There’s both a white vase and two black profiles, but one of them stands out depending on the way you see things.
This same principle applies when we read the Bible. We read it from a certain perspective. It may be a preconceived notion we have. It may be through a filter of how we’ve come to understand a certain passage. It may be a perspective we were taught. If we’d never read the Bible and pick it up one day, we’ll see things through our own experiences, sensitivities, fears, orientation to life and our notions of God.
Often we hear that Jesus taught against the Sabbath as a day of rest. After all, he healed on the Sabbath, he defended his disciples for picking grain on the Sabbath. Every time the Pharisees challenged him about the rules of the Sabbath, he set them straight that “The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)
I heard those teachings; I read the Pharisees’ criticism of his actions on the Sabbath and Jesus’ responses defending himself and his disciples. I was convinced that the Sabbath and all its rules had been done away with when Jesus came and taught us the New Covenant.
Then I read the original instructions for the Sabbath in the Old Testament. (more…)
In an earlier post, we reviewed the lifestyle of following the 10 Commandments and the blessings it produces based on Deuteronomy 26:16-19. But God’s blessings go beyond human logic. It’s not only that if you do this, then that will happen. While that is certainly true in the natural realm, when we pursue God’s commands, the spiritual results are compounded beyond what we can imagine. (more…)
Whenever I heard, “Jesus died for your sins,” I often thought, “What sin did I commit that would deserve death?” I’m a good person; I keep the 10 commandments; I try to love God and love my neighbors as myself. Then I heard, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). So I asked, “Which sins can I die from?”
For a long time I understood this to mean that if I live sinfully, I will live separate from God, not enjoy His abundant life, and maybe eventually die from a destructive lifestyle. All of those are true, but later I asked, “What did it mean to those who first heard it shortly after Yeshua’s death?” (more…)
Remember the story in Mark 5 of the woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years? She touched Yeshua’s clothing and was not only healed, but captured the attention of Yeshua despite the throng of people crowding Him. While obviously a great account of Yeshua’s compassion and supernatural power, this story leaves me with a few questions:
- Why did the woman think if she touched Yeshua’s clothes she would be healed?
- Why did Yeshua feel the power go out from Him when she touched Him and not everyone else who was crowding around?
- And after a wonderful miracle, why was the woman fearful of Him? (more…)
In Leviticus and other sections of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), we read about the myriad of offerings and sacrifices, the ceremonial cleansings, and the stipulations for coming near to a holy God. On The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), for example, the high priest would’ve prepared for weeks ahead of time to perform the duties prescribed for the one day — with all its garments, offerings, animals, his family and other priests involved and contingency plans in case something didn’t go as planned. Then on the actual Day of Atonement, it would probably take him all day to perform the list of duties.
Granted, The Day of Atonement was the most holy day of the year, but there were six other holy days equally as rigorous in their requirements, not to mention the daily and weekly procedures of the temple and the offerings and sacrifices brought in by the people of Israel that were also required.
In Yeshua, we see the fulfillment of all of these requirements. (more…)