This was originally published April 16, 2010 on Facebook as a Note. But I publish it here, to help tell about my faith journey.
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I have really been reflecting on as in meditating on the entirety of American Christianity (from cofc to baptists, from home churches to catholics, from pentecostals to messianic jews). For sake of discussion, I accept each of them to be at some level as believing in God and having a desire to follow Jesus. Furthermore, it seems that all Christians everywhere fall short (because all of have sinned, Romans 3.23) of what they are to do and who they are to be. That is not my point, all people and all Christians are going to transgress, whether the transgression is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, or physical. But I have some thoughts that seem to be challenging the very essence of how I live my faith and demonstrate my faithfulness.
Long ago, I accepted the Bible as God’s Word, and because I accepted the Bible as God’s Word, I accepted the Bible as God’s written revealed definition of truth. The challenge comes from the fact that I have accepted that salvation is from the Jews (John 4.22) and among that truth is that Jesus is Jewish, yet it seems that as I learn about the Hebraic faith, my walk and worship looks anything but Hebraic.
As I was meditating, the passage First Peter 2.20-25 came to mind because I thought about the phrase in the aspect that Jesus was “leaving [me] an example that [i] should follow in his steps.” Now, what does that mean? In the literary context of First Peter, I should suffer like Jesus being non-reactive when insults and threats are given. However, it seems that there is more to the example Jesus that left for me than just exampling how I should endure. It is this deeper definition of Jesus’ example that I am contemplating; this is a real meditation that I am having.
Here are some of my meditation points:
1. Since Jesus was faithful to God and God’s teachings, where does Jesus leave an example so that I (as a disciple) am not to observe sabbath?
2. Since “salvation is from the Jews” (John 4) and Jesus is Jew (being from the tribe of Judah, and that “Jew” became a term that referred to the Southern Tribes) should a Gentile disciple begin to look like a “Jew” since Paul states that “Gentiles are a wild olive branch grafted into the root” (Romans 11.13ff, esp 11.17). From the Book of Acts it would seem that pre-New Covenant converts to the Jewish Faith did such things, if that is true, then why do the Gentiles not do so now?
3. Since Jesus faithfully followed God’s Commandments, and Jesus’ Apostles faithfully followed Jesus who faithfully followed God, therefore those Apostles (being inspired) had to have faithfully followed God, how am i to interpret passages like First john 5.2-3 which come from the Apostle John?
My heritage has correctly informed me that observance of Easter with bunnies and eggs and Christmas with the tree and lights incorporates pagan worship practices; and my heritage has taught me that it wants to restore the First Century church, yet seems to be simply ignorant to or willfully ignoring that the fact that the first church was Jewish. I love my heritage for pointing me to the truth, God’s Word is truth (John 17.1, 17), but I question whether or not I am actually practicing the faith of the first church, the church established in Jerusalem.
BTW, it is interesting to me that the NT does not have a “corrective” letter specifically given to the church in Jerusalem. Since the NT has so many corrective letters and there is no correct letter to the church in Jerusalem, does the lack of such a letter indicate that God was pleased with them? If so, what does that mean for worship, baptism, musical instruments, sabbath, the teachings of Moses, and the entirety of what we call the OT? Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and the Seven churches of Asia in Revelation 2 and 3 are churches within Gentile territories and each church received corrective letters. While it could argued that the Hebrew letter is for the church in Jerusalem, claiming such is not possible, because the letter is not specifically addressed to the church in Jerusalem, the Hebrew letter seems to be a polemic argument for the superiority of the New Covenant through Jesus.
Just thought I would share what is running through my spirit and mind…