever happened in the history of the world? Is it the moment in which the Jewish man from Nazareth, Jesus, sacrificed His life on a cross for the sins for all of humanity? Is it when He as a sinless offering became our sin offering so that we could approach the Father (Isaiah 53)? Is it when He loved us so much that He begged God to forgive us because we didn’t know what we were doing to Him? If so, what are you going to do about it?
For the Churches and Christians Who Profess Jesus as Messiah —
Jewish people today are more aware of the teachings of Maimonides than the REAL teachings of Jesus. They do not know Jesus because most churches and Christians have abdicated the responsibility of Romans 1:16 of sharing the Gospel with the Jewish people … FIRST. Today, 99% of God’s Chosen People do not know Jesus as their Messiah and they are captive to the deceptions of Satan. So … what are we going to do about it?