May the Faith be with You, Happy Star Wars day, but which faith am I talking about? Today's New Testament Reading in Acts was a report of the Early Christian Council Meeting in Jerusalem to discuss a question about the new Gentile believers – should they be required to convert to Judaism and be circumcised, the mark of God's first covenant with humans, now that they were followers of Jesus? The apostle Peter spoke wisely and said, “Do not put the yoke of the law upon them, when we and our fathers could not carry it.” He had grown up in the Jewish faith, yet recognized that as a nation they had sinned against God over and over again, unable to keep the law and remain faithful. The Jewish law is a hard road to heaven – 613 rules. The way Jesus gave us through faith, grace and the gift of his sacrifice may be a narrow path but easier than that one, because Jesus helps us over the rough patches.
Jesus was Jewish and the Jewish Messiah sent by the God. He came to the Jews first, they were the only ones who understood God was the creator of the world, and ruler of the universe, but they, hoarded the knowledge of God like a priceless treasure they wanted to keep to themselves.
We must not completely ignore Jesus Jewish heritage if we are to follow in His footsteps. The apostles made the right decision, at the time. But give humans an inch and they will take a mile. They couldn't know they were also speaking for generationss to come when the situation would be so different. All the Gentile believers till that time were Jewish converts or at least had some knowledge of the Jewish way of life and the scriptures, the followers of Jesus, all knew the law, kept the Sabbath and worshipped in a Synagogue or Temple, on Saturday. They never could have dreamed that the church would break away completely from its roots within the Jewish tradition. They expected persecution from the synagogue's but not exile, and separation.
While as Gentiles they make it clear we don't have to be a slave to the Jewish laws and traditions, somewhere along the way, I think our church lost touch with some basic tenets. It's not anything we need to worry about, love covers a multitude of sins, and when Jesus claims his bride some gentle teaching and correction, will likely take place. We could all find ourselves doing Sabbath on Saturday and attending the Jewish feasts – which is strongly hinted at in the Bible in various places, at least the God ordained ones. Kind of why I tend to include them in this website – its a head's up, our Lord grew up Jewish and I like to be prepared!