Come this Christmas, while families will be lighting their Christmas Trees, new Eastern Christian High School Spanish Teacher, Mrs. Sofia Mejia, will be lighting her Menorah for Hanukkah. Yes, Mrs. Mejia is a Messianic Jew.
Mrs. Mejia is EC’s first Messianic Jewish Teacher. She and her husband, Scott, both live in East Rutherford and attend the Beth Israel Messianic Congregation in Wayne. Her husband is currently studying to be a Jewish Rabbi and will be ordained in January 2020.
After discovering that her family survived the Holocaust, this brought Mrs. Mejia on a journey of truly discovering her Jewish roots and background. Yet, she found Jesus in the most unexpected place. At the age of 15, she gave her life to Christ, after He was presented to her through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Her brokenness was made clear to her, and her heart was moved when she realized what Jesus did for her.
The Differences between Messianic Jews, Christians, and Jews:
A Messianic Jew is someone from the Jewish heritage that believes that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. The difference between Messianic Jews and Jews who are not Messianic is that Messianic Jews believe that Christ is the Messiah. Many people of Jewish heritage reject who Jesus is, and believe that the Messiah is yet to come. Messianic Jews are often seen as traitors to other Jews, or as another “sect” of Christianity. Yet, Mrs. Mejia still has a heart for her Jewish brethren. She believes that all Israel is going to be saved according to the Scripture in Romans, and though her love for her brethren will never change, she knows their need for salvation in Yeshua (Jesus).
Though Messianic Jews believe in Christ, there are still differences between people of the Protestant faith and them. Messianic Jews still follow their Jewish traditions and festivals, like Hanukkah, as well as keeping the Sabbath holy.
To Mrs. Mejia, being a Messianic Jew is like seeing faith in High Definition. Jesus was Jewish, and understanding that allows the knowledge to be much richer. Jesus was born and raised as a Jew. In the book of John, we see Jesus celebrate Hanukkah, which is also known as the feast of dedication. During that festival, Jesus said one of the things that He is most famous for. He said, “I am the light of the World”.
Call to EC and Encouragement for others:
With a new school year, there come many new challenges. Yet, Mrs. Mejia is adjusting very well. In her own words, she said, “I feel extremely blessed. EC is unlike any environment I have been apart of. As an educator, I wanted to be a part of an environment like this, and It’s truly a privilege and an honor to be here”.
Ever since Mrs. Mejia came to know Christ, she has not stopped seeing God’s hand in her life, and in others. “God has been pursuing us, and has not stopped being passionate about us”. When talking about how she feels about other Jewish people not knowing Christ, Mrs. Mejia said that she believes that this is like the story of the prodigal son, and how God the father is waiting for all of them.
Mrs. Mejia encourages everyone to pray for the Jewish people, and for their salvation. She wants people to pray that they will see Jesus for who he really is. She also said that God has covenanted with Israel and the people in it, and God doesn’t take away his covenants.
Even though Mrs. Mejia is a Messianic Jew, she wants people to know that she believes the same things just like Christians do, but still holds her Jewish heritage. She believes that Jesus is the Messiah, but she still follows old traditions that still stand to this day. So, if one asks her what she would refer to herself as she said she will simply say, “I’m Jewish”. Being Jewish is not just a religion, but an ethnicity.
When asked how to describe what being a Messianic Jew is, Mrs. Mejia heard it best described by a Jewish woman from Israel who came to faith in Yeshua (Jesus): "I completed my Judaism because I came to know the greatest Rabbi Whoever lived".